2015-06-16 Work Session Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
WORK SESSION
TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015

Council met for a work session on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 in Council Chambers. The work session began at 6:20 p.m.

In attendance were Council President Jack Mundie, and Council Members Jeff Cusat, Jean Mope, and David Sosar. Council Member Keith Bast was absent.

Joe Clifford of C Energy Group Services said an investment grade audit was completed and sent to the Administration. There was a meeting with the Administration in April. There will be a 20% reduction in costs, which amounts to approximately $139,000. Clifford said PPL has increased its costs, and the City will see an increase of $125,000 next year.

Greg Royer of SmartWatt Energy, Inc. explained Options 1 and 3 of the street lighting LED upgrade to Council. Option 1 has advanced controls and a total project cost of $855,582. Annual maintenance and energy savings will be $110,987, there is a 14% return on the investment, and a cumulative cash flow of $409,665 for 10 years. There is wireless programming, scheduling and dimming control, field configuration tools, GIS mapping of fixtures via GPS, asset management and fault notifications, utility grade energy metering, easy to use web-based monitoring software, and flexibility to add devices in the future. Option 3 has a basic photocell level of control, and a total project cost of $620,269. Annual maintenance and energy savings will be $84,871, there is a 15% return on the investment, and a cumulative cash flow of $311,330 for 10 years. With this option, fixtures are on from dusk to dawn. Royer said with Option 1, controls and 1,400 fixtures throughout the City will be replaced, and this option allows monitoring in real time. He stated the Investment Grade Audit of the street lighting indicated lighting levels are low throughout the City. The system is over 30 years old and fixtures are currently being replaced on an as-needed basis. He stated that the new system will need maintenance and management. Royer stated that most cities have converted to LED. Mope asked if the LED bulbs will be increasing in price, and Tony Acernese, Business Manager for SmartWatt Energy, Inc., said LED bulbs are probably not going up in price and looks to be remaining stable. He added that the price of the light fixtures and ballasts will be increasing. Royer indicated that with either option, this is a 10-year project and lighting levels will be improved throughout the City. He added that the estimated project costs will be 20% below the initial estimate. The current fixtures are producing very little light. The new system will light roads and sidewalks, and should reduce crime in certain areas. He said crisp whiter light has better visibility. Royer indicated SmartWatt worked with C Energy Group in the design phase to determine the existing and future electric rates, created a conservative energy and maintenance savings baseline based on utility analysis, utilized state of the art photometric software to determine proposed output and foot candles compared to existing levels, compared several tier 1 manufacturers, and made a selection based on the manufacturer’s reputation, price, warranty and performance. During the construction planning phase, SmartWatt plans to replace 1,385 fixtures with new LED fixtures and a wireless control system. Royer indicated this will be a complete turn-key project inclusive of all materials, labor and warranties. SmartWatt will follow strict safety policies during the construction phase, and installation will follow state and local traffic disruption standards. He indicated that SmartWatt will provide support for the term of the project. He stated that Option 1 will generate $409,665 in positive cash flow. Mundie asked about the savings in maintenance costs. Royer said an inventory was taken and labor was factored in. The CDBG grant is included in this project. Option 3 will generate $311,732 in positive cash flow. Royer said the next step is to pick an option and create a contract. They will reach out to lenders for a competitive bidding process. Cusat asked about the timeline for the project. Tony Acernese said it would be three to four months for either option. Cusat asked if this needs to be completed before winter, and Royer said it is tougher to work in the winter. Acernese said they try not to do this work in the winter. Cusat said he recommends Option 3. Mundie asked if there is enough time to complete the project if this is passed in July. Royer responded yes. Mundie asked if they have ever worked with a city the size of Hazleton before. Acernese said no, but they have done 40,000 street lights for the city of Pittsburgh. Royer said this is fairly new to Pennsylvania. Mundie asked about GPS. Acernese responded this shows where each fixture is located. There are also control options such as dimming, length of time the light is on, etc. Royer said the installation is similar to installing photocells. Mundie asked about putting sensors on some of the lights. Acernese replied that it can be done, but they would not be able to communicate with each other. Joe Clifford said he appreciates the opportunity of having worked with the City on this project, and his work is concluded. SmartWatt will be working directly with the Administration from this point forward.

Mundie adjourned the work session at 6:50 p.m.

                                                                                                                                 

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