Part of the “Energy Savings Performance Contract” program initiated at the state level, the project was designed to have its financing paid for by energy savings.
When Johnson Controls, one of 15 state-approved contractors in the program, reported that the savings were only going to be $800,000 — not the $1.2 million initially projected — it appeared that the project was dead in the water.
“Last summer it came off the rails,” said County Manager Kevin Patterson during Monday’s meeting of the Scotland County Board of Commissioners.
“Then we were pleasantly surprised when, during a meeting the week before Christmas, Johnson Controls reported that they found additional savings.”
Thanks to Johnson Controls’ revised report to the county, it is projected that the project can now be financed with an additional $400 in excess energy savings.
“It’s really rather amazing when you consider you are talking about a million dollar project that there (is a $400 margin).”
Board Chairman Guy McCook said that the county is benefiting from being one of the first counties to apply to the project.
“All the risk is with the third party company. That’s why we were a little bit surprised that with only $400 cash flow they are still willing to move forward. We were one of the first counties in the state … and I think Johnson Controls is trying to stay in the good graces of the Local Governments Commission and use us as a guinea pig.
“This will be a big benefit to the county,” McCook said.
The $1.2 million savings would occur over 15 years and was initially expected to begin during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The HVAC and lighting upgrades would take place in the main county governmental building as well as the court house, the Department of Social Services and the Scotland County Annex.
The commissioners expect to reconvene on Jan. 22 to discuss the Johnson Controls contract after the proposal is examined in committee.
That Jan. 22 meeting is a joint meeting with the Health Department and the Department of Social Services organized to discuss the formation of a Human Services Committee.
Formation of a Human Services Committee was recently approved by the state, and Patterson said that the joint meeting will help define such a committee in Scotland County.
Patterson also expects discussion to focus on the coordination of services between the health department and DSS.