The Alachua County Jail Is Going Green
It won't solve the ongoing battle over the Alachua County Sheriff's budget, but County Commissioners freed up extra money today to make the jail more energy efficient.
This morning they approved the money to pay for employees of the facilities division to help with the project.
County leaders believe the investment will save a lot more money than they spend.
Commissioners pulled $150,000 out of the county reserve fund to pay for administrative costs in running the over 8 million dollars in modification projects that have already been approved and funded at the jail.
According to Alachua County Facilities Manager, Charlie Jackson, the money will help administer projects like the new foam roof, solar panel installation and kitchen and laundry renovations.
The newly funded positions are designed to take the burden of working with outside contractors off of the regular jail staff.
Jackson said, "We're building new buildings and with the economy the way it is today, we are going to push to maintain our current infrastructure and what we're introducing is a new era, an era of "green" in county's existing buildings."
The faulty windows at the jail that Sheriff Sadie Darnell brought up during budget discussions will also be replaced as a part of this project.
The Sheriff said she's glad the county is addressing these issues at the jail, but that it doesn't affect her budget concerns.
Charlie Jackson said that making the jail more energy efficient will create a savings of $500,000 to $600,000 each year in utility costs. And if his predictions prove to be true in the long run, that will be a significant return on investment for Alachua County.
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