City of Fort Smith seeks to cut energy budget by 10%

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 49 views 

The Fort Smith Board of Directors has asked city staff to put a dent in the more than $5 million the city spends each year on energy.

Urged at a previous meeting by City Director Gary Campbell, the board approved on Tuesday (June 23) a resolution committing the city staff to seek “a significant reduction in its expenses for electricity, natural gas and motor fuels in city operations.”

Deputy City Administrator Ray Gosack told the board that a modest goal of a 10% reduction would save the city $500,000 a year, and said the staff would prepare a plan of action and present recommendations to the board.

In 2008, the city spent the following on energy:
Gasoline & diesel: $1,462,200
Electricity: $3,170,038
Natural gas: $341,921
Propane: $34,658
Butane: $19,581

Gosack said the city is eligible to receive $870,000 in federal stimulus funds for energy savings projects, with $300,000 of that directed to conversion of traffic signals to LED bulbs. The LED bulbs, according to a memo from Gosack, use one-fifth the electricity of standard bulbs, have a longer life and are easier to see. The city has installed LED bulbs in 81 of its 143 “signalized intersections.”

“We’ll undertake a facilities energy audit to determine how to spend the remaining economic stimulus funds,” Gosack noted in the memo. “A supplemental application will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy once we determine which building improvements will give us the greatest energy cost savings.”