Mayor Leo Fontaine shares mayoral challenger and State Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's desire to turn more than a thousand city street lights back on, but not at the expense of the economic development director's job.
Baldelli-Hunt has pledged to take on Wojick's economic development duties if elected mayor. "Both of these jobs (mayor and economic development director) are more than full time jobs," said Fontaine. He said Wojcik's efforts, which involve advocating for the city with businesses considering moving into Woonsocket or expanding here (see links below), should be expanded, not cut back.
As for the lights themselves, "I appreciate the effort," Fontaine said, because I think we all would like to put the street lights on."
Fontaine was poised to do just that in 2011, when he and Councilman William D. Schneck announced the city's finances had begun to recover enough to warrant switching the lights back on. Unfortunately, he said, just after that announcement, the School Department's deficit was revealed, delaying the re-lighting indefinitely.
There are 1,261 of the city's 3,500 streetlights shut down ("red-capped" — fitted with a red cap when they were turned off), Fontaine said. Each light would cost $219 to turn back on.
Turning them all back on would cost the city about $275,000 a year, he said.