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HomeNewsArchivesWAPA TO ASSUME STREET LIGHT MAINTENANCE

WAPA TO ASSUME STREET LIGHT MAINTENANCE

Nov. 16, 2002 – Within 18 months, every street light in the territory should be shining brightly, according to Joseph Thomas, Water and Power Authority executive director.
In two separate meetings Thursday, responsibility for the street lights was transferred from the Public Works Department to WAPA.
"I think it's a good idea," Thomas said at a WAPA board meeting. "Most people think WAPA is in charge of the street lights, anyhow. They generally only get repaired when WAPA is in the area." The way things are now, he said, to repair lights, DPW issues a work order to WAPA, but "the problem is that doesn't work very well."
WAPA will be taking over the street and area lights for now. Recreation and highway lights will come in Fiscal Year 2003, Thomas said. The utility has the personnel and skills to repair and maintain the street lights now, he said, but the other lights "require different skills to fix and maintain," he said. Climbing up a ballpark light standard is a different proposition from ascending a utility pole, he pointed out.
At the board meeting, Thomas said he wanted to charge rate payers about $1.77 per month for the service. The remark was met with astonishment from one board member, Attorney General Iver Stridiron. "The Legislature is meeting on St. Croix right now discussing this," Stridiron said, "and I can hear what they're saying. They won't approve it. People are still smarting over the $1 surcharge on phone bills for emergency services."
It was suggested the government pick up the bill, but Thomas said he would prefer the rate payers, since he has had enough trouble collecting from the government. He said a $2.7 million appropriation will be needed for start-up money to begin implementing the project.
In five years, he said, "we will have relit all the dark spaces" in all the islands. The board unanimously approved the transfer.
Meantime, on St. Croix, the Senate Finance Committee passed the legislation, with the committee chair, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, fulfilling Stridiron's predictions and amending the bill to kill the monthly $1.77 charge. Robert Vodzack, WAPA's new chief financial officer, testified on the bill.
In an amendment by Hansen, the senators voted unanimously to appropriate the $2.7 million for start-up costs, with $2 million to come from the General Fund and $680,000 from the Anti-Litter and Beautification fund.

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Nov. 16, 2002 – Within 18 months, every street light in the territory should be shining brightly, according to Joseph Thomas, Water and Power Authority executive director.
In two separate meetings Thursday, responsibility for the street lights was transferred from the Public Works Department to WAPA.
"I think it's a good idea," Thomas said at a WAPA board meeting. "Most people think WAPA is in charge of the street lights, anyhow. They generally only get repaired when WAPA is in the area." The way things are now, he said, to repair lights, DPW issues a work order to WAPA, but "the problem is that doesn't work very well."
WAPA will be taking over the street and area lights for now. Recreation and highway lights will come in Fiscal Year 2003, Thomas said. The utility has the personnel and skills to repair and maintain the street lights now, he said, but the other lights "require different skills to fix and maintain," he said. Climbing up a ballpark light standard is a different proposition from ascending a utility pole, he pointed out.
At the board meeting, Thomas said he wanted to charge rate payers about $1.77 per month for the service. The remark was met with astonishment from one board member, Attorney General Iver Stridiron. "The Legislature is meeting on St. Croix right now discussing this," Stridiron said, "and I can hear what they're saying. They won't approve it. People are still smarting over the $1 surcharge on phone bills for emergency services."
It was suggested the government pick up the bill, but Thomas said he would prefer the rate payers, since he has had enough trouble collecting from the government. He said a $2.7 million appropriation will be needed for start-up money to begin implementing the project.
In five years, he said, "we will have relit all the dark spaces" in all the islands. The board unanimously approved the transfer.
Meantime, on St. Croix, the Senate Finance Committee passed the legislation, with the committee chair, Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, fulfilling Stridiron's predictions and amending the bill to kill the monthly $1.77 charge. Robert Vodzack, WAPA's new chief financial officer, testified on the bill.
In an amendment by Hansen, the senators voted unanimously to appropriate the $2.7 million for start-up costs, with $2 million to come from the General Fund and $680,000 from the Anti-Litter and Beautification fund.