County to workers: Turn off lights

Published 12:02 am Friday, January 11, 2013

Commissioners voted Thursday to have employees “turn the lights off and adjust the thermostat before leaving each day” as an another step in their cost-cutting efforts.

“You would have thought we’d have already done something like this,” said county maintenance supervisor Kevin Kennedy when presenting his resolution implementing an energy conservation operating procedure for county buildings. “Basically, we’re asking employees to treat their offices just like they do their home. Control the thermostat and turn the lights off when you leave at night.”

Kennedy said department heads or those over the county-owned building would be tasked with enforcing the measure.

“I’ve gone in offices at night and lights are blazing, and I’ve gone in offices in the morning and air conditions would be locked up because they were running wide open all night long,” he said. “This is a simple way to save money. Basically, it says that all electronic devices – lights, televisions, radios and such – would be turned off when not in use and that thermostats would be turned off on weekends except in case of extreme temperatures.”

Probate Ben Bowden, who was in attendance at the night’s meeting, said his office would have no problem enforcing the new procedure.

Additionally, commissioners began the process of closing the bridge on Pigeon Creek Road, voting to hold a public hearing on the proposed closure on March 12.

Not much discussion was held on how the project would be accomplished or when, but Commissioner Carl Turman said residents should be aware the commission is not discussing closing the road, only the bridge.

“This is not a next-day process,” Engineer Darren Capps said of the closure. “It will take some time and planning.”

Commissioners agreed the closing the bridge is the best decision since it would cost an estimated $2.5 million to replace.

Capps said there are five landowners who would be affected by the closure, and by holding the public hearing in March, it would give ample time to determine an alternate route for travelers.

In other business, the commission:

• awarded a three-month joint bid to the Florala and Andalusia Farmer’s Co-Ops for feed and seed;

• tabled the discussion on removing the 68-acre “ball field property” located behind the Kiwanis Center from the market;

• appointed Carl Turman to serve on the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning and Development and Development Commission;

• voted to participate in the 2013 severe weather preparedness tax holiday; and,

• signed an agreement with the state department of transportation for a $47,000 sign replacement grant. The 10 percent match project will replace road signs on state and federal highways in the west part of the county and in some places of the south central part of the county, Capps said.