Rush City is moving forward with a plan to install street lights in Rush Creek Estates.

Rush City Council reviewed a proposal from East Central Energy to add 15 light fixtures to the area at its meeting on Aug. 24.

The new lights at Rush Creek Estates, which is located on the north edge of the city, would be owned by East Central Energy, meaning the city would not be responsible for maintenance or replacement.

Rush Creek Estates was built in 2005, but the “punch card” — the list of requirements the city needed the developer to complete before the city would take over maintenance of the street — was not completed as much as four years later.

Among the items on the punch card at that time were sidewalks, curbs, streetlights and other miscellaneous items.

In the proposal submitted by East Central Energy, footage charges for the street lights would jump from $3,042 to $6,084 if the first billing period after construction was completed took place after Nov. 1, sparking interest to install the lights as soon as possible.

“If we can find the $16,542 [in our budget], we should do it,” mayor Dan Dahlberg said at the meeting. “To pay the extra money for this project is just not worth it. … And if it puts two more houses [in that development] because the lights are there, we’ve gained that money back.”

The city found the money to pay for the project thanks to Kay Mattson, the city’s financial consultant.

Mattson suggested borrowing from the Inflow and Infiltration Fund, a fund which tries to limit the amount of ground water that flows directly into the city’s sewer system through cracks and leaks in storm drains and sewer mains.

The cost of the street light project could have been assessed to property owners in the subdivision. With 77 lots in the development, the assessment to pay for the work would be roughly $215 per unit for the street lights if the project was completed before Nov. 1.

The assessment would rise to roughly $254 per lot if it was completed after Nov. 1.

But council decided to use the funds from the Inflow and Infiltration account and not pass along the cost to the property owners.

“Since we’re able to borrow from the ‘I and I’ fund, the council felt that it would be less expensive, in the long run, to install the lights this fall without the assessments,” City Administrator Amy Mell said.

John Bosman, a business accounts specialist from East Central Energy, said work on the project should begin this week, weather permitting. He could not formulate a timetable for completion of the project.

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