LAKE GEORGE - With two initiatives enacted Monday, the village board is seeking to help the environment while saving the taxpayers some expense.
The village approved the replacement of conventional holiday lighting for eight large trees with energy-saving LED bulbs, and to use roadway-clearing salt laced with a corn derivative that cuts rock salt use by about 50 percent.
VIllage Department of Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington made the proposals Monday which were approved by the board.
Village officials estimated that using LEDs, or light-emitting diode bulbs would save up to seven-eighths of the electricity used by conventional bulbs, and save taxpayers $2,200 per year. The bulbs last longer and are more durable also, Harrington said. These new-technology lights last for an estimated 50,000 hours versus 3,500 average for incandescent bulbs, he said.
The board voted Monday to purchase about 4,400 colored LED bulbs for $3,548 for eight large trees in Shepard Park that are traditionally decorated for the holidays.
The board took another earth-friendly idea to heart as they endorsed Harrington's initiative to use "Magic Salt," the ice-melting rock salt soaked with a corn compound.
He said it would cut the village's annual current use of about 400 tons of rock salt down to 200 tons, sparing the area groundwater, lakewater and foliage half the salt pollution they now endure.
The Magic Salt has other benefits, too, despite costing about 25 percent more than standard rock salt, he said.
The new compound will continue to melt ice longer on roadways and work in lower temperatures than plain rock salt, he said.
The village highway department started using it during the latter weeks of this past winter season, and it performed well, he said.
The Ticonderoga Highway Superintendent had recommended Magic Salt after experiencing how it cut usage by half and kept roadways clearer, longer, down to 25 degrees below zero, Harrington said.
At Monday's meeting, the board noted they had received recognition from the Adirondack Council for their switchover to the pollution-reducing compound.
In other business, the village board decided Monday to give new village Public Works Employee Keith Lanfear a $1.50 hourly wage increase based on his performance beyond expectations. It was noted that all village workers are to receive a 3 percent raise beginning in June.
The board made another personnel decision. Matt Perry, no relation to village trustee Ray Perry, was hired for several weeks to help village employees in their autumn duties picking up roadside leaf piles.
Also, the board members rejected the idea of launching a snow-plowing contract with the Scrimshaw residential development development. Board members said they didn't want the village to get into the plowing business in competition with entrepreneurs.
As of recently, village residents will no longer be awakened at night by the fire siren going off when firefighters are summoned to fight a suspected blaze, Harrington said.
A timer has been activated that silences the siren between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., he said.
The existing Plektron radio alert system carried personally by firefighters will continue to be operated 24 hours per day, officials said.