Board green-lights purchase of 5 private street lights
By Robert Fucci
Selectman Paul Maynard was happy to hear 21 street lights were donated to Sutton by National Grid. Photo by Robert Fucci SUTTON – About 25 years ago, street lights in Sutton were turned off for financial reasons.
For safety sake, residents in one neighborhood decided to pay for four lights privately in the early to mid-90s and have since the lights were turned back on years later. A fifth pole was privately purchased in 2010.
During its Tuesday, April 19 meeting, the Board of Selectmen decided unanimously the town should take over the payments for the poles located on Torrey, Barnett, Putnam Hill, Burbank and Dudley roads.
“I can remember when the town was in crisis and we voted to shut lights off,” said Vice Chair John Hebert, who was a member of the Police Department at that time. “One thing (police officers) still do today is they go around and if there are lights out, they make a report, and the daytime dispatcher calls National Grid.”
According to Town Administrator James Smith, a press release went out in the summer of 1991 (FY92) informing residents that 126 lights were being turned off.
“My guess is those lights were off for probably a couple years,” he told the Chronicle in an email.
Smith said there is one issue regarding purchasing those lights. The Town of Sutton has converted its lights to LED, and as long as they own the lights they can continue to use the energy-efficient bulbs.
“National Grid said if we don’t purchase them, we’ll have to change over to high-level sodium,” he said.
Smith said he didn’t think the total cost would be more than $5,000. If it is higher, he will ask the Board for additional authorization.
Smith said it also was recently discovered that there were 21 street lights in Sutton that National Grid was not billing for. Kevin Shaughnessy, a National Grid representative for Sutton, sent a letter to President Marcy Reed requesting Sutton be able to purchase the lights.
The utility company decided to instead donate those lights to the town.
“We greatly appreciate that,” Smith said.
“It’s a great gesture for town’s people,” Selectman Paul Maynard said. “Kevin is easy to work with. Anything you ask (it gets) done.”