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  • Megann Horstead

New LED program to create savings for Joliet


Joliet is looking to save money by tackling an LED streetlight project that will lower the cost of lighting city streets.

In a unanimous vote, the Joliet City Council approved phase I and II to purchase contracts for street luminaries.

“The biggest improvement for the city is it’s going to reduce the monthly cost that we pay on electrical,” said City Manager Jim Hock. “The life (of a bulb) is 20 to 25 years so our electricians aren’t going to be out there repairing and replacing bulbs as much; they can work on other things.”

Public Works Director Jim Trizna tried to explain further.

“Basically, most of these major lights we’re doing with the LED program right now, we’re going for 400-watt high pressure sodium bulb to 174-watt LED bulb,” he said “That’s where you’re getting your big electricity reduction.”

Hock said the city’s electricians have worked diligently on this project.

“Our staff is going up and down Essington Road right now,” he said. “They are too busy to be able to do the installation… We’re hiring our electrical contractor, that we have, do most of the work that our electricians can’t do do the labor for the project. That labor is part of the grant, as well.”

The city has other street light replacement projects for parts of town, including Collins Street. That effort includes new lighting poles and LED lighting fixtures and is expected to begin toward the summer’s end.

Councilwoman Brooke Hernadez Brewer said she wanted it to be clear that Joliet’s plan to improve streetlights is multi-layered, and city officials have not forgotten about the east side of town.

“To reiterate, this map is only showing we said east but it’s not actually going to the actual east side,” she said. “This is other phases that we’re going to see continue to go further east. I know Collins Street was not part of that. It’s actually part a different program. There is more to be seen.”

To this, Trizna sought to lessen concerns people may hold.

“There’s numerous streets from the middle of town to the east side of town that we still need to do lights on, and that’ll be another phase,” he said. “If we’re fortunate enough and get our incentive money back maybe in July, if this program is still as sweet as I like to say, or as good as a deal… we may be able to turn around and do another yet this fall and winter. If not, we’ll keep looking for grants for that one.”

But when it comes to the state route, that’s a different story, Trizna said.

“IDOT has very high requirements and they may have us go back into looking at spacing of the existing lights, we may have to use a little bit higher wattage bulb,” he said.

Hernandez Brewer said she knows city staff is working hard to make sure improvements are made all across town.

“I just wanted to make sure that everyone knew it’s intended that everyone get taken care of,” she said.

Councilman Larry Hug gave credit to city staff for pushing up phase I and II engineering for the LED program.

“The long and the short of it, if we do it by May instead of getting 50 percent reimbursed on that program, we’re going to get 88 percent reimbursed,” he said. “We’re going to pay 12 percent for the total project—a lot of savings on the money. There’s over 600 LED lights going up in phase I and II. We finished up another phase from last year. This is phase I and II of this year.”

Mayor Bob O’DeKirk said awarding the contracts for the purchase of streetlight luminaries will greatly benefit the city.

“I know when I came into office we pushed hard about increasing the grants that we apply for, and again we’re starting to the see the results of that,” he said.

Hock agreed.

“This came along all of a sudden because surprisingly, other cities weren’t taking advantage of [the grant opportunity],” he said. “So, they increased the percentage to those who were willing to step up with their share. It’s really going to significantly decrease the cost of the project as well as get this done about a year and a half early.”

Hug tried to explain further.

“When we say that our staff can’t do it, [it’s] because we have a compressed time frame of May to get it done,” Hug said. “If we don’t, then we only get 50 percent back. So, actually by subcontracting it out, we save money by getting 88 percent.”

The city is awarding a contract to Graybar Electric Company in the amount of $144,281.51 and amending the 2017 budget to provide an additional $138,943.71 to the Capital Improvements and Land Improvements Fund.

Project manager hired for Houbolt Road project

The Joliet City Council hired a project manager for its Houbolt Road interchange project.

In reviewing four consultants, Joliet officials determined that T.Y. Lin International is the best qualified.

The project manager is responsible for coordinating with governmental agencies, utilities, and stakeholders as well as reviewing the services of the phase I and II design engineer.

IDOT is providing $2.1 million out of $21 million that can be used to cover this new cost.

The city will pay for the project manager’s contract in the amount of $397,715.61. Of that amount, $187,715.61 will be allocated in the 2018 budget.

Hospital-area TIF District OK’d

To ensure that necessary ordinances are implemented for the TIF District in Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center area, the Joliet Council approved a series of measures to achieve this aim.

In a unanimous vote, city officials took action to put the redevelopment tool that freezes property taxes to generate new dollars to use.

Joliet officials have been working to establish a TIF District in hospital area since 2014.

The city said this economic development tool has the ability to stabilize the immediate neighborhood and encourage redevelopment.

GIS mapping program pact OK’d

The Joliet City Council recently approved a professional services agreement for the 2017-19 utilities GIS mapping program.

The city said they, in recent years, have had a growing focus in recent years on utilizing mobile devices and cloud-based software to facilitate access to maps and data from the field.

Joliet officials reviewed three bids and will award the contract in the amount of $101,104.50 to the lowest bidder, Robert E. Hamilton Counseling.

The city said a growing reliance on GIS applications will be crucial in moving forward as new development and Joliet construction projects occur.

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