Both National Grid officials and Baldelli-Hunt herself report that information is a year old. David Graves, spokesman for National Grid, said the city saved $74,542.26 on its electric bill in 2011 after turning off 1,311 street lights, according to information provided to Baldelli-Hunt by Michael F. Ryan, vice president of government affairs for National Grid in Rhode Island, last year.
When asked for a copy of that report, Baldelli-Hunt referenced a 2012 Woonsocket Call article.
More recent information provided to the City by Lori J. Spangler,
Manager of Community & Customer Management-Rhode Island for National Grid, reveals the current cost of street lighting for the city is $412,579.06, including supply and delivery. The cost to turn all the lights back on would be $538,761.92, according to an e-mail Spangler sent the City Sept. 27.
"The difference in cost from what we are paying now under the National grid S14 rate for street lights compared to the cost to turn them all back on ... that difference equals $126,182.85," Fontaine wrote in an e-mail reply to an question on the matter.
Graves said that since the lights have now been turned off longer than a year, National Grid will not charge the city to turn the lights back on, so the total cost to re-activate the street lights is $126,182.85.
"I am eliminating that individual (Wojcik), which comes to $110,000," Baldelli-Hunt said during the recent Black Initiative Debate.
Though some have suggested Wojcik's health insurance adds to the cost of his combined positions, to an estimated $110,000, Fontaine said that's not the case. "Mr. Wojcik does not take Medical health Insurance, so even with the residual payroll costs, there is no way that his position costs the city $110,000," Fontaine said.
In a previous article on Baldelli-Hunt's plan, when the candidate stated she would cut the Economic Development Director's duties to pay for the lights ($16,000), she said she would assume those duties. Following her statement that she would cut Wojcik's entire salary, however, she said she does not intend to assume the Human Services duties performed by Wojcik as well. When asked who would run that department instead of Wojcik, Baldelli-Hunt said she would provide that information, "...at the appropriate time..."
According to Mayor Leo Fontaine, the human services director has a broad set of responsibilities. The position coordinates all human services for the city, "and serves as a conduit of sorts for many of these services."
The city doesn't provide those services directly, but, "...we have people that come to us on a regular basis looking for services and support of some type, and the director works with the individuals to identify service providers and coordinates their receipt of services to ensure that they are taken care of," Fontaine said.
The Human Services director also oversees the operation of the Woonsocket Senior Center through the recently appointed board of directors; oversees grant operations to places like the Museum of Work and Culture; assists people displaced by fires or other disasters; maintains relationships between many social service agencies in the city to ensure that there are not duplication of efforts in services.
"That position also serves as an administrative assistant to the Mayor in coordinating any projects as needed (not to be confused with the administrative aid (mayors secretary) position which is now and has been vacant)," Fontaine wrote.
Fontaine said his plan will turn the lights back on immediately using new regulations allowing the city to buy the lights from National Grid, "which would save us considerable amounts compared to the “rental” charges that we pay now," Fontaine said.
Fontaine said the City would use federal funds for the purchase, using the savings to convert the lights to LED lamps, cutting costs to run the lights in half. "The overall plan is a far better strategy than just eliminating a position and continuing to pay the higher costs," Fontaine said.