The Global Green Lighting project to better light our Chattanooga streets should be continued. The partnership with EPB and the city should not be allowed to push Global Green Lighting and its jobs out of Chattanooga. It is concerning that the city cancelled a contract because EPB is overcharging for removing the inefficient lights and installing the LED lights. The EPB charge to the city was not part of the original contract awarded by the City Council. Did the mayor and his Council decide it was better to cover up the EPB part in this issue than promote jobs and environmental responsibility? It does make you wonder and the citizens of Chattanooga deserve a better answer than recently provided by Mr. Berke.
I was among the many citizens who attended the celebration at Global Green Lighting last fall; Governor Haslam and Mayor Berke were also in attendance. I applauded as the governor and mayor addressed the crowd and praised the innovation and positive impact of Global Green Lighting on our great city. I watched the video presentation that documented the energy savings for our community and was intrigued by the safety features of the remotely controlled lights.
I now wonder what changed our mayor’s stance. Was it the report by the city auditor which established that the new lights would save 68 percent in savings? Possibly it was the 2013 crime report that validates the only two sectors to see double digit reductions in crime were the two sectors (Bravo and Echo) where the GGL lights were deployed. Why would our city’s top executive ignore this data and the report by the city auditor that validated the reliability of the GGL lights unless the faulty information source needed a cover up? Many citizens are watching closely. We want a safe city. We want a responsible city. We want additional jobs. This latest action by our city government raises many questions.
GGL has been recognized both locally and nationally for their innovative products and solutions. Mr. Berke and City Council, I ask you to reconsider your recent decision and move forward with the original contract the city approved with GGL that would greatly benefit our local economy, provide additional jobs to our city, support the green initiative, save taxpayers' funds, and enhance police security.
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Mayor Berke's recent decision to cancel the GGL contract that had already been approved by the City of Chattanooga is beyond comprehension.
How does responsible leadership explain turning their back on a local job-creating, crime-reducing, cutting edge technology, environmentally friendly, taxpayer-saving, manufacturing opportunity in our community? An opportunity endorsed at one time by the mayor, the City Council, Governor Haslam, the county mayor and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. An opportunity highlighted in many national and regional publications including the Bloomberg/Business Week (Global Economics) magazine touting Chattanooga's partnership with GGL for this energy and cost-saving solution.
This appears to be a project that would actually have a long-term payback beginning in a relatively short period of time. The cost savings of LED lights vs older high-pressure sodium street lights has been documented for years. Our Smart Grid technology provides immediate access to accurate energy consumption vs "meter reading". Our Smart Grid technology enables outages to be narrowed down to the exact fixture vs having someone drive around to look for outages. Lights can be turned off, turned on, dimmed and set to flash mode using our Smart Grid technology, which has already played a major role in making our streets and parks safer. These lights could even be used to signal dangerous weather situations which seem to roll through our area more frequently.
The governor said of GGL, "This is another, I think, symbol of how Chattanooga is leading, really our country in manufacturing." The county mayor was quoted as saying, "GGL shows how our local companies and workers are competing in the world wide economy".
Mayor Berke and the Chattanooga City Council, please help the taxpayers of Chattanooga understand how we're about to let this seemingly no-brainer get away.
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At an event at GGL with Governor Haslam last August Mayor Berke said that if phase 1 lived up to expectations the city would go forward with phase 2.
Knowledgeable sources now state at the time of that event the capital funds for phase 2 had already been allocated to other projects.
The entire City Council signed an open letter stating that if the audit showed no reason to change course that they would move forward with the GGL contract. The City Council got that audit, found no problems and still rubber stamped this administration's bad decision and deception.
Why in the world would any business or group ever trust this city's word again?
Isn't it time for a recall of the mayor and the council who back this?