WORTHINGTON - Energy savings, software updates and land development made the agenda of the Worthington Public Utilities Water & Light Commission meeting Monday afternoon.

WPU General Manager Scott Hain presented a sales report and noted that since LED bulbs were installed in local street lights, the city has been saving energy. Since 2015, electricity consumed by street lights has decreased by 63% and cost by 66%.

Although the initial move to use LED bulbs was expensive, Hain said, the action has been worthwhile over time.

The commission heard from customer service supervisor Vida Iten, who outlined plans to update the software that reads electricity and water meters, as well as the software used for billing. WPU would like to choose a platform that offers a customer portal for ease of use.

Commissioner Chad Nixon explained that he recently attended a meeting with Worthington City Administrator Steve Robinson; Worthington Director of Community Development, Planning, Zoning and Building Service Jason Brisson; and Worthington City Council members Amy Ernst and Chad Cummings. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Dugdale residential property the city has been planning to develop, including potential hidden costs associated with the project.

Everyone present agreed that the development is a need, Nixon reported. He said they kept asking themselves, “If not there, where? If not now, when? If not us, who?” Worthington has a well-established need for affordable housing, and the Dugdale project could meet that need.

Commissioner Gary Hoffman added that city-owned residential developments are becoming the norm in small communities, where big developers who can buy 40 or 50 acres of land are scarce.

A binding decision about whether or not to move forward with the Dugdale development will be made at a joint meeting of city council and the water and light commission at 3:30 p.m. today in city council chambers.