Lights out on King Street

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Councilwoman Del Peppers relentless bid to keep holiday lights glowing along King Street year round took a hit Tuesday when the city council decided it wasnt such a bright idea after all.

Pepper argued the lights are a business booster in-line with Alexandrias strategic plan.

I like to call them business development or economic development lights, she said. Theres nothing frivolous about them.

No one really disagreed with her, but the $43,500 electric bill was tough for council members to swallow. Councilman Frank Fannon rationalized it as a perk for small business owners likely to endure a new tax this May.

I think this could be a nice touch if we could keep this on at least until the end of June, he said. Its like the old saying: If youre gonna tax me, you could at least kiss me.

But the lights wont shine much longer. On top of the cost, they drain energy; theres no way to shut them off during the day without shutting them off for good, according to city staff.

Its not exactly the most environmentally friendly thing in the world to keep this power running, said Councilman Rob Krupicka.

The council voted 6-1 in favor of waiting until March to dim King Street, at a cost of $9,000. Councilman Paul Smedberg dissented, citing a lot of other ways to spend that money.

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