Lights out in Cobden?

Lights out in Cobden?
By: Arnold Wyrick
COBDEN, Ill. - "The last thing we'll do is shut-off any light that would cause a problem," says Cobden's Mayor Wes Lyerla.  But, the city is looking at a huge increase in it's electric bill, as a result of Ameren's rate hikes.
"They said it was only going to be about 40 percent.  But,we figured our bill went up a 150 percent.   When we received our last bill it was almost a thousand dollars more then January's bill," Mayor Lyerla said.
Now Cobden's city leaders must decide how to pay the added costs to light their town at night.
"There's a couple of options we're looking at; one is to absorb the cost which is not really a good option.  Because it's an extra 12-thousand dollars a year that would come out of our budget.  And we wouldn't be able to put it back."
Or the other option being considered, is to shut-off random lights throughout the town.
"I don't think that's a good idea at all.  I think the city needs it's lights.  I believe that Ameren CIPS has let, both the people and the city down," says Brooks Tellor of Cobden.
Either way, no matter if all the lights in town are left on, or some are turned off, a surcharge will still be added to residents electric bills. Option one would add a $1.56 charge; option two would add $2.00 to folks bills.
"On our street I don't think it would really make a difference.  But I don't think we should be paying for it if it's not on," says Elizabeth Toller of Cobden.
"I think that if it's just two dollars that it's not going to hurt anybody in town.  And for safety sake and to keep down on crime, I think it would be worth the two dollars instead of turning off the lights," says Linda Michaels of Cobden.
The final decision will be made by Cobden's Board members during their meeting on Monday night.