WATERLOO — New lights at the Black Hawk County road maintenance garage gave the supervisors sticker shock.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a $60,775 contract with Black Hawk Electric of Waterloo to upgrade lighting in the four buildings making up the Secondary Roads Department shop on Longfellow Avenue.

“This is considerably over our estimated budget amount,” said County Engineer Cathy Nicholas.

All four bids received on the project were well above the $26,000 budget, a problem attributed largely for the need to install lighted exit signs and some emergency lighting not expected when the budget was prepared.

Nicholas still urged the supervisors to support the project by covering the extra costs from recent savings on the purchase of new motorgraders.

She said the lighting is needed for employee safety and productivity. The new system also will have sensors to shut off lights in two buildings when they are empty.

The lights are expected to save $4,500 annually in utility costs and bulb replacements. An $11,000 to $14,000 rebate is expected from MidAmerican Energy based on the projected energy savings.

“Ideally this would be done during the budget process, but mistakes happen,” said Supervisor Chris Schwartz. “It’s still the right thing to do.”

Board chairman Frank Magsamen added, “In the long run I think it makes the buildings more sustainable for the future.”

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Staff Writer

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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