Three Carbon County offices will soon be getting a lighting update.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board discussed a letter it received from Jeffrey K. Box, president and CEO of Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance, stating that the county's proposed energy efficient lighting upgrade project has been approved for funding. The project covers lighting updates in the courthouse, courthouse annex and the 76 Susquehanna St. building.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that the county is attempting to provide better lighting with reduced consumption.

He noted that the project calls for replacing all of the fluorescent lights in the buildings and replacing them with relight kits, which increase efficiency of the lights by about 85 percent, but cuts the consumption and costs. The total cost of the project will be approximately $103,000, with $46,667 of that coming from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant; and $56,667 coming from the county.

O'Gurek added that it has been indicated by NEPA that the county will also be able to recover $21,000 of that cost through Pennsylvania Act 129 rebates that are available through PPL.

"We think this is a win-win," he said. "GreenPointe.Energy (the company contracted as the county's energy consultant) has projected that we will save $24,000 in energy consumption by changing over the lights."

Carbon officials have been working on this project for nearly two years, but have held off on moving forward after NEPA officials indicated that there was economic stimulus money available for these types of projects. The county then applied for funding and now has the green light to move forward with this changeover.

In other matters, the commissioners approved the county's health plan summary description.

O'Gurek said that there are no major changes to the plan.

"We will continue to provide benefits to county employees' health care at a cost that exceeds $3 million," he said, noting that the plan is administered by First Priority Life, which qualifies the county for Blue Cross discounts.

O'Gurek outlined some of the plan, including that employees pay $12.50 for themselves and $22.50 for themselves and a spouse a month. Deductibles will remain $250.

"It's a nice service that we are able to provide," O'Gurek said, "What the employees will be receiving we think is attractive."

He added that the county budgets $548 per employee per month or $1,100 for employee and spouse.

Last year, a total of $3,063,000 in medical coverage benefits were paid, including two claims that each exceeded $200,000.