Council bosses look set to spend more than £11m on replacing and repainting lamp posts in Leeds in just one year.
Thousands of lamp posts are being given a lick of paint as part of a £94m Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme.
Leeds City Council is set to spend £11,690,390 between 2012 and 2013 for replacing street lights and maintaining and repainting lighting columns.
More than 82,000 lamps have already been replaced, with 78,000 new street lights installed since July 2006.
The council estimates that a further 650 lamp posts will be replaced between 2012 and 2013.
Coun Barry Anderson (Con, Adel & Wharfedale) questioned whether residents wanted the painting programme.
He said: “It’s a lot of money in the current financial climate. I’m told it has been around £11m per year since the contract was signed.
“I am concerned that the council doesn’t appear to have been able to start getting some significant benefits and reducing down the costs. These lamp posts are new and that means they should need less maintenance to begin with.”
He added: “At the end of the 25-year contract how much will it have cost the tax payer?
“In retrospect, could the council have financed it separately and maybe done it differently? For example, some residents have commented why was there the need to replace every lamp post as they were not all in need of replacement.”
Contractors are painting thousands of lamp posts and road signs in the city’s 76 conservation areas in order to preserve heritage features.
The work is part of a £94m scheme, which started six years ago, that will see up to 80,000 lamp posts in the city uprooted and replaced.
The work, which is being carried out under a Government PFI scheme, is being done by Tay Valley Lighting.
A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said: “As part of our street lighting PFI contract, 80,000 lamp posts across the city are being replaced.
“In conservation areas, new lamp posts are being painted so they are in keeping with their surrounding area.
“It’s a 25-year project and the benefits are energy efficient lights and a better lighting system, which the Government are funding in the most part.”