Voters at town meeting in Mount Desert will be asked to decide whether to invest $150,000 to convert street lights in town to highly efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The conversion also would allow some lights to be controlled remotely so that they could be dimmed during off-peak times but returned to full brightness in an emergency.
Folks on Mount Desert Island take the ability to enjoy the wonders of the night sky very seriously, as evidenced by the affection for our annual Night Sky Festival. In recent years, towns and civic institutions have worked hard to reduce stray light from public fixtures. Street lights, glaring at full power sundown to sunup, now remain one of the major sources of light pollution. While Mount Desert has far fewer than some other communities, converting the light fixtures there would positively impact the overall picture.
Residents of Mount Desert can take the lead, on behalf of all MDI communities, should the expenditure for LED lights be approved.