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Toledo Public Library to seek lighting bids

August 23, 2012
By Jimmy Gillispie - Staff Writer , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Jim Roan, Toledo Library Foundation member and Jenny Bledsoe, library director, hope new lighting in the Toledo Public Library will be more energy efficient and economical.

Roan and Bledsoe attended the Toledo City Council meeting on Aug. 13 and asked for direction on a project, which had been approved by the library board and foundation. The project will be replacing all of the 91 can lights in the library with LED lights.

"The lighting has been somewhat problematical for us, because the type of lights that they used back at that time continue to burn out," Roan said. "We've had some service maintenance in connection with that.

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Chronicle/Jimmy Gillispie

"We didn't want to proceed any further until we discussed it with the city council, because of the cost of the proposal," Roan said. "I visited with your mayor about this the other day and told him we're coming tonight to get some direction from the city council to how you want us to proceed."

Bledsoe went on to explain the cost of lights for the library. She also said the project would qualify for rebates from Alliant Energy. She added that the estimated cost savings is between $300-400 per year by switching to LED lights.

"In the past four and a half years, we've spent approximately $3,500 on bulbs and ballasts," Bledsoe said. "Replacing these lights has been an ongoing thing. If you divide it out, it's about $785 per year in lighting and maintenance costs."

Roan told the city council that local resident Kirby Thiessen helped the library during its last light project and he's been helping the library since then, too. Thiessen wrote the plans for the project, which include replacing all 91 can lights with LED lights.

Roan asked the council if Thiessen could be hired for the project or if it needed to go to bids. City Attorney Nancy Burk said the project's cost wasn't high enough to require bid. However, city council members were split on whether Thiessen should complete the project or whether it should be bid out to local contractors.

Council member Travis Mullen said he was comfortable with the work that Thiessen had done and wouldn't see a problem if he finishes the project. Council member "Elmer" Skip Wilson thought it should be bid out.

"I agree," Council member Terry Goodhart said. "We should give them all a chance. It's only fair to the local people."

The city council unanimously voted to bid the project out to local contractors. Since this action was taken, Thiessen's cost estimate for the project had to be thrown away.

"I agree to keep it local," Wilson said. "But I think we should bid it, but keep the bids local."



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