Maybe There is a Lighting Solution

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Fort Myers Beach town councilman Dan Allers is getting a lot accomplished on the issue of lighting Estero boulevard. He’s been working directly with Lee County officials to try to come up with a solution both government entities can live with. At the least he’s preparing to provide residents with more information on the topic than has ever been available to them before.

According to Allers, Lee County is moving forward with the design phase of lighting 42 crosswalks on Estero boulevard as part of the recently complete road construction project. Lee County had planned to light those crosswalks, and pay that cost which was pegged at about $1.4 million. However, four months ago, after the town requested the county pay for more than just lighting the crosswalks, Lee County pledged to turn over that $1.4 million to Fort Myers Beach to use toward lighting the entire boulevard.

The town council wants to install all new amber lights on Estero boulevard to protect the turtles, and, the council wanted Lee County to pay for those lights because Lee County owns the boulevard.

Every turtle season many of the lights on Estero boulevard have to be turned off to protect the turtles, which also makes the road much darker and less safe at night. Lee County has told the council they will not be contributing any additional Lee County taxpayer dollars to light the road. If they want more lights, they need to come up with the money. That’s why the county pledged the $1.4 million and told the town they could put it toward whatever lights they decided to install.

That brings us to what Allers has been working on.

Allers wants the residents to know how much it would cost to install lights on all 5.7 miles of Estero Boulevard. Then, perhaps, let the voters decide if they might be willing to raise the mileage rate to cover the cost, if that’s what it takes to make the boulevard safer. Another option to pay for the lights would be for the town to hold off on other projects it has on the drawing board to get the lights installed.

Town Councilman Dan Allers

Allers presented the town council with a worst-case scenario option. That option is an amber lighting fixture, not yet approved by FWC, installed by Lee County. The amber light at the corner of Old San Carlos and Estero boulevard was installed by Lee County. It’s not an FPL approved amber light. It is an FWC and FDOT approved amber light. It’s also the light Lee County is planning to use at the 42 crosswalks.

Lee County officials provided Allers with an estimate of what it would cost to install that amber light on all 5.7 miles of Estero boulevard at 150 foot intervals, on both sides of the road. The project would include 400 poles, conduits and pull boxes. The county would do all the work and the town would pay for that work, through an interlocal agreement. The total cost to town taxpayers would be $4.5 million, paid back to the county over 5 to 7 years.

Right now, FPL is testing a light that, if approved, would be covered under the FPL tariff program, saving taxpayers a lot of money. That would be the best-case scenario, an FPL approved amber light that FPL would install and pay for. The results of that test should be known by next month.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Great job Dan allers. Using his personal expertise to aid a town project. Always willing to say what he believes is right for the citizens not the town council.

  2. Thank you Councilman Allers, your ability to communicate with Lee County officials has resulted in positive steps toward addressing the age old lighting issue. At least we have information, more details and possible options going forward.

  3. Dan does so much for the town in all avenues, be it fun celebrations, philanthropy, communication, work expertise, total dedication to the Town, it’s people and our local government.

  4. Great work by Councilman Allers. I hope that we wait the month for the results of the FPL. If they bear the cost to install they also own and will handle all maintenance well into the future. I trust their testing as a power company because they are looking at all costs – purchase, installation, maintenance and life expectancy as a business.
    If the town takes on the job, we are in the lighting business for years to come – has that cost been estimated and who tested the light that was installed on Old San Carlos. It does not meet FWC requirements.
    I hope the town stays out of the lighting and power business.

  5. Great work! Another option for collecting money is to raise the tax collected off of the Rental properties. Or at the very least split the mileage increase with the bed tax. Get the money in half the time and pay less interest on the loan.

  6. “Kudus to councilman Dan Allers”
    Just goes to show that if we work together you can get things accomplished and have successful results.

  7. Great Job, Dan! We truly appreciate your resolve to work together with Lee County and make things happen for our island.

  8. That’s what a real leader does. Not sure why our current mayor or town manager can’t get this straightened out. Thank you Dan! Allers for Mayor.

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