Some 146 LED lights will be installed in the decorative light poles in Belleville’s Downtown Development Authority district. The work will take about three weeks and will begin after the Strawberry Festival is over.
The replacement of the lighting fixtures should be minimally disruptive and it will not be necessary to shut down Main Street for the work, said Carol Thompson, DDA Administrator.
At the DDA’s regular meeting on May 16, the board voted unanimously to award a contract to Airport Lighting to install 54-watt GlobalTech LED replacement fixtures for a bid price of $65,090.
There were seven bids from four contractors when bids were opened Feb. 15. After Spicer engineers reviewed the bids and met with a DDA subcommittee, it was decided to put up demonstration lights to see how the different models looked and which ones the residents preferred.
There were 22 responses from citizens: 16 on the Doane’s Landing models and six on the South Street models. Most South Street responses said the lights were too bright and/or had too much glare.
The overall preference showed 76% preferred the new LED lights over the existing lights.
Spicer engineer Evan Pratt said besides saving costs on energy, he believes the DDA will be able to realize further cost savings by working with the contractor to replace all double light fixture arms with single-armed light fixtures. Pratt expects the payback period for the LED investment to be under 10 years.
The DTE Energy Rebate Application will be submitted after installation.
In other business at the 45-minute May 16 meeting, the DDA:
• Approved the proposed 2012-13 DDA budget, as prepared by DDA Chairman John Hoops, Treasurer Sabrina Richardson-Williams, Denise Baker, and Jim Higgerson. Tax capture is projected at a 6.5% decrease, so after cutbacks and belt tightening, the committee recommended taking $39,500 from the $834,000 fund balance (which now actually is $65,090 less because of purchase of the LED street lights) to balance the $882,406 budget. With the balance in the bond account and economic improvement remaining slow, the DDA agreed to reserve two years of 2010 bond payments in the amount of $568,840 to guarantee it can pay the bonds;
• Approved as part of the budget, the budgeting of $15,050 in support of community events that are deemed to be consistent with the DDA’s efforts to support downtown businesses: $3,650 to Belleville Area Council for the Arts – Music Lakeside ($7705.88 requested); BACA – ArtAffair on Main, no allocation ($5,000 requested – note that last year the Art Affair request for $3,000 was granted with the stipulation it was “one time only seed money”); $7,000 to National Strawberry Festival ($12,000 requested) to help cover costs of local business participation; $3,500 to Chamber of Commerce for Winter Fest ($5,000 requested); and $900 to the Central Business Community for the Taste of Belleville and Holiday events ($1,100 requested) and the DDA said it also would pay for the roping on the bridge. The District Library Summer Reading Program and the Friends of the Library for Harvest Fest did not submit applications. Last year matching grants were awarded, but because of a glitch the grants were not used;
• Extended the deadline for façade program requests to May 31, 2013. Grants will be taken from the fund balance as needed;
• Discussed the 1999 truck being used for watering flowers in the district. Chairman Hoops said the truck is used as a DPW truck when not watering the flowers. He found it needs an estimated $4,343 worth of repairs, including a tune up, tie rods, ball joints, and lifters. He said a used truck is $10,000. He hoped to get by this year and next with a few repairs. The DDA voted to spend up to $3,500 to repair the “DDA Water Truck” after getting two other quotes; and
• Discussed the vegetation growth in the small ponds at Victoria Commons. The water levels are low and the muck is knee deep. Some of the aerators in the pumps are barely working because they are clogged with vegetation. Hoops said no treatment will help and they need a creative way to get it out, besides the suggestion to use long-handled rakes. He said the DPW suggested draining the ponds for the winter and cleaning them out. He said there also is muskrat damage along the shorelines of the ponds. The muskrats will have to be dealt with in the fall, he said. The vegetation is good fertilizer and can be dried out in half a day, Hoops said.