Press Release issued on Monday, 5/24/2010:
Commission to promote inclusion of people with
disabilities in all areas of life in Seattle
Seattle – Today the Seattle City Council confirmed the charter members of the new Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities (SCPWD). Seven members were appointed by the Council and seven were appointed by the Mayor. The Commissioners will nominate the final two members to round out the group.
Mark Adreon, Joshua Caple, Rebecca C. Cory, Charlene Curtiss, Patricia Copeland, John Denooyer, Hope Drummond, Vickie Foster, Laura Gramer, Mary Beth Lum, Erica Sekins, Gary Stobbe, Deborah Witmer, and Sara Woody will serve on the volunteer Commission.
“I am grateful that these individuals are willing to give their time and effort to the City of Seattle and I commend them for their civic participation,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee. “I look forward to their recommendations on assisting the Council in creating a more inclusive environment for all of our citizens.”
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It is well known that printer ink can be quite expensive. When compared to other liquids, the high cost of printer ink is surprising. Printer ink costs $60.88 per ounce, while Chanel No. 5 is $44.11, Dom Perignon is $4.53 and milk is only 3 cents per ounce. At the ETC meeting on April 21, 2010, I invited Greenprint Inc. to present their solution of decreasing printer waste and demonstrate how it saves businesses money to reduce the use of printer ink and paper.
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As you know, for the past 12 months I have been working on improving City Light’s financial and risk management policies, as well as building components of its strategic plan. This work has paid off and has resulted in huge benefits to the residents and businesses in Seattle.
Fresh on the heels of establishing the Rate Stabilization Fund (RSF) we received the great news that Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s retained City Light’s favorable bond ratings. Standard & Poor’s affirmed the AA- bond rating, while Moody’s affirmed the Aa2 bond rating; both with a stable outlook. This puts the Utility in the top tier with respect to national bond ratings. Maintaining strong bond ratings means City Light can borrow money at favorable interest rates, which reduces the cost for necessary investments in the utility’s infrastructure. It also means City Light can continue its commitment to providing low-cost, reliable, environmentally sensitive electricity to our residents.
By implementing the RSF and revising financial policies, we were able to improve City Light’s current financial status and prepare it for the future. The Council carefully and thoughtfully reviewed the revenue requirements for the utility – not just for today, but for the years ahead – and took action to guarantee long-term stability for our ratepayers.
[Press Release issued Friday, 5/14/2010]
Good planning and timing lead to huge savings
Seattle – Seattle City Light and its customer base saved $57 million dollars by refinancing its revenue bonds. Even with a historically low snow-pack year and an economy not seen since the Great Depression, prompt and prudent action by the City Council allowed City Light to retain its premium bond ratings of AA- (Standard and Poor) and Aa2 (Moody’s). Earlier this year, the City Council, Mayor, and City Light’s Superintendent worked together to create the Rate Stabilization Account (RSA), a $100 million dollar reserve fund, to maintain and strengthen City Light’s financial position. The $57 million in savings will go toward building the reserve fund.
“Even though we have faced one of the worst snow-packs in 50 years and the worst recession in 70 years, we were able to develop a strategy of changing our financial policies and chose to refinance about 40% of the Utility’s debt, using the bond market and cutting costs to achieve $57 million in savings. This is great news for City Light and its customers,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Council’s Energy, Technology and Civil Rights Committee. “This is strong policy work intended to achieve a specific outcome for the people and businesses of Seattle. It worked.”
Great news! We have gotten our streetlight outages significantly and measurably lower over the last few years. Properly functioning streetlights are an essential element to public safety. I am proud of the progress City Light has made under ETC direction.
In a snapshot from May of 2009, there were approximately 4,500 streetlights needing repair. One month later, after implementation of the group relamping scheme, this number was reduced to 1,665 lights in need of repair. By the end of 2009, over 90% of the streetlights that were reported by citizens were repaired within 10-14 days. By comparison, in 2004, more than 23,000 Streetlights were reported out and often it took more than a month for repair.
Presently City Light has approximately 1,500 open tickets in the system for streetlight repairs. We are currently in phase 3 of a 4 phase group relamping scheme and when it is complete there will be even fewer burned out streetlights. I commend City Light workers and their commitment to improve our streetlight system. This has been one of my goals since I took office.
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The DOE has recognized our leadership with LED streetlights and chose Seattle City Light to lead a national effort to promote the installation of LED streetlights. The “Municipal Solid State Street Lighting Consortium” has been established to share information, performance results and residents’ feedback about LED streetlights with participating communities nationwide.
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You may recall that City Light received a $1 million grant from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) for the beginning phases of our transition to LED streetlights from the high-pressure sodium streetlights used currently. This year the Utility will install 5,000 LED streetlights and 40,000 over the next five years.
Currently there are LED pilot projects in Capitol Hill, West Seattle, and South Park. When surveyed, 85 percent of respondents approved of the new lights. This is a transition I am excited about because LEDs use less energy and the light emitted is more precise so there is no “light spillage.” This efficiency will mean reduced cost to run and maintain streetlights to the tune of $2.4 million per year, which will result in savings to you.