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Coaldale solicitor to contact firm that promised lighting cost savings

Published August 12. 2010 05:00PM

Coaldale Borough solicitor Michael Greek will contact a Lackawanna County firm that promised to save the borough thousands of dollars in street lighting costs through purchasing rather than leasing them from PPL.

That promise has yet to be fulfilled, and Greek on Tuesday agreed to make the contact after borough secretary Louise Lill said she has been trying to get in touch with the company, Municipal Energy Managers of Moscow, because of complaints about malfunctioning lights, but has gotten no response.

MEM officers had promised council that any problems would be resolved within one or two days.

Coaldale signed onto the MEM ownership vs. leasing deal in Feb. 2009. Under the contract, the borough leases its street lights from PPL for $28,000 a year. The borough borrowed $182,400 from Jim Thorpe National Bank at a 4.45 percent fixed rate to acquire the street lights after listening to a presentation by James Schlesinger of Concord Public Financial Advisors Inc., Reading, and Tim Moran of MEM.

Once the $182,400 debt is paid, the borough would own the lights and save about $18,500 a year, given an anticipated 3 percent PPL annual rate increase for leasing the lights. Moran said at the time that the borough's savings are guaranteed under the proposed 20-year contract. Under the contract, MEM would upgrade and maintain the lights for a flat annual fee through 2037. But last August the project came to a standstill when PPL said it would not negotiate with MEM because it had no documentation that the company was acting on the borough's behalf. It was not clear Tuesday whether that problem is close to being resolved.

Jim Thorpe Borough and Tamaqua have also been having similar issues with the firm.

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