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County to vote this week on energy-saving projects
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County vote on energy projects

What: The Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote on proposed contracts with Siemens and Pepco for energy-efficiency upgrades

When: 3 p.m. Thursday

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

The Hall County Board of Commissioners will vote Thursday on whether to hire Siemens for energy-efficiency projects now that language in a proposed contract has been clarified.

The board tabled a vote on the contract March 12 when some commissioners were hesitant to move forward without first hashing out financing details and issues related to access, security and scheduling for Siemens to perform the work.

The contract calls on Siemens for a pared-down project involving lighting and water retrofits, as well as heating and air system upgrades, at the government center, courthouse and other buildings.

Those projects would cost about $2.85 million, with annual energy savings recouping costs in a little more than 11 years. The original project proposed by Siemens called for $6.6 million in costs with an estimated $9 million in savings over 15 years, and would have included projects at local fire stations and the county jail.

Though the Board of Commissioners appears to support the contract as now proposed, some reservations remain.

“I’ve got some questions,” Commissioner Scott Gibbs said, adding he wasn’t ready to sign off quite yet.

Commissioner Craig Lutz, meanwhile, said he was likely to support the contract, but would have rather approved the initial project, and associated costs and savings, proposed by Siemens.

Lutz said he believes including additional energy-efficiency projects in the contract is not only necessary, but could save the county money down the road by paying for them out of savings on utility expenses.

Meanwhile, the commission had no discussion about whether to move forward on a contract with Pepco Energy Services for proposed projects that would cost more than $20 million over 15 years with an estimated savings of $39 million.

The projects include lighting retrofits at area libraries and community centers, as well as converting sheriff’s office patrol cars and other county vehicles from diesel and gasoline to compressed natural gas.

Pepco will showcase five of the natural gas cars on Thursday at the Hall County Government Center prior to the board’s vote.

Lutz said discussion about Pepco could be tabled again.

But Chairman Richard Mecum said he’s ready to move on.

“I’ve heard all I want,” he said.

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