Carbon County could save about $23,000 a year in electricity costs by upgrading lighting in the courthouse, annex and Susquehanna Street building.

Through grants and rebates, the county would pay only about $15,000 for the $96,000 project. That's on top of the estimated annual energy savings.

The commissioners, at a public meeting Thursday, agreed to apply for a $48,284.34 federal matching grant through the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance to upgrade, retrofit and install energy efficient lighting in the buildings.

The money, through Aug. 31, 2014, would come through the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Commissioner William O'Gurek said the county would get a $33,000 rebate from PPL for the project.

That means that if the county gets the $48,284 grant, matches it dollar-for-dollar, that comes to $96,568.

"We'd get $33,000 back of our $48,284. so it would cost us (about) $15,000," O'Gurek said.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said commissioners were told that they could reduce the number of light bulbs used.

"If we have four bulbs in a lighting fixture, we could probably reduce that to two bulbs. It would be more energy efficient," he said.

Gerhard said the county has a total of 697 lights that would be changed out.

O'Gurek said the new bulbs would be smaller than the current ones, and use less energy.

The county is also embarking on an energy-saving project at the prison. O'Gurek said a rebate is in the works for that project as well.

The project involves interior lighting only, said Commissioners Chairman Wayne Nothstein.

He said a prior energy savings grant the county qualified for fell through after the federal government failed to release the funds in time.

O'Gurek said NEPA is also operating the energy savings program with Schuylkill and Lackawanna counties.

"They've suggested to us that we put an alternate bid in the grant packet specifications, so that if Schuylkill or Lackawanna counties turn back some of that money, we might be able to get more than $48,000," he said. "We're going after whatever we can get."

In other matters Thursday, commissioners approved the 2014-15 Children and Youth Services budget, a total of $4,579,789.

All three commissioners voiced their opinions on the high cost of sending juvenile sex offenders to residential treatment facilities. They mentioned six juvenile sex offenders lodged in such facilities at a cost of almost $600,000.

Commissioners also adopted the PCHIPC agreement/resolution for a health plan for full time county employees, their spouses and dependents.