ALBANY, GA (WALB) - There are 1,500 street lights out across Albany, but city leaders said they have a $3.5 million dollar plan to fix them. And community members are ready to see them repaired.
“It’s wasting our money,” said Darryl Simmons, an Albany resident.
Others are worried about the crime that goes on in an unlit town.
“It would make everyone safe. When you’re driving down your street, or driving down a street, you want to make sure you can see everything, especially with the crime rate the way it is now in Albany,” said Dan Land, another Albany resident.
City leaders said you’ll start seeing crews working to replace and repair the lights in February. This is part of their $3.5 million LED street light replacement project.
“When you leave late at night, you just have a level of confidence. You can see if anybody’s lurking around your car. You just have a better level of confidence where ever you are,” said City Manager Sharon Subadan.
But many wonder what caused so many lights to go out.
Subadan said many were damaged from Hurricane Michael. But others no longer work because of an issue actually going on underneath the city.
“We have underground electrical cable damage that has occurred over the years. Normally those have a 20 year life, most of those are almost twice their useful life,” said Subadan.
The city needed funds to replace the cables.
Commissioners said they now have the necessary SPLOST funds to complete, not only the multi-million dollar street light project, but also the $2.5 million cable replacement project. Something the community said is well overdue.
“So, where ever they’re out at, we just need to make sure we can get them replaced as soon as possible,” said Land.
“Do something with our money other than put it into stuff that’s not going to be useful,” said Simmons.
Crews will start by replacing the biggest lights, then those in neighborhoods and then finish with decorative lights downtown.
The work is expected to be completed by the start of summer.
The city has also been dealing with another issue.
Albany Utilities has been seeing an average of 1,500 calls per hour since Hurricane Michael, which is more than the call system has been able to handle.
The utilities company normally sees 1,500 calls in one day.
Now, many in the community are upset, saying their calls have not been answered and their problems not solved.
Utilities representatives said they had the largest amount of payment extension requests they had seen after the storm, contributing to the large call volume.
Now, they’re encouraging you to do as much of your business online as you can.
“So instead of having to call for services, to start or stop or transfer of services, you’ll be able to go to our website, fill out a form and still get that same service without actually having to call in and talk to someone,” said Chief Information Officer Steven Carter.
Utilities representatives said the volume has been steadily decreasing since the holidays.