The city contracts with Oncor Streetlight, which costs $731,497.32 a year in maintenance for 5,604 streetlights, according to city information.
The study approved by council June 24 has a $250,000 price tag.
“It is one of the ongoing, big challenges that we have all the time with the community,” Director of Transportation Gary Hudder said at the council’s packet meeting on June 22. “Street lamps not working, they've been knocked down in an accident, why aren't we coming to fix them, they're not ours to do that.”
Hudder said the expense of the maintenance for the streetlights may be able to be done for far less. However, he added that when the topic has been broached with Oncor, the lighting company wants the city to “buy it all.”
“[This] includes not just the light standard, but every bit of the infrastructure in the ground, the electrical infrastructure, as well,” Hudder said. “It’s millions of dollars that they're suggesting that we pay them to take ownership of the infrastructure.”
The contract for an audit is with Tanko Streetlighting and will provide GPS location of all streetlights in the city, information on what entity owns the lights and what kinds of infrastructure are attached to them above and below ground, Hudder said.
“That's a very first step to eventually potentially bringing back an opportunity for council to consider us actually securing the street lamps for the long term, or otherwise,” he added.
Oncor is also running an audit of the system, and having an audit separate from the one generated by the company, which owns a majority of the streetlights in the city, will allow the city to determine how to proceed.
The study will provide the city with “information to assess the advantage[s] and disadvantages of sole ownership of the system.”
City documents also state the Texas Department of Transportation is seeking to negotiate “turning over all maintenance responsibilities” to the city.
“This audit will also allow the city of Round Rock to negotiate on an actual fixed number of streetlights and the annual fiscal impact to city budget, that are currently believed to be TxDOT controlled,” the packet states.