Locked-in electricity rate could save county $14,500

LISBON – Columbiana County commissioners expect to save $14,500 on electricity over the next 12 months after voting at this week’s meeting to take advantage of a locked-in rate.

Commissioners will pay 5 cents per kilowatt hour starting March 1, which represents a 12 percent reduction from the 5.61 cents the county is currently paying for electricity at all of its buildings.

The deal was brokered through a company by the name of Consumer Sales Solutions, which is working with oil-and-gas giant Hess Corp. Commissioner Jim Hoppel said the arrangement costs the county nothing, with CSS presumably being paid a fee by Hess.

“We don’t have to pay anything,” he said.

In other business at this week’s meeting, commissioners:

– Granted pay raises to the 16 non-union employees at the county Department of Job and Family Services (JFS) of either 2 percent or 30 cents.

The raises, recommended by JFS Director Eileen Dray-Bardon, are the first received for staff of administrators since 2010 and are in line with what union employees have received in recent months. Dray-Bardon, who earns $71,593, will be among those receiving a raise.

The 16 will also receive one-time bonuses of $150 and $175, depending on their position. Like the union employees, administrators will also pay 6 percent of their monthly health insurance premiums.

– Signed off on renewal of health insurance coverage for the 49 full-time employees in the county engineer’s office. Hoppel said the new coverage reflects 10 percent increase in monthly premiums, with the total cost to the engineer’s office being $380,080 over the next 12 months. The employees pay 10 percent of the cost of their monthly premium.