Last updated: July 18. 2013 7:27PM - 392 Views
Chad Abshire
Civitas News Service

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PIKEVILLE – Because of a shortfall in Pike County’s budget, an economic recession and dwindling coal severance tax receipts, the Pike County government is looking at ways to save money.

“We have been looking for a long time to reduce our long-term energy costs,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “We had dealt with two companies — Ameresco and Energy Systems Group — but neither could supply the fiscal court with complete verification with savings and shelter for the county government if there were to be a shortfall after the first year.”

However, at its Dec. 18 meeting, the Pike County Fiscal Court adopted an energy savings plan proposed by Perfection Group, set for 16 years.

Terry Rogers, Pike County Maintenance Engineer, said the project would include both large and small energy saving measures.

“This project will be everything from basic lighting controls to sophisticated cogeneration plants at all three county courthouses,” he said. “The same measures will be taken at all the county’s fire departments, senior centers and community centers.”

Rutherford said the county government requested a proposal for the identification, design and implementation of energy-efficient components with a guaranteed performance contract detailing the savings.

“We plan to reduce energy costs and improve maintenance and operation of Pike County facilities that in the end will produce capital funds,” Rutherford said. “We are looking at every avenue we can to save money.”

Reducing energy costs will be a major undertaking by the county government in an attempt to cut costs. The golf course is under a new management agreement and the fiscal court recently agreed to refinance the county’s outstanding bonds on the Hall of Justice, which will save the county approximately $330,000 a year total.

Pike County officials had been in contact with the National Association of Energy Saving Companies in search of a company with enough technical and managerial competence to develop and implement a comprehensive energy efficient program for the Pike County Government. They eventually found Perfection Group.

Rhonda James, Pike County Finance Director, worked with Lexington-based Perfection Group to create an energy-saving proposal, which was presented to the court on several occasions.

“With the decreasing coal severance tax funds and continued slow economy, the county has to look at other revenue streams and try to save money wherever and whenever we can,” James said. “The energy-saving project is an idea for saving money in the long term, which is what we have to do to recover from this financial slump — look at the long term.”

The court voted unanimously to adopt Perfection Group’s proposal, with District 6 Magistrate Chris Harris abstaining from the vote and District 5 Magistrate Hilman Dotson voting yes, but with some reservations.

“I still have reservations on some of the issues,” Dotson said. “I hope we can do it; I think it’s a good thing but I kind of have my doubts about some things.”

The proposal contained guaranteed annual savings and a guarantee that the county would not be responsible for any shortfall. A savings estimate showed a guaranteed possible yearly savings of nearly $132,000 the first year and more than $231,000 in the twentieth year under an energy management agreement.

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