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Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 2:04 a.m.

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Pulaski County JPs back rule to spend $1M on buildings' plan

By Emma Pettit

This article was published July 11, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

Pulaski County's legislative body supported spending about $1 million over the next five years to finish transforming county buildings into energy efficient facilities.

On Tuesday, the 13 present members of the county's 15-member Quorum Court voted unanimously to back an ordinance that would finance the final leg of the project. To pass, the ordinance needs to be approved at the July 24 meeting.

In August of last year, Pulaski County entered into a nearly $5 million contract with Entegrity Energy Partners LLC to revamp old facilities, replace lighting and water fixtures and undergo other environmentally friendly renovations. The Quorum Court previously appropriated about $4 million toward the endeavor.

Upgrades were made, or are being made, to some 40 county-owned buildings on 14 different campuses, county attorney Adam Fogleman said. Among the improvements is the addition of low flow faucets, shower heads and toilets and better air conditioning systems at the jail and the circuit courthouse.

To finance the project, Pulaski County took advantage of the Arkansas Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Act. The law requires the county's contract with Entegrity to be budget neutral, which means the utility savings Pulaski County will eventually reap exceeds the $5 million price tag.

"It pays for itself," Fogleman told the Quorum Court.

The county can't gauge how much money has been saved, yet, because there's still work being done, Comptroller Mike Hutchens said. Once the renovations are completed in the next 45 days or so, the county can take some measurements, he said.

Plus, Hutchens added, the savings are guaranteed under the terms of the contract. Entegrity will monitor energy and water use for a few years after the renovations are finished.

The project is almost finished. Tuesday's ordinance, if passed by the full Quorum Court, would finance the remainder of the work.

Basically, Fogleman explained, the ordinance allows Pulaski County to issue debt, which the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission would buy. The county would then pay that amount back, with a low interest rate, over a five year period.

Under the payment schedule provided by Fogleman, Pulaski County would dole out a payment of $200,451 on June 1, 2019. Then, the county would pay $205,786 every June for the following four years.

In total, the county would pay $1,023,595 with the last payment being made in June 2023.

The deal "sounds like a green green win," Quorum Court member Phil Stowers said.

Metro on 07/11/2018

Print Headline: JPs back rule to spend $1M on buildings' plan

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