City Says Sustainable Lighting Initiative Not Financially Sustainable; Going Forward Only Failed Lights To Be Replaced

Monday, May 12, 2014

After months of analysis, recommendations regarding the city of Chattanooga’s Sustainable Lighting Initiative were provided to Mayor Berke on Saturday by the city’s COO Jeff Cannon and CFO Daisy Madison.  Mayor Berke said he is accepting the proposed recommendations, which advise against proceeding with the lighting program except in replacement of failed lights on an ongoing basis.  

In their recommendations, Mr. Cannon and Ms. Madison state that “we (the city) discovered a multitude of issues that should have been examined prior to the deployment of the lights, including a 10-percent installation cost not accounted for in the initial budgeting for this initiative and an unsustainable deployment process. We believe that because these issues were not thoughtfully planned for prior to the deployment, they substantially increase the cost to taxpayers and negate the environmental benefits the community expected to achieve.”

The contract is with the Chattanooga-based Global Green Lighting firm headed by Don Lepard. In March 2013, Governor Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and Mr. Lepard held a press conference  to announce that the company planned to hire as many as 250 people at a newly established lighting assembly facility in Chattanooga. The move is creating jobs for Tennesseans by bringing subcontracted production back from China, officials said.

GGL had recently acquired a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chattanooga and had set up production lines to assemble its flagship product, a light emitting diode (LED) street lamp combined with the latest AMI (automated metering infrastructure) smart grid metering technology, it was stated.

Then-Mayor Ron Littlefield said at the time, "We're on the way to making all of our streets brighter, safer and more energy efficient thanks to Global Green Lighting’s unique wireless radio controlled street lamps,”

A recent report from City Internal Auditor Stan Sewell said the Littlefield administration approved the purchase of up to 27,000 lights from Global Green Lighting. However, the initial purchase was limited to $6 million, and $136,165 of that amount remains unspent.

Mr. Cannon and Ms. Madison said the deployment strategy defined by the previous administration and council is costly and unsustainable, resulting in the large scale replacement of functioning lights. “The take-down and replacement of over 4,000 existing lights has greatly increased the cost to the taxpayer over what it should have been and increased the city’s carbon footprint. When a light that still has years of life left is taken down and warehoused to put up an LED light, the taxpayer is still charged for the light that was taken down because it was amortized over the predicted life of the light,” the memo stated.

It states, “This has been described as the ‘stranded investment charge.’ In addition, this method of deployment greatly hurts the city’s environmental return on investment because of the energy costs and resources associated with the old lights. This large-scale replacement strategy is unsustainable and has a negative impact on the environmental aspect of this initiative not previously considered.”

The memo goes on to provide capital investment recommendations for the outdoor lighting replacement initiative, most notably a one-to-one replacement strategy moving forward.

“With our responsibility to taxpayers in mind, we respectfully recommend a restructure of the current deployment process of Chattanooga’s Sustainable Lighting Initiative to a one-for-one replacement. Upon the failure of an existing conventional street light fixture, that light should be replaced with an LED light fixture,” the memo stated.

In FY2014/2015, the city of Chattanooga will likely require approximately 700 light replacement fixtures, at a cost of approximately $600 to $800 per replacement.

Click here to read the entire memo.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, BRANDON ALEXANDER  7600 MEADOW STREAM LOOP CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (2ND) FAILURE TO MAINTAIN LANE DRIVERS TO EXERCISE DUE CARE --- BASILIS, JOB EMMANUEL  10445 SCENIC VIEW DRIVE OOLTEWAH, 37363  ... (click for more)

20,676 Cast Ballots In First 4 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first four days of early voting in Hamilton County, 20,676 have already cast ballots. That includes 1,900 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030, 816 Election Office 1,848, 1,731, ... (click for more)

Where Is The Speed Control On Our Highways? - And Response (2)

I am teaching my 15-year-old to drive in the North Georgia and Chattanooga area. I have warned her of the dangers of exceeding the speed limit both as a hazard to herself and in terms of receiving a ticket. What a liar I am.  Have you driven on the local freeways and highways recently? I never see any highway patrolmen helping to reduce speeding or pulling over those who ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Vol Is Worth $521,854

The definition for the term “fair market value,” this from the IRS tax code, “is the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.” So a recent article in Business Insider has just revealed a University of Tennessee scholarship ... (click for more)

UTC Defeats VMI, 30-13; Mocs Seniors Gain 34th Career Win

UTC junior running back Richardre Bagley rushed for a career-high 189 yards and two touchdowns to lead the host Mocs to a 30-13 Southern Conference win against VMI at Finley Stadium before 10, 505 fans. "It's a huge confidence booster," Bagley said. "All credit goes to our great offensive line and receivers blocking down field. The coaches did a great job preparing us. Everyone ... (click for more)

Goetz Outlasts Huwe To Win Signal Mountain Pie Run

The annual Signal Mountain Pie Run is one of those races where you don’t have to be the first across the finish line to be the overall winner. It’s a prediction run, so the runner getting nearest his or her predicted time was honored with cash prizes. Gregg Sutton crossed the line next to the old Signal Mountain Junior High with a time of 46 minutes flat, which was exactly ... (click for more)