The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees passed a resolution authorizing a bond for LED lights on Tuesday night, in what village officials described as a “just in case” measure.
The lighting project, which is expected to replace roughly 800 lights throughout the village with LED lights, will primarily be paid for by a state grant. Officials said that while the grant is unlikely to fall through, the measure would allow them to issue a bond to pay for parts of the project.
“This is really just to protect the village in case something were to happen – that the grant will fall through and we decided we didn’t want to use community benefit money for the expense of the project,” Joe Gill, the village clerk-treasurer, said.
Mayor Pedram Bral compared the measure to buying insurance, in that it’s unlikely the board will have to issue a bond but that it’s necessary to have just in case so the village does not lose money on the project.
He said, “We are going forward with the project, we need to know in case something happened that is unforeseeable, we are protected and the reason we need to do this is because we do not want to go and do something that is going to make the village lose money.”
Amy Glass, a local critic of LED lighting, expressed concern with how the measure was passed and what it could potentially lead into.
“Yes, individuals could buy life insurance, and their own family makes that decision. We, here, the citizens are the family and it doesn’t sound as if we’re getting to have any input into this decision,” Glass said. “It’s more a matter of procedure.”
Rebecca Gilliar, a civic activist and former mayoral candidate, raised issues in a letter to the trustees regarding the project. She expressed concern about governmental transparency, suggesting a pilot program and saying that “the subject of LED lights has been addressed by less than a handful of residents.”
“Before voting to convert all street lighting for the entire village, the mayor and trustees should respect the community and the process of participatory democracy,” Gilliar wrote in a separate letter to the Great Neck News and the Great Neck Record.
Village officials said that many municipalities and entities ranging from hospitals to schools have embarked on using LED lights, and that most residents support the move. Officials also described the project as a project with long-term benefits, including between $50,000 to $100,000 in annual savings and improved safety.
Leon Korobow, a Great Neck resident who attended the meeting, said he found the LED lighting discussion interesting and informative.
“I appreciated the discussion tonight and the various comments that were made,” Korobow said to village officials, “and your explanation and your description was very helpful on items I don’t think many people in the community know much about.”
After the meeting, village officials and meeting attendees walked along Baker Hill Road underneath a row of LED lights. Gill fielded questions from residents about them and what to expect.
Representatives from Real Term Energy, who are consultants on the project, will give a presentation on Aug. 1 starting at 5:30 p.m at Village Hall. Officials said Real Term Energy could more authoritatively respond to residents’ comments and concerns.
At that time, it is likely that the board will decide on which lighting fixtures to purchase. A price for the purchase and installation have not yet been decided.