Mayor Leo Fontaine has his own plan for turning 1,261 Woonsocket Street lights back on by offsetting their operation costs through "cooperative efforts".
Fontaine was pressed on the street light issue by Shirley Robinson during Monday night's council meeting at City Hall. She referenced Mayoral candidate Rep. Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's proposal to eliminate the economic development director's job, assume those duties and use the savings to turn lights back on.
Robinson asked the Mayor to confirm the economic development director's stipend is $16,000, compared to the approximate annual $275,000 cost to turn all the lights back on. Fontaine said those numbers were correct.
Robinson asked Fontaine if he had a plan of his own. Fontaine said he did, and that it involved offsetting the cost of turning the lights back on through "cooperative efforts". He also said it may involve converting the lights to more energy efficient LED lamps in the future.
Fontaine declined to elaborate on the plan, saying it was still being developed. Councilman Marc Dubois asked why the Mayor had waited until now to work on the problem. Fontaine said the plan took advantage of a recently passed bill in the General Assembly affecting municipal street lights.