COOPERSTOWN — The Otsego County Board of Representatives is considering a $2 million energy upgrade plan that includes most county facilities.

The representatives heard a proposal Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the county meeting room on the second floor at 197 Main St. from Greg Royer and Brian Murphy, from an Albany area Trane office. The HVAC and building management company is proposing an upgrade to almost all county buildings with the exception of the highway department, a project Royer said will pay for itself in savings in 20 years.

The special presentation was part of the board’s monthly meeting, and it included six energy conservation measures the company said it wanted to address: lighting upgrades to LED, building envelope improvements, automation to control all systems more easily, load control for items which are always plugged in, water conservation efforts and the replacement of the big mechanical items, such as the heating and air conditioning systems.

Public Works Chair Pete Oberacker, R-Decatur, Maryland, Westford, Worcester, told the board that most of the county’s HVAC equipment is, on average, about 50 years old.

“The units are so old, that parts are becoming an issue,” he said, “also, the technician that has that ability becomes harder to find.”

Oberacker said the highway department is being excluded because negotiations are still taking place with other municipalities about a shared services garage and maintenance complex in Milford.

According to Trane’s presentation schedule, if the county approved the measure in January, the project could begin in mid-February and be completed in 3 to 4 months.

Royer said Trane had shopped interest rates to bond the project, and found a low point at 3.59% for a 20-year term.

Royer said the project would return a yearly savings of about $85,000 in energy costs and about $6,600 in maintenance costs.

Oberacker said he was strongly in favor of the upgrades, and he hoped the board will approve the measure next year.

The representatives also discussed the timetable for repairs at the Otsego County Jail, which has been closed since the beginning of November when heavy rains Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 caused leaks and other damage that made it unsafe. The county’s 33 inmates were transferred to jails in Albany and Delaware counties, according to reports from The Daily Star.

The repairs could be done early in 2020, Oberacker said. However, because the New York State Department of Corrections has jurisdiction over county sheriff’s offices, re-opening the jail will require state approval, which could delay the process.

Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at gklein@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7218.

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