Council spends $2,000 to light up tower
Orland will spend up to $2,000 to light the city water tower despite concerns most local businesses are closed after dark.
The City Council approved the expenditure Monday night at the request of the Economic Development Commission.
Plans are to put in flood lights that will illuminate the Orland sign on the tower so it is visible to motorists driving on interstate 5.
EDC commissioners hope this will entice people off the freeway into town.
However, some council members and residents said nothing is open past 6 p.m. in Orland, so all visitors would see is a shut-down town.
“You can light it up at night so people can come downtown,” resident Byron Denton said, “but there is nothing open, so what am I (as a taxpayer) getting for my money?”
EDC Commissioner Helen Duree said the commission has spent more than a year developing this plan and businesses may want to change their hours when they see tourists coming.
Denton also expressed concern the money for the lights was available only because the city is without a permanent police chief and is missing a Public Works employee right now.
He said he hopes the expenditure will not cause problems for the city when employee contract negotiations come around again.
Finance Director Daryl Brock suggested increased sales tax revenues could pay for this project along with a downtown improvement district grant program also approved by the council Monday night.
Councilman Dennis Hoffman asked about alternate funding for the project since he hoped service clubs might pay for it along with lighting the city’s historic arch on Old Highway 99.
Councilman Bruce Roundy agreed, noting local resident Leon Ponzi said he could get $5,000 for the arch lights from a private source at the March EDC meeting.
“I’d like to see that for the tower, too,” Roundy said.
Duree said there is talk of getting community groups to pay for the arch lights, but the EDC decided to bring the tower project to the city to expedite the work.
The $2,000 cost is based on a electrician’s estimate to put in wiring for the flood lamps, plus the price of LED lights, city officials said.
“You are wanting to light this in the summer at the same time as daylight savings,” Councilman Jim Paschall said. “The stores close at 6 p.m. and there is nothing to say if they come off (the freeway) at 10 p.m. there will be anything there.”
He said $2,000 is not a lot of money, but he did not believe it would be well spent on this purpose.
Shop owner Trish Saint-Evens said she knows three downtown businesses that are open at 9 p.m.: the Farwood Bar and Grill, Pizza Palace and Burger King.
And Duree said if nothing more, the tower lights would get Orland’s name out there to travelers
“I appreciate the efforts of the EDC to move this forward,” Mayor Wade Elliott said. “I think we can get a lot of bang for the buck.”
The council approved the project on a 3-1 vote with Paschall dissenting. Vice Mayor Charles Gee was absent.