Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2004

Schools starts energy project

July 1, 2004

The Basehor-Linwood School District will shoulder lower energy bills and benefit from a series of building upgrades, thanks to action Monday morning that approved the sale of $1.5 million in bonds.

The district opted to authorize the sale of $1,527,995.82 in bonds to cover the cost of an energy program with TAC, Don Swartz, district executive director of business and facilities, said Tuesday. The move, which did not require an election and will not require an increase in taxes, will cost the district an estimated $103,000 in annual payments. Swartz said $39,000 in payments will come from energy savings that TAC has guaranteed and roughly $64,000 will come from the district's capital outlay fund.

"It was a smart way to package a lot of programs into one project and do it all at once," he said. "We will be able to pay for it with our savings and there is no tax increase. It is really a win-win."

Swartz said school officials were also pleased because the district was able to lock in lower financing rates for the bonds than two other districts that applied for financing on the same day.

The program will begin immediately and will take place over a roughly nine-month period. Swartz said the program will include lighting upgrades at each building, except for Glenwood Ridge Elementary and parts of the high school that already have new lights, and remote monitors and controls for heating and cooling units in the buildings. The benefits and savings will likely begin to be noticed as soon as work begins and increase throughout the duration of the process, he said.

"This is not just about turning the lights out at night," Swartz said. "There is a lot more to it than that and we will be able to monitor it. We will be using fewer kilowatt hours each year."

District officials have been considering the program since late last summer and many steps in the process were performed by TAC at no cost to the district. Part of the agreement stipulates that TAC will reimburse the district for any discrepancy between the guaranteed savings figure and any actual savings the district realizes, Swartz said.

"This will start generating savings as soon as we change the lighting," he said. "We will realize the whole $39,000 or more once it is all done. As each piece falls into place the savings will increase in increments."

TAC is one of four companies that are authorized by the state to enter into such agreements with schools for the purposes of energy savings, he said. One other company, Chevron Environmental, also supplied bids to the district.

Many of the projects that the district will be able to roll over to the TAC project were a part of the last failed bond issue and would have been carried out ultimately in any event, Swartz said.

"It enables us to take more than $1 million out of any future bond issue that we may come up with," he said.

In other district news, the School Board accepted the resignation of Paul Brown, former high school football coach and physical education instructor. The board also approved the annual closeout of the general fund.

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