By BONNIE BAILEY

H&T Correspondent

Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on several town improvements Monday night, including a proposal to make a change in the town’s street light system, replacing about 700 regular street lights with LED lighting.

The great thing about a program like this, Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe said, is that you can save up to 50 percent on energy costs with LED lighting.

The cost of the switch-over is estimated at about $298,000, but with 35-50 percent less kilowatts used with LED lighting, the town projects savings of at least $5,000 annually.

“The savings we will realize on electricity will pay for this entire switch-over,” Wolfe said, “so it’s not going to come at an expense to the tax-payers of the town.”

According to the proposal, in addition to savings on energy costs, LED lighting for street lights is more effective and has less impact on adjoining properties.

At this time, about 360 decorative street lights will keep the old bulbs, Wolfe said, since the bulbs for those decorative lights aren’t currently available in an LED option.

“The technologies continue to advance at a … rapid clip. They’re going to have a bulb, I guarantee you, in the next three or four years, that’s going to fit in those fixtures,” Wolfe said, “and we’ll be able to change the bulbs and save half of our electricity costs on those lights at that time.”

As the town makes the switch to LED lighting, BrightRidge will begin allowing municipalities to mandate LED lighting in new residential developments, Wolfe said.

“Therefore, when a developer or builder buys those lights and installs them as part of the development process, the town will automatically begin saving 50 percent of the electricity cost with no upfront investment on the town’s part,” Wolfe said.

The BMA voted to move forward with the proposal.

The Board also voted to continue the water line replacement project on West Main Street. The first phase of the project, which is part of an effort to reduce water loss in the town, is complete and the old cast iron water lines from 2nd Ave. to Oak Grove Ave. have been replaced with new ductile iron lines.

Now, with funds remaining, Wolfe said, the town can continue the project, replacing the water lines from Oak Grove Ave. to 3rd Ave.

“We certainly appreciate… the water crews efficiently replacing the line, and we had money left over, so we can do a little bit more work,” Wolfe said.