Upsala purchases electric eyes to make Christmas lights more efficient

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Christmas decorations in Upsala hold 1,700 bulbs, leading the City Council to look for more cost-effective ways to light up the town during the holiday season.

“We put in 1,200 new bulbs this year at about 25 cents each,” said Maintenance Supervisor Frank Koopmeiners. “It seems like we are replacing more and more each year.”

Council Member Brian Lange said, “We need to look at a less expensive way of doing it — even if we need to spend some money up front.”

The Council voted to authorize the purchase of electric eyes for all decorations so they shut off during the day, saving one-third of the electrical cost of operating them. The cost will be $250, with Koopmeiners doing the installation.

“This will hopefully lengthen the life of the bulbs,” Koopmeiners said.

After discussing the age of the current decorations, which the city has been displaying for 10 years, Mayor Rollie Johnson said, “Maybe it’s time for a new set, something different. Residents and non-residents have said that they would like something different — some color added to our Christmas decorations.”

Finding decorations that use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs was discussed.

“Christmas decorations are important to the community even though it costs some money,” said City Administrator Adrian Welle. “Holiday cheer is priceless.”