Commission OK’s plans to upgrade buildings

Published 10:18 am Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lawrence County Commission agreed Thursday to hire Perfection Group of Cincinnati to implement energy efficiency improvements at the courthouse and other county buildings.

The improvements, likely to total as much as $900,000, will be paid for through a third-party loan. Last year the Ohio Legislature approved a bill that allows counties to get loans of up to 30 years to pay for energy efficiency measures.

Commissioners believe the amount they will save by making the improvements will more than pay for the debt service on the loan. The county must now decide what changes to make.

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“We need to replace the boiler and the heating and air conditioning system at the courthouse which is probably older than any of us,” Commissioner Jason Stephens said.

“Older than dirt,” Perfection Group’s Rick Anderson agreed.

Also on the list of possible improvements: courthouse lighting, the jail plumbing system and Courthouse windows. The jail plumbing and much of the HVAC at the courthouse are original to their respective buildings.

“This is pretty important,” Commissioner Doug Malone said. “It’s going to cost us a little but it’s something we have to do. The boilers are shot.”

Earlier this year, the commission allowed Perfection Group to perform an energy analysis of the courthouse, the jail and the job and family services building. Perfection Group representatives said they believe the county could save money by making improvements to these three facilities. That entity said the county spends more than $100,000 a year on those three buildings.

In another matter, the prosecutor’s office has advised the commission its perfectly legal for the commissioners to have a Facebook page but that the page is public record and should be treated as such.

Earlier this month the commission discussed creating a Facebook page but wanted a legal opinion about how it would be affected by the state’s open records or sunshine law.

“You have to treat is like it is a letter going out,” Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said.