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INDIANA: Borough council agrees to pursue audit aimed at energy efficiency

by on August 07, 2013 11:00 AM

Indiana Borough council is moving ahead with a plan to use new technologies to cut the borough’s utility bills.

Council on Tuesday agreed to issue a letter of intent to have Constellation Energy Group, an energy services company also known as an ESCo, perform an investment grade audit as the next step in developing an energy conservation plan for the borough.

The audit will identify improvements that can be made to the Community Center Building and other borough-owned buildings to make them more energy-efficient.

Joe Hudak, a Constellation senior business development manager, told council last month the borough spends about $405,000 annually on electricity, natural gas, water/sewage bills, street lights and operating the sewer treatment plant. His company’s preliminary research projects that energy efficiency improvements could yield up to a 30 percent savings, allowing the borough to tackle improvements worth $750,000 to $1 million. Those improvements could be paid for through a loan, and the loan would be retired in about 15 years through the annual savings realized by the new technologies.

The audit is expected to take about three months to complete.

Council approved a change to the improvements now being made along North Seventh Street as part of the ongoing streetscape enhancements in the downtown. Under the change, the pavement on the vehicle lanes on North Seventh between Philadelphia Street and Nixon Avenue — an area being developed with a plaza-like appearance where festivals, concerts and similar events can be held — will have stamped asphalt. The stamped asphalt will be imprinted and colored to resemble bricks.

North Seventh Street enhancements will also include new sidewalks with real brick inlays, new street curbs and gutters, decorative lighting, new trees and the erection of the IRMC Arch over the entrance to North Seventh at Philadelphia Street.

On the recommendation of borough manager Bill Sutton, council agreed to name borough code enforcement officer Otto Peterson as the borough’s interim director of code and zoning, increasing his salary to $37,995 while he holds that temporary title.

Council also hired Dana Turgeon as a part-time code enforcement officer at $11.80 per hour. Turgeon’s main duty will be to patrol the borough looking for and acting on code and zoning violations.

Councilman Peter Broad, chairman of the Shade Tree Committee, reminded borough residents and business owners they need a permit before pruning any borough-owned trees between the street curbs and sidewalks.

And Mayor George Hood invited borough residents to attend and participate in a Community Open Forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Jimmy Stewart Museum in the Community Center Building. Hood and Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Michael Driscoll will host the forum, discuss university-borough relationships and answer questions from the public.

Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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