DUMMERSTON -- Officials want to shed a little more light on town government -- and they mean that literally.
Spurred by complaints about a lack of lighting around the town office and voting facility in Dummerston Center, a member of the town's Energy Committee has come up with a detailed plan to install 17 new high-efficiency LED fixtures.
But the plan comes with a price tag that gives Selectboard members pause -- about $31,000 if officials undertake the entire project.
"It's something we'll look over and consider," board Chairman Zeke Goodband said.
He added, however, that "we need to do something with the lighting in that area. People are walking around in the dark."
While there is some lighting in the area of the town office, historical society and Dummerston Congregational Church (which also serves as the town's polling place), it is considered insufficient.
It is not uncommon, for example, for those attending Selectboard meetings and other functions to park in a pitch-dark lot and walk a poorly illuminated path.
At a recent meeting, Dummerston Energy Committee member Stan "Smokey" Howe said he had used software to build a three-dimensional model of the area and to determine the best lighting scheme.
"That's how I choose the fixtures -- basically, that they're on the list that will get the biggest rebate from Efficiency Vermont, and that they're going to light the area properly," Howe told Selectboard members, displaying his lighting model on a nearby screen.
Howe proposes replacing eight existing fixtures using a total of 1,080 watts with 17 new LED fixtures using just 632 watts.
"You add more lighting and add more fixtures, but you actually end up with less wattage in the end because they're far more efficient fixtures," he said.
The lights would be arranged in six zones, with each zone controlled by a motion sensor. Howe said that setup, along with the nature of LED lighting, would allow officials to tightly control what is lit and for how long.
"The pathways and the parking lot will all be well-lit, but really not much else," Howe said. "The benefit of LED is, it puts the light where you need it, and it doesn't just cast light everywhere."
The project would involve installation of new fixtures and poles along with some digging, as Howe said his proposal includes four new conduit runs and two crossings of the driveway leading to the town office.
All told, he estimates that the project would cost $31,000 even after the applicable rebates from Efficiency Vermont. Lighting the parking lot alone would cost more than $10,600.
In order to save money, "you could decide not to implement a particular zone," Howe said. "Maybe you decide to implement (the lighting improvements) over a period of years in stages."
He said the next steps would be for the Selectboard to review his proposal and to explore possible funding.
Board members have not yet committed to any facet of the project. The cost, Goodband said, is "not something we take lightly."
But officials also praised the level of detail in Howe's research and presentation.
"The town's lucky to have him on that committee," Goodband said. "He's a really great resource."
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.