Jefferson County commissioners were right last week to insist that a project to save the county money on energy expenses must, well, save the county money.
County officials spent weeks discussing the proposal with Johnson Controls. In the end, they removed some items from the project and agreed to a plan whereby savings must outweigh spending on the project - or Johnson Controls makes up the difference. Such a contract will require regular monitoring over the 17-year life of the agreement.
It is expected $1.3 million in energy expenses will be eliminated by the program, which is to be financed with a low-interest loan from the state.
Too often, "green" programs cost taxpayers huge amounts of money up front, with little or no guarantee they will result in long-term savings. Jefferson County commissioners were right to view the current proposal skeptically and to alter the contract to ensure it results in additional "green" in county coffers.