I listened with interest to the discussion yesterday about the lighting provisions for Christmas (or in my case, Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday). I was delighted you decided to opt for elegant simplicity. You, rightly, examined the budgetary and safety aspects. I would like to point out a consideration that was not raised: trying to do it as green as possible. Decorative street lighting is very power hungry. Obviously a side effect of a simple design is also a reduced power usage but there is more scope to be green (and save money) by choosing the type of the light bulbs, maximizing their spacing (i.e. less points), and the time at night the lights are switched off. I know that carbon offsetting is controversial but it would be in line with many Wendoviran’s expectations.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that you have encountered a known selling technique: pricing a high setup fee for the first year followed by lower ‘maintenance fees’. This is a psychological trick to try and sweeten the blow and to divert attention form other pricing models. I suggest you consider an option of doing this year a small part of the installation, indicating that if all goes well we will add to it in the following years. This has the advantage of both splitting up the ‘set-up’ cost over several years and of keeping the suppliers on their tows. It will also provide an opportunity to gage the response to the scheme and allow for changes (that would otherwise be very costly).
I believe that a project such as this should be coasted based on a 10 year span, and should include the cost of the electricity and the carbon offsetting.