During Monday's meeting of the Clay County Commissioners, Business Development Manager Ryan Dillard of the Perfection Group, Indianapolis, introduced a proposal in which his company would assess buildings owned by the county and determine how they compare to Energy Star standards.
"The analysis and assessment of energy output would be at no cost to the county," Dillard said. "We not only look at the buildings themselves, but at the utility bills from the past 24 months."
Dillard added if after the assessment is completed, the commissioners would then choose whether or not to move forward with any potential suggested projects. If a project is chosen, it would then be put through the standard bidding process for work.
"We would put in a bid ourselves for the work," he said. "Other than the time component to provide us with the billing information, the county would not have to incur any costs unless we do the actual work because there is no reason to charge for an assessment that may not find anything to work on."
Dillard said his company has competed projects in Boone and Tipton counties and are currently conducting analysis in Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Benton counties. If the commissioners chose to move forward with the "Energy audit," it would take a little less than a month to complete.
With Monday being the first time the commissioners had heard about the program, they decided to take the matter under advisement to discuss it further and plan to make a decision at a later date.
Meanwhile, the commissioners heard a separate proposal for a new Posey Volunteer Fire Department firehouse.
Matthew Reed, community leader working with the department, informed the commissioners funding is being sought through two separate avenues.
"Right now we are considering applying for a grant through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA)," Reed said. "However, before we can apply, we must do an income survey of the Staunton area to determine if we qualify."
He said to qualify for grant funding, the area must have a minimum of 51 percent of the residents fall into the low- or middle-income range.
"Right now, it is just informational because we're not sure if we are going to be eligible to apply for the grant," Reed said. "However, because it would be federal funds, the county would have to act as the lead and the department would be the sub-recipient."
Reed also said there is approximately $210 million available as part of the stimulus package specifically for the building of firehouses, and if the grant option falls through, the department would most likely attempt to secure some of those funds through the firefighter assistance grant program.
"There is a need for us because with the specifications for the fire trucks, the current station only has about a half-inch clearance from the top of the truck to the garage," he said. "We have property available for a new fire house and our early plans are designing it for not just now, but for how things could change in the future."
Other business during Monday's meeting of the Clay County Commissioners included:
* Approving two grants from the Department of Homeland Security as presented by Clay County Emergency Management Director Bryan Husband. The first is a salary reimbursement of $13,983.75, which is half of Husband's compensation and an annual occurrence. The second is a grant of $120,000 for the District 7 coordinator and fire marshal's Hazmat response units to pay for radiation detection equipment and other training exercises,
* Approval of a software lease of personal property assessment equipment from Assessment Software Solutions, Inc. (AS2), Noblesville, for the Clay County Assessor's Office. The lease is for $7,650 and includes a $3,500 annual maintenance agreement, which the first payment is not due until 2010. The Clay County Council approved additional appropriations during its meeting Monday night to cover the cost of the lease and maintenance,
* Clay County Public Health Nurse Diane Dierks introduced Vicki Frees as the health department's new Local Public Health Committee Coordinator. Dierks said Frees would be in charge of organizing health emergency plans and drills and the county must conduct a drill by no later than August, and
* Preliminarily approved $200 in funding for the purchase of new trees, which could be placed along Briley Ditch, located on County Road 500 West, about a half-mile south of State Road 246. Consultant Randy Staley said the survival rate of the trees planted in June 2007 was 80-90 percent on the south side of the ditch, but less than 50 percent on the north side. Staley added he will be meeting with the district forester to determine a plan of action for the area.
The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be Monday, May 4, at 9 a.m., in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.