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Lebanon City Council Recap – June 2022

Multiple citizens again voiced their concern over the brightness of new streetlights in Monday night's Lebanon City Council meeting.

Alisher Aminov

Multiple citizens again voiced their concern over the brightness of new streetlights in Monday night’s Lebanon City Council meeting.

The Lebanon City Council met Monday to conduct their regularly scheduled meeting; however, the only planned items on the Council’s agenda were a department update from the Director of Administration, Assistant to the Mayor, Melissa Quinones, and a communications item from the Pennsylvania Auditor General.

Several citizens used the additional time of the meeting to raise concerns over the brightness of new streetlights that Met-Ed is planning to install around North Liberty and Spring Streets.

Jerry Kalinowski, a Lebanon City resident, initially raised concerns about the new lights disturbing the community when the City originally introduced the resolution during the April City Council Meeting.

According to the original resolution, the City of Lebanon approved an agreement between Lebanon City and Met-Ed to allow for installing new LED streetlights. However, the details of the light’s specifications were undefined.

In April, Kalinowski said he was worried the LED lights would cause excess light pollution within the city and wanted to know what Met-Ed could do to shield them.

In the initial meeting, Mayor Sherry Capello said her office would contact Met-Ed about the concerns.

At the June meeting, Kalinowski re-introduced his concerns and asked the City if they had received additional information from Met-Ed.

Mayor Capello said her office contacted Met-Ed, and they told her that while the city has some choice over the design and style of the lights along with the voltage, the city cannot control the lights’ specifications.

Council Member Chris Miller said, “It sounds ridiculous, but this is a big issue; it is a really big issue. Have we had any conversations with other municipalities that are fielding the same concerns?”

Miller said, “I’m not trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, but this can’t continue to be ok.” He said the result could not be that Met-Ed can do whatever they want, and the city cannot do anything about it.

Craig Gates, a Lebanon City resident, asked if it would be possible for the City to request that Met-Ed use a similar type of light to that used in the construction of the new Northwest School building. He said the lights at the school are less abrasive and do not cause a disturbance to those living in the area.

Council Member Joe Morales asked if it was possible to check what type of lights are in other areas of the municipality compared to what Met-Ed wants to install.

Mayor Capello said, “I’m not sure how much say we have in it, other than the wattage.” But, she continued, “It’s Met-Ed, they are a public utility, but we will definitely check on it.”

Mayor Capello said her office plans to schedule a meeting with Met-Ed instead of just a phone call to find out what options the City has.

In other business:

The Mayor made her budget report. She said the city is 42% into the budget year, has raised 61.5% of expected revenue, and has spent 30.7% of its estimated expenses.

Mellissa Quinones made a department update for the city. She said the city has closed two union contract agreements but is still working on one with the Fireman’s Union. She also noted two open positions in the public works department: one full-time maintenance worker and a full-time zoning officer.

Quinones said that the city has a new safety handbook, completed demolition on the Coleman Park pool, is currently hosting its nature camp, and is planning to have its annual firework display on July 4th.

The Communications from the Pennsylvania Auditor General Timothy DeFoor was a transmitted compliance audit of the Volunteer Firefighter Relief Association.

Mayor Capello said that the City had allocated funds for its nine volunteer fire companies; however, it is the companies’ responsibility to manage their finances and audits. She said that one of the companies made an error on payment; however, they resolved it, and the Auditor General has accepted the correction.

For access to the complete summary of the meeting, please click here.

The pre-council meeting for next month will be on July 21st at 4:45 pm; the regular session of the Lebanon City Council is on July 23rd at 6:30 pm. All City Council meetings are open to the public and held in the Dixon Council Chamber, located at 735 Cumberland St. Preregistration is not required for attendance.

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