Commission will study alternate method to update energy systems for county buildings



Blount County Commission celebrates 2013 litter pickup campaign (total haul: five tons) with People Against a Littered State (PALS). From left: Commissioner Gary Stricklin, Commission Chairman Chris Green, PALS secretary Sue Tidwell, award winner Angela McAvoy ($479 for Mt. High Baptist Youth), first-place award winner Suzanne Shostak ($852 for Trinity Children’s Ministry), Commissioner Carthal Self, Commissioner Allen Armstrong, and PALS president Bob Harvey.

Blount County Commission celebrates 2013 litter pickup campaign (total haul: five tons) with People Against a Littered State (PALS). From left: Commissioner Gary Stricklin, Commission Chairman Chris Green, PALS secretary Sue Tidwell, award winner Angela McAvoy ($479 for Mt. High Baptist Youth), first-place award winner Suzanne Shostak ($852 for Trinity Children’s Ministry), Commissioner Carthal Self, Commissioner Allen Armstrong, and PALS president Bob Harvey.

The Blount County Commission entertained a presentation at last Thursday’s work session from Lathan Associates, a firm specializing in building architecture and mechanical engineering, as an alternate approach to a “performance contract” approach to a comprehensive update of all energy systems in county-owned buildings. The effort is a large-scale approach to replace aging county energy-using systems and reduce repair and maintenance costs which have been increasing steadily in recent years.

The alternative approach would entail a more conventional method of approaching each building on a standalone basis to replace equipment and optimize energy usage, instead of proceding with a “performance contract” approach offered by four other vendors, whereby the amount of energy savings guaranteed by contract are used to finance the purchase of equipment, controls, and optimizing systems used to produce the savings. Included are infrastracture costs of building operation including electrical usage, lights, water, heating and air conditioning, and all other energy-using systems.

The performance contract approach removes or substantially reduces the amount of money that would be required out-of-pocket to update county buildings, many of which are at or beyond the normal service life of their systems. The alternate building-at-a-time method will perhaps reduce the overall cost by put- ting the entire project of updating all county buildings on a conventional, individual project pay-as-you-go basis.

At its regular business meeting Monday, the commission approved a resolution to submit a pre-application for a $100,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant to acquire additional property at Palisades Park. The preapplication is required to meet the May 31 deadline for the application itself. After a false start, the initial motion by District 4 Commissioner Gary Stricklin to pre-apply was withdrawn and District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong’s subsequent motion was substituted. It passed unanimously among the three commissioners voting – Stricklin, Armstrong, and Self.

The substitute motion specified that the commission take no action to purchase property until the Palisades Park Board submits a proposal to provide $50,000 in funding needed to meet the 50 percent match required by the grant, thus relieving the commission of the necessity to provide the grant match directly from commission funds.

The commission set a date of May 30 at 1 p.m. for the public hearing required by the preapplication for the LCWF grant.

Other significant actions
•The commission authorized the
chairman to enter into negotiations with
the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) and utility companies
concerning future ownership of the old
Ala 231 bridge between Cleveland and
Blountsville. An understanding between
involved parties could result in saving
the bridge from demolition.
•The commission approved the recommendation of human resources manager

Christa Reno to direct all worker’s
compensation injuries, pre-employment
physicals and pre-employment drug
screening to St. Vincent’s Occupational
Health Clinic in downtown Birmingham.
Random employee drug screening will
continue to be done locally under existing arrangements. The commission will
work to encourage St. Vincent’s to develop the capability locally to handle all
functions now performed only at its
Birmingham location.
•The commission approved the sale of
.18 acres at the District 2 shop, adjacent
to county road 26, to Oneonta Utilities to
locate a natural gas regulator there. The
price of the parcel is set at $1,048.51,
based on the county appraisal of the
property. Right of county ingress and
egress to county 26 across the property
will be reserved.

In other actions, the commission:
•approved referring the Blount County
Solid Waste Management Plan to the
Solid Waste Authority. The authority will
be asked to make recommendations for
the 10-year update of the plan required
by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
•denied a claim for reimbursement of
back pay from former assistant county
engineer Glenn Peek. Peek had filed a claim
to be paid for the time he served as interim
county engineer following the resignation
of former county engineer Richard
Spraggins; the commission voted unanimously to deny the claim, based on the
idea that Peek was not officially appointed
to serve as interim county engineer.
•approved a tractor and boom cutter
purchase from state bid for District 4 and
authorized the chairman to arrange
financing for $92,036, payable in three
annual payments.
•approved unanimously appointments to three boards:

•John Cates for the at-large appointment to the Blount County Water
Authority board for a term of six years
(reappointment);
•Bobby Mann for the Mt. High appointment to the Blount County Water Authority
for a term of 6 years (reappointment);
•Brandon Horton for the City of
Oneonta appointment to the E-911 board
for a four-year term (reappointment).
•approved a Blount County Correctional Facility employee for family medical leave for the period April 13, 2013, to
May 6, 2013.
•approved a Blount County Correctional Facility employee for catastrophic
leave.
•approved an additional Blount
County Correctional Facility employee
for catastrophic leave.

Budget amendments approved:
•$8,750 to District 2 for repair of storm
damage that occurred at the shop location in April, 2011.
•$5,103 for roof repair to Blount
County Correctional Facility resulting
from recent storm damage.
•$4,971 to Palisades Park for storm
damage.

Engineering items
•approved request from District 1 for
engineering recommendation on maximum speed limit for Graves Gap Way;
recommended speed is 25 mph.
•approved request from District 3 for
engineering recommendation on maximum speed limit for Ragsdale Road; recommended speed is 20 mph.
•approved preliminary plans for
District 1 subdivision Woodbrook Farms,
Sector 1.
•approved truck purchase for engineering department from ALDOT at a
cost of approximately $18,725.
•approved resolutions for third round

of applications for Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement
Program (ATRIP) funds:
1)county road 5 (repaving, striping,
signage, and guardrails for 11.66 miles
from Walker County line to US 31 at
Blount Springs).
2)county road 15 (repaving, striping,
signage, and guardrails for 5.67 miles
from Ala 75 to Ala 79, Locust Fork area).
3)county road 17, Arkadelphia Road
(repaving, striping, signage and guardrails for 3.1 miles from the Jefferson
County line to the Cullman County line,
west of I-65).
4)county road 35 (repaving, striping,
signage, and guardrails for 4.64 miles
from US 278 to the Marshall County line,
McClarty area).
5)county road 47 (repaving, striping,
signage, and guardrails for 7.62 miles
from county road 26 to the Cullman
County line, Mountain Grove area).
6)county road 55 (repaving, striping,
signage, and guardrails for 2.68 miles
from US 231 to the Cullman County line,
northeast of Blountsville).
7)county road 9 (included from previous ATRIP phase); repaving, striping, signage, and guardrails for approximately 5
miles from Ala 160 at Sugar Creek to
Bangor on US 31.

Upcoming commission schedule
•May 30, 1 p.m. commission boardroom: public hearing on Palisades Park
grant application.
•June 6, 9 a.m. commission boardroom: next commission work session.
•June 10, 9 a.m. next commission
business (voting) meeting.
A quorum was present at the May 13
meeting, consisting of Commissioners
Allen Armstrong, Carthal Self, and Gary
Stricklin. Commissioner Dean Calvert
was absent. Commission Chairman
Chris Green presided.