Trail lights will remain lit all night for now

Back in April, Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced cost-cutting measures that included turning off the city’s bike trail lights on city trails from 11:00 p.m. until 5:30 a.m.

But the lights were back on last week for Bike to Work Week, and after reviewing the March sales tax numbers released on Friday, city staff has decided to leave the lights on the trail system on all night for now.

City Chief of Staff Don Marr said that even though sales tax collections in March 2010 were down over the same month in 2009, the numbers were encouraging.

“We were looking at a deficit of about $1 million for the year. As of now, it’s looking more like $850,000-900,000,” Marr said.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan also cancelled the first scheduled furlough day in July as a result of the March sales tax numbers.

Marr said that the city will continue to monitor the budget on a month-to-month basis. If sales tax numbers continue to dip, they will have to re-evaluate.

“We’re not trying to do something that creates pain for people,” Marr said. “We’re just down to having to look at these types of things now. We want to leave the lights on, and we realize some people count on the trails for transportation.”

Marr said that the city is also looking at other cost-cutting measures that could be implemented if needed that wouldn’t require the trail to go completely unlit after 11 p.m. if future sales tax numbers fall below projections.

“One of the things we’re looking at is replacing the current lights with LED’s,” Marr said. “If it worsens, we could look at going to every third light. We’ll just have to see how the numbers look.”