Commissioners choose ABM to oversee renovations

The first formal step toward having major renovations at the Warren County Courthouse paid out of guaranteed energy savings from those renovations.

The Warren County commissioners unanimously approved ABM to provide the engineering, design, and project management for the renovations.

Here’s what that would look like: ABM would prepare a menu of infrastructure repairs, specifically items such as lighting, HVAC and infrastructure repair projects at the courthouse. The commissioners would select which repairs to move forward with. Those improvements are then guaranteed by the company to result in a certain level of savings. In lieu of conventional debt mechanisms, the commissioners would agree to “pay back” the company solely through the savings realized from the repairs. The end result is financed infrastructure repairs that don’t result in an additional burden to the taxpayer.

ABM could suggest contractors to do the work or work with local contractors selected by the commissioners, Account Executive Tyler Nichols said.

Asked about the possibility of the agreement including some maintenance, Nichols said that is a possibility and could be paid the same way as the renovations or separately. “ABM has franchise partners throughout Pennsylvania, one of whom covers Warren County,” he said. “You could use part of the generated savings to pay for services.”

The renovation timetable is generally short in order to make improvements prior to the county’s bicentennial celebration next year.

Nichols explained that engineering and final design typically takes about 90 days which would mean the county could award the project to a contractor in November or December. That would “give you four to five months to get a lot of that work done prior to the bicentennial celebration.”

The renovations are needed. Glade Township resident Joe Scully credited the commissioners for their efforts. “People don’t realize the equipment that runs this (courthouse) is in bad shape.”

CDBG

The county has received a Community Development Block Grant allocation of $240,207. According to Administrator Lorri Dunlap, applications for CDBG funding will be accepted until Friday, Sept. 7.

CDBG funding may be used for projects that benefit low- and moderate-income persons, address blight, and handle public health emergencies. The dollars often go to infrastructure projects in areas in which a majority of residents are low- to moderate-income.

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