Weather Forecast


County's energy audit warrants more discussion

WORTHINGTON -- Representatives from Energy Service Group (ESG), who have been working with Nobles County for nearly a year on an energy audit, said the county could see an annual savings of $103,000 by making changes in building control systems, using energy-efficient lighting, installing water and sewer conservation processes and improving seals around window and door frames.

Rob Brown of ESG presented the report during Tuesday's board meeting. He said the county could use the cost savings to avoid going to the "taxpayers for any additional dollars."

The concern among commissioners, however, was what it would cost the county to implement the ideas outlined in the report.

Brown said doing all of the projects would cost the county $1,975,165, with rebates totaling $42,000.

Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr., reaching for a calculator in his suit coat pocket, did the math.

"It shows 19 years before the changes pay off," Demuth said.

"One-point-nine million is a lot of money," added Commissioner Diane Thier.

Thier, along with Commissioner Marv Zylstra, worked with ESG on the audit. Zylstra said the goal was to identify projects thought to be higher priorities.

"We thought there'd be more substantial savings," he said.

When the county agreed to work with ESG on the energy audit, it was decided that the cost of the analysis would be included in the implementation plan if the county decided to move forward with the work. If it chose not to work with ESG, the county would have to pay the company $20,833.

Commissioners chose to table a decision on the recommendation until they have had a chance to more thoroughly read the report.

In other action, the board:

* Approved a $257,324 contract with Traffic Marking Services for pavement marking in Nobles, Rock and Jackson counties and the city of Worthington for 2011. The accepted bid represents about a 20 percent increase in costs over last year.

* Approved a request from Sheriff Kent Wilkening to hire three part-time deputies to work on an as-needed basis in boat and water patrol, as well as to fill in for full-time deputies during vacations. Wilkening will advertise the positions at a flat rate of $18 per hour.

* Approved a joint powers agreement between the county and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. There is no cost to the county for this partnership, which offers state resources and access to their investigator for internet crimes cases.

* Approved annual appropriations of $1,000 for the Civil Air Patrol, $1,000 to the Southwest Crisis Center and $3,825 to the Southwest Initiative Foundation.

* Learned that after altering the level of experience required and re-advertising for the Nobles County Library Director position, the county received 20 applications. Eight of those applicants will be interviewed on Friday.

* Approved vacating a drainage easement located on private property along Rowe Avenue. The city has been managing the easement, which will be relocated to provide for development of the parcel.

* Appointed Nobles County Emergency Management Director Emily Cenzano to serve as the alternate to Wilkening on the Regional Radio Board's advisory committee.

* Appointed Rita Domagalla to a three-year term on the Nobles County Library Board.

* Appointed Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr. to the Southwest Emergency Medical Services Board.

* Appointed Commissioners Demuth and Vern Leistico to the county budget committee.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330