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Prison officials look to save on electric bills

Published February 21. 2013 05:03PM

Carbon County prison officials are moving forward in the hopes of saving money on their electric bills at the prison.

During the county prison board meeting on Wednesday, the board again discussed the lighting upgrade proposal submitted by Grainger Lighting Services. The plans call for retrofitting the facility with new, energy efficient light bulbs.

Robert Crampsie, chairman of the prison board and county controller, said that he liked the proposal but wasn't sure on the price tag, which came in at just over $45,000 in initial costs before rebates and just under $35,000 after incentives and rebates. The estimated total annual savings of the project is $22.881.

He asked if the county could bid out the project or if they would need to go with Grainger to do the work.

He was told that they believe, through past conversations, that Grainger is under state contract.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein raised some concerns about previous discussions regarding possibly doing the project in-house to save costs.

Warden Joseph Gross noted that during the initial meeting with Grainger representatives it was brought up that the current fluorescent bulbs are being discontinued and will no longer be available in the future.

After a brief discussion, the board voted to recommend to the county commissioners that they feel the board should move forward with the interior retrofit contract with Grainger, as long as everything in the contract is reviewed by the county solicitor and approved and that it is verified that Grainger is under state contract.

A second proposal to complete the exterior lighting retrofitting is still being created by Grainger and will be submitted to the board for review in the near future, it was reported.

In other matters, the board addressed the following items:

• Frank Shubeck, work release director, updated the board on the work release program. The prison was recently contacted by Kovatch KME, who expressed interest about hiring through the work release program.

Shubeck said that he explained they have a few eligible inmates, but the biggest problem is transportation to and from work sites.

Shubeck said that Kovatch agreed to provide shuttle service for the inmates hired by the company.

• The board voted to recommend to the county commissioners that they move forward with sending out bids for the prison kitchen outsourcing project that has been discussed over the last few months.

• Area resident Glenn Claypoole asked the board if they would ever consider off-site housing for low-risk inmates. He explained this proposal would provide a housing unit where the inmates would live and work and would help cut down on the overcrowding problem the prison is experiencing.

Claypoole added that the housing would be by invitation only through the county and the group.

The board brought up some questions and concerns regarding the proposal, including liability issues and rules and regulations.

• Gross clarified that the county is asking to meet with Kay Kishbaugh, director of inspections with the state Department of Corrections, regarding the prison's annual review. It was reported incorrectly in last month's TIMES NEWS prison board story that the state was asking for the meeting.

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