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The New York Power Authority has recommended a $941,993 project to improve energy efficiency at 10 county-owned buildings.

The County Legislature's Public Works Committee last week agreed to let the Power Authority proceed to the design phase of the work, which would be paid for through a Power Authority loan to the county. Public Works Commissioner Dorson R. Wilson said the county would be paying the Power Authority about $9,500 a month for 10 years to repay the loan.

But he added, "Implementing these measures would save the county $125,000 a year in energy costs. . . . What we end up with is a $900-a-month positive cash flow."

James E. Bejarano, a conservation engineer at the Power Authority's Niagara Power Project, said the county is not committed to the project until it tells the authority to offer the work to contractors for bids.

The contractors would be chosen by the Power Authority, but Bejarano said it is up to Wilson to approve specifications for material and labor before the contracts are bid.

Once he does that, formal requests for proposals will be mailed to contractors. When they are returned, the county has to make the final decision.

The work would include new lighting at all the affected buildings. They include the Courthouse, Civil Defense Building, Brooks Building, Shaw Building, Davison Road complex, Mount View Health Facility and Highway Department garage in Lockport; the Civic Building and Human Resources Building in Niagara Falls; and the County Building in North Tonawanda.

There would be boiler control upgrades at the Courthouse, Brooks and Civic buildings and at the Switzer Building at the Davison Road site; a new boiler at Civil Defense; a heating system improvement at the highway garage; and new air-conditioning units at the Brooks and Switzer buildings.

The highest price tag for an individual building is estimated to be $159,991 for the Courthouse. The lowest estimate is $44,249 for the Human Resources Building.

Wendel Engineers -- the proposed design firm -- will collect a fee of $84,690, Bejarano said. The Power Authority will keep a fee of $88,391 and supply construction inspectors and managers. The rest of the money goes to the contractors.

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