Utilities looks into energy savings grant

By Matt Lasley mlasley@civitasmedia.com

February 7, 2014

The Leitchfield Utilities Commission decided to move forward with exploring whether to apply for an energy savings grant.

City Utilities Superintendent Kevin Pharis reported during the Thursday, Feb. 6 Utilities Commission meeting that the “first hurtle” in the grant process had been cleared, and the next step would be to permit City Attorney David Vickery to review requests for proposals to advertise.

The Utilities would then have the opportunity to participate in an in-depth study to determine whether the grant of up to $100,000 would save money on proposed energy savings projects.

Utilities Chairman Robert Crawford expressed concern about whether moving forward with the grant application might commit the Utilities to projects that are estimated to cost more than $3 million.

“We’re talking about borrowing $3 million,” Crawford said.

Pharis assured the Utilities Commission that to move forward and allow Vickery to review proposals would not obligate the Utilities to commit to applying for the grant, and that any obligation on the Utilities’ behalf would not arise for a number of months.

Pharis also said a number of the energy savings projects will have to be done regardless of whether the Utilities apply for the grant.

“We need to save as much energy as we can,” said Pharis, who gave an example of an energy saving endeavour in the water system’s lagoons.

“They run on 17.40 horsepower mixers, but could run on 9,” he said.

After the discussion, the Utilities Commission decided to permit Vickery to review the proposals.

In other business:

*Crawford presented the 2nd Quarter Budget Report for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year.

*Crawford congratulated Utilities Commissioner Alden Alley on his re-appointment to the Utilities Commission for the March 2014-March 2018 term by the Leitchfield City Council.

*The Utilities Commission passed a motion to remove recently retired City employee Betty Elmore from the Bank Signatures and add new Accounts Receivable Clerk Christy Higdon and City Clerk/Treasurer Kim Sowders to the Bank Signatures.

*Crawford read a card from Congressman Brett Guthrie and addressed to Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason, the Leitchfield City Council, Crawford, and the Utilities expressing gratitude for flowers sent on behalf of Guthrie’s mother who recently passed away.