Commissioners hear about energy savings

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners learned of a program that will assist in energy savings at the regular meeting held on Monday, June 29. Oliver E. Nelson, of Energy Systems Group, a subsidiary of Vectrin, explained how the company will examine the buildings, heating and cooling systems, and utility bills to determine if the county is as energy efficient as possible.

According to Nelson, savings can be realized on service contracts and simple changes such as changing the type of light bulb used. Also, Energy Systems Group will make suggestions for upgrades.

If the suggested upgrades are installed, the county will have up to 20 years to pay for them, with the guarantee the cost of the project will not increase without commissioner approval. Nelson also explained that if the county does not see any savings, the company will pay that amount.
The Energy Systems Group has worked with area schools and county governments, according to Nelson, and has 255 customers in 22 states. The motion to take the energy savings program under advisement was unanimous.

Ron May, Aecon, updated the commissioners on the Bridge #38 project. He noted the bridge, located on Michigan Road, is not eligible for federal aid. He recommended that the commissioners do nothing at the present time. According to Commissioner Rob Reiners, the Bridge #38 project plans include building a bridge that by-passes the stone arch bridge in order to ensure vehicle safety.

May also thanked the residents of Ripley County and the emergency personnel for their assistance during a recent accident. According to May, he fell while performing a routine bridge inspection near Holton resulting in a crushed vertebra. A passer-by stopped to give assistance and called 911. “The emergency crew was excellent,” said May. “Everyone who helped me was super.”

Ripley County Surveyor Jeff French presented a petition filed by Evelyn Smith against Michael Webb, both of Pierceville, concerning the removal of an obstruction in a drain. According to French, several blockages in the small creek on the Webb property are causing severe flooding on the Smith property. French advised the commissioners to look at the property before making a decision on the issue.

In other business:

• The motion to sign the memorandum of understanding and emergency response plan from the county health department was unanimous. This is customary to update with the signatures of the new commissioners, according to Wayne Peace, health department employee.

• The motion to adopt the GIS agreement with Tyler Assessment, which will allow the assessment company to use the mapping program, was unanimously approved.

All commissioners were in attendance along with Ripley County Auditor Mary Ann McCoy and county attorney Neil Comer to advise. The next meeting will be held on Monday, July 13 beginning at 7 a.m. at the Ripley County Highway Garage in Osgood and reconvening at 8 a.m. at the courthouse annex.