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Replacement of street lights will save $150,000 on annual basis
City street lights will have energy efficient lamps placed in them. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Manteca will lighten the general fund deficit next year by at least $150,000 thanks to $685,830 in federal stimulus recovery funds.

The money will be used to reduce energy costs by placing high-efficiency induction lamps in Manteca’s 4,800 street lights.

The savings will repeat in subsequent years although PG&E rate hikes – including the biggest pursued by the San Francisco-based utility of $1.101 billion on Jan. 1, 2011 – will chip into the savings as the years go by.

The savings will allow the city to reduce its projected $3.8 million deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1.
Manteca has been allocated $586,200 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is part of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program designed to assist public agencies in implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, reduce total energy use, and improve energy efficiency.

An additional $99,630 is coming from the Community Development Grant Recovery money that is also part of the stimulus package but is aimed specifically at low-income neighborhoods. That money must be spent in qualifying neighborhoods.

Energy costs will be reduced by retrofitting all of the city’s existing street lights with high-efficiency LED lamps. And to keep costs in line and to maximize the number of street lights that can be replaced, the city will use its own equipment and crews to do the job.

Since there is no requirement for a local match and it won’t trigger higher maintenance costs, the end result will be a $150,000 annual savings for the city.

It is the second time that the city has squeezed savings and increased efficiency out of the city’s street lights.

Earlier this decade, the city purchased the portion of the lights they had developers put in and dedicated to PG&E to reduce annually operating costs by $140,000 a year.

Pacific Gas & Electric owned 1,674 of Manteca’s 2,685 street lights at the time. The city paid as much as $16 per month for each sodium light fixture to PG&E for power costs and maintenance.

The city ended up paying just above $3.50 a month to operate and maintain street lights after they purchased them.

It switched to a policy of requiring new lights to be turned over to the city in the mid-1990s. Before that, city policies required developers to install the lights and turn them over to PG&E. The city then was billed by PG&E for maintenance and power.

The money flowing to Manteca as part of President Obama’s American Recovery Act also includes:

•$900,000 to go toward the $2.9 million project to build the four-lane gap missing on Atherton Drive between South Main Street and a point west of Wellington Avenue.

•$957,000 to pay for the rehabilitation of portions nine streets.

•$1.4 million to hire four additional police officers for three years.

•$1.3 million in transit funds including $380,000 to go toward environmental studies for the proposed transit station at Moffat at Main, $100,000 for an additional fixed route bus, $130,00 for the lease of the new Manteca Transit facility, and $40,000 for marketing, branding and signage.

•$1.1 million for landscaping at the Highway 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange and Highway 99/Yosemite Avenue interchange.

Manteca has secured $6.71 million in “Obama bucks”. That comes to just over $100 for every one of Manteca’s 67,000 residents.