Utility upgrade proposal right kind of thinking

Published 10:03 pm Monday, October 20, 2003

By Staff
Making do with less is a familiar theme to anyone who's been following the news in the pages of the Brewton Standard and elsewhere recently. The statewide budget crunch that's caused funding for government services to be slashed has everyone scrambling for ways to save money, both now and in the years to come. And the "years to come" part of those savings plans are very important, as funding from the state is likely to get even leaner before it again approaches it pre-shortfall levels.
With most governmental entities across the state and here in Escambia County having to cut left and right to make ends meet, there hasn't been a lot of talk about upgrades or improvements to existing services or facilities. That's what made last week's announcement by the County Commission that they were looking into purchasing new heating, cooling and lighting equipment for some county buildings a bit odd, at least on its surface.
But the commission is doing a good thing by pursuing the proposal that's been put forth by Southern Energy Solutions, which may allow the county to replace aging utility equipment, and pay for the upgrades over the next 10 years with the savings realized from having more energy efficient units in place. In effect, it would allow the county to carry out a significant improvement project without requiring additional revenue be poured into the buildings involved.
The proposal, which includes new equipment for the courthouse, the courthouse annex and the jail, is still in its infant stages, and commission is in the process of studying the idea in more detail.
But whether this eventually works out for the county or not, the spirit behind it is right, and well-suited to the these trying times.

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