OUR VIEW: Buy the lights

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It was August 2009 when the city closed the door on the idea of purchasing Christmas lights.
Vice Mayor Teresa Barron had suggested the city consider buying lights rather than renting. She did a little research and found the manufacturer that supplied the rental company would sell the fixtures that adorn poles along U.S. Highways 27A and 19 for $14,000 with a three-year warranty.
Barron dreamed big, suggesting the city could buy fixtures for 100 light poles for $23,000.
The city fathers fretted.
They had no bucket truck. The City of Williston would loan theirs for the job.
The fixtures would have to be stored somewhere. There was an empty cargo container available at the industrial park.
Someone would have to keep track of them, clean them, repair them. Barron suggested city employees could.
The city's fathers stood firm. They would continue renting lights.
Since then, the city has spent $9,000 per year on Christmas lights. In the past five years, the bill has been $45,000.
The City Commission should have just flushed the taxpayers' $45,000 down a toilet.
What do they have to show for the taxpayers' money? Another bill for renting lights this year for $9,000.
Or maybe not.
With the coming year expected to have the budget in a vise grip, it has been whispered that the city should skip the lights.
Where would that leave the annual Christmas Festival?
Marsha Pollock has asked the commission to buy lights so Chiefland never has to consider a year without lights.
The commission sent her away to research the subject and report back.
She reported this week that American-made LED light fixtures would cost $23,000, carry a six-year warranty and use less electricity.
We have to wonder if the commission expected Miss Marsha to hang in there and find such a good deal.
Now there's fretting about the money.
You could hire a city employee for $23,000. No mention of where the money would come from next year to pay the worker.
No bucket truck worries cause the city has a bucket truck.
Miss Marsha has been told by a city worker there are places to store the lights.
And surely there's someone who can clean, repair and maintain the lights on the city's staff.
The city is considering borrowing the money. Or maybe they have a reserve account tucked away.
One solution is for city residents to send the commission a message about the lights.
An account has been set up at Edward Jones in Chiefland. The proceeds are to be used for Christmas lights.
Everyone who wants Christmas lights in Chiefland can drop off a check. No cash, please, it's safer and helps with recordkeeping.
Maybe city residents can light up the Christmas spirit.