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City's bright idea needs to happen quickly for rebate
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McMinnville officials are not burned out on the idea of replacing the city’s existing streetlights with LED bulbs. However, a deadline switch could dim their chances for a larger rebate.
Streets and Sanitation Committee members Billy Wood, chairman, Rick Barnes and Jimmy Bonner met Tuesday night to consider a TVA Lighting Rebate that could cut the cost of switching the city’s current high pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs to light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock says he and Mayor Jimmy Haley met with McMinnville Electric System general manager and CEO Rodney Boyd and Ralph Dunn about the rebate. They found the deadline for rebate approval has been changed from the end of 2014 to the end of this month.
“We thought we had an end of the year deadline, but that deadline has been moved up because of what TVA wants,” said Brock. “We have to notify them by the end of this month, Aug. 28, to get this in motion. What I hope this committee approves is to move forward on Rodney’s letter and to authorize them to move forward on trying to get the TVA rebate.”
The amount of the rebate could be as much as $84,000 – the entire cost to replace every one of the city’s 1,655 streetlights with LED bulbs.
Brock says approximately 390 of the city’s streetlights are on state routes and there may not be enough time before the deadline to receive approval from Tennessee Department of Transportation to include those in the rebate proposal to TVA.
“We don’t know if we can get state approval fast enough for the state routes to be included,” said Brock. “The lights have to be ordered, arrive here and be scheduled to install before TVA will recognize the rebate. Rodney is going to go after every existing streetlight and see what he can get. If we can’t get approval from the state in time, TVA will just kick the state lights out of the rebate. I would like to get them all – city lights and those on state routes.”
Officials have been considering making the switch since December after Alderman Ken Smith made a proposal to the Finance Committee, of which he is chairman, that the more energy efficient LED bulbs offer a financial savings to the city with reduced energy cost and longer life.
In December, the amount of the rebate was estimated to be $6,466. Wood says Boyd is confident he can get $84,000.
“Rodney has pulled a rabbit out of the hat for us,” said Wood. “He petitioned the TVA for $84,000.”
Committee members unanimously approved Boyd moving forward in his effort to secure the grant.