George Horvath and Steve Clawson from NorthWestern Energy presenting,
Various sources own the streetlights in Missoula, including NorthWestern Energy, the City of Missoula, and businesses such as the Southgate Mall. NorthWestern Energy has been replacing the street lights they own with Light-emitting Diode (LED) lights. These LED lights use about 50% less electricity than traditional lights and last two to three times longer. The poles will not need to be replaced because the new lights are compatible.
Mr. Clawson tracks any complaints NorthWestern Energy receives regarding the LED lights. He works hard to mitigate the complaint in several ways. These ways include pointing the light's nose down more and occasionally adding a shield to block any light shining at a residence. He has a weekly call with the City of Missoula staff to address these complaints and any the city receives. Ms. Jones added that a few of her constituents have been please with the service of complaints. Mr. von Lossberg said he has noticed people react to the lights because it's a significant change. The previous lights were so degraded and dull; the new ones seem really bright. He added the residents eventually got used to them, and he thanked Mr. Clawson for helping with the complaints.
Ms. West commented that a few people have mentioned that the LED lights seem beneficial to the night sky. Mr. Horvath said the lights are dark sky compliant and have a flat bottom with no light directed upward. The old lights had a dome that did have some light shining upwards.
Ms. Becerra thanked NorthWestern Energy and the City staff for working together.
Kevin Slovarp and Rick Larson from the City of Missoula presenting,
The City of Missoula staff also gave an update on City-owned streetlights. The City has replaced 90 lights with LED lights and plans to replace 60 more by the end of Summer 2021, which will complete all city-owned replacements.
The City also has several Street Lighting Improvement Districts (SLIDs). When creating a new SLID, the requirements can be found in the Missoula City Public Works Standards and Specifications Manual. All new lights are required to put into a SLID, and the SLID pays for capital, operating, and maintenance costs.
The City prefers to use an area method to set up a new SLID. As new lots are plotted, the property owner would pay for the district's cost based on the particular lot area. The Developer would continue to pay for the district's costs based on the district's size of un plotted land. The City would update the district assessments each year.
The City may add streetlights not currently in a lighting district to an existing SLID or change boundary lines to include these lights. All SLID's will go before the City Council for approval.
Ms. Merritt has a group of constituents in the Curtis area that would like to have street lights in that area. Mr. Slovap said it could be a situation when a new SLID could be appropriate. Mr. Larson said that the City might have to require a certain amount of lights to create a district. There are other challenges associated with creating new or altering existing SLID boundaries. Such as property assessment, public engagement, property owner consent, and staff time.