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New Florence council seeking 'creative' ways to cut costs

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:02 p.m.

New Florence officials are exploring ways to cut costs for 70 street lights.

At last week's council meeting, Councilwoman Kim Fuller suggested switching electricity providers to find a cheaper rate than the nearly $9,600 annual bill the borough is paying to FirstEnergy Corp.

It costs about $137 to illuminate each street light.

President Kelly Luther suggested completing a streetlight audit and looking into passing the cost of street lights and fire hydrants onto residents.

Neighboring Bolivar recently adopted a budget that included charging residents up to $21 a year to cover the cost of fire hydrants.

Bolivar council considered passing on the expense of street lights to their constituents, but ultimately voted against it.

“It's something to talk about,” Luther said. “We take $800 a month out of liquid fuels (for street lights). We've got to start getting creative. We've always been able to afford (the lights), but times are changing.”

In other news, council members discussed upcoming elections, with four council members' seats that will be available.

While Councilwoman Georgia Ludwig said she plans to seek re-election, members Sharon McGinnis and Roger Sheriff said they will not be running for re-election. Councilman Don Jones, whose term ends this year, did not attend the meeting.

Those interested in running for a council seat must circulate and file nominating petitions at the Westmoreland County Courthouse by March 13 for their names to appear on the ballot for the May 21 primary election.

There is still a vacancy on the New Florence/St. Clair Sewage Authority. Council appoints the authority's New Florence representatives.

Borough residents are asked to send letters of interest to the borough, Box 272, New Florence, PA 15944.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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