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City agrees to finance $1.5 million in LED upgrades

 

NATCHEZ — City of Natchez officials agreed to finance more than $1.5 million worth of LED upgrades to the city’s lighting through Home Bank during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.

The move, officials said, expected to save thousands of dollars on electricity costs each month.

Last September, the city entered into a contract with Schneider Electric to replace every city-owned light bulb with LED lights.

The first payment will be due July 1, 2020, and the city agreed to finance $1,538,186 million through Home Bank with a 15-year note and an interest rate of 5.23%, James Johnston, city planner said, adding Schneider could begin the upgrades once the bank approves the loan.

Once started, the lights would be completely installed in approximately seven months, Johnston said.

The $1,538,186 million project also includes the installation of an HVAC unit and a new roof at the City Council Chamber, which cuts into the energy savings to repair, Johnston said. However, the city’s building inspector Jody Rutter said the roof installation is a must.

“We need a roof … and this helps pay for that,” Rutter said. “If we don’t proceed with the full scope of this project, we’re still going to have to put a roof up anyway.”

Schneider Sales Team Leader, Allie Harris said the city could see approximately $380,000 worth of energy savings over a 20-year period without the roof repairs, and only $54,500 with the added expense from the roof and the heating and cooling unit.

“We’re not going to see that initial savings at first with the roof repair, but it still needs to be done,” Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said. “This project is going to be very beneficial to us in the long run.”

In addition to the replacement of city-owned lights, the board also approved the replacement of 639 lights the city pays for through Entergy in an effort to recognize widespread savings and energy efficiency throughout the city.

Public Works director Justin Dollar said the upgrade to Entergy’s lighting would cost an initial fee of $32.61 per bulb.

In other matters during Tuesday’s meeting of the Natchez Board of Aldermen, the board:

  • Unanimously approved a modification of the prescription drug policy for the Natchez Senior Center.
  • Unanimously approved the placement of a sign near the entrance of the Natchez City Cemetery that would mark the founding location of Jackson State University.
  • Unanimously approved an invoice of $19,110 for Natchez Waterworks for the Citywide Water Improvement Project, which entails the installation of new industrial water lines.
  • Unanimously approved projects to overlay sections of nearly 20 city streets and alleyways for approximately $180,000.
  • Approved annual inspection of the Bridge of Sighs in order to combat long-term damages that could result from the placement of locks on the bridge by tourists by a vote of 5-1, with Ward 2 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier voting “nay.” Frazier said locks should not be permitted on the bridge.
  • Unanimously approved the use of playground equipment on Madison Street and Natchez Police Department vehicles for film production.
  • Unanimously approved an agreement with the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission allowing them to lease the Margaret Martin gym for activities and events.