By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

Rick Higginbotham, a representative from ABM, a facility management service provider, pitched an energy efficiency presentation to the BOE to save money spent on ever-rising energy costs on July 21 at their monthly meeting. ABM conducted a preliminary financial analysis to estimate the savings for the Morgan County School if they were to obtain a 15-year lease through their company to purchase state-of-the-art energy efficient equipment. According to Higginbotham, the lease would yield $371,831 in savings per year, for a total estimated savings of $4.83 million in energy and operating efficiency improvements.

“I am interested in saving money wherever we can,” said Nelson Hale, chairman of the BOE. Libby Whitaker, the financial officer for the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE), informed the BOE that energy costs was the only area of expenditures that exceeded the BOE’s budget, by $44,000. “Expenditures over all look good, but energy cost went over budget,” said Whitaker. Higginbotham explained how ABM works with various school systems to yield big savings. “We create ways to meet critical facility needs without increasing taxpayer burden,” said Higginbotham. “What AMB does is focus on HVAC, lighting and controls, with no upfront cost to the school system. We help the school get a long-term equipment lease at low interest rates…The school gets all the new efficient energy equipment all at once and pays for it over a 15-year-span.” “Resource demands continue to rise and revenues continue to decrease, what ABM does is help fund those gaps,” explained Higginbotham. The BOE is considering ABM’s offer, but will first vet comparable companies to ensure ABM offers the best deal. “We are looking at a significant opportunity to really impact the learning environment, to provide opportunities for funds currently being used on energy to be used on education instead,” said Higginbotham.