York County commissioners are mulling a proposal to spend $2.4 million on energy efficiency projects expected to save taxpayers about $237,000 per year in utility payments.
The board is considering making an amendment to an existing contract with Harrisburg-based McClure Company, a firm with which it contracted in 2010 to identify inefficiencies.
The county has already spent about $6.1 million on facilities upgrades, under McClure's guarantee that the company would pay the difference if county coffers didn't save the $380,000 per year McClure said would be saved.
McClure account manager Shayne said the improvements the county has made — including lighting upgrades, insulation and replacement of windows and doors — have exceeded the guaranteed savings by 25 percent.
Under the current proposal, projects include heating and air-conditioning improvements at the county archives building and Emergency Services Center, more interior and exterior lighting upgrades at various facilities, transformer replacement, and repair of a water leak that's causing the York County Prison to gush between four and 35 gallons of water per minute.
County facilities director Scott Cassel said the projects will pay for themselves in 10.2 years at McClure's guaranteed annual savings of $237,418.
Cassel advised the commissioners against two other projects, both at the county's nursing home, that had originally been included in the amendment. The two projects — boiler upgrades and the replacement of single-pane windows with double-pane windows — would've increased the total price from the $2.4 million to $4.1 million.
While the county would save $298,000 on utilities if those projects were included, president county commissioner Steve Chronister said he wasn't impressed with the 20 year payback on the nursing home upgrades.
"It makes sense for 10 years, not 20," Chronister said, adding the county is fixing things that "aren't broke" because commissioners want to save on utilities.
The windows aren't malfunctioning and will continue to serve their purpose, he said.
Chronister said the county has been happy with the work McClure has done "minus the episode at the prison" in November 2012, when 49 female inmates were taken to area hospitals because of a carbon monoxide leak.
McClure took responsibility for the leak, the result of workers failing to properly vent a unit that was pumping heat into a gym and other areas of the prison.
"It was a mistake, and mistakes happen," Chronister said.
Commissioners are expected to approve the amendment at their Wednesday, Feb. 26, meeting. If that's the case, McClure can start working in about two months, Homan said.
— Reach Christina Kauffman at email@example.com.