LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The City of Lawton is hoping to save money through a new energy savings plan. In turn, they hope to use the money they saved to fund other projects around the city.
Under the plan the city will add LED exterior lighting to City Hall, and several other places including the Public Library, Public Work facilities, city fire stations, and Elmer Thomas Park. The plan also includes some much-needed upgrades to the phone system at all city offices and the city's computer systems.
The city has a 15 year agreement with Bank Of America. At the city's last council meeting, the city approved borrowing 2.8 million dollars from the bank for this plan.The money saved through the energy savings plan will not only pay for the loan, but will ultimately save money for the city. Councilman said this plan is great because it won't cost the citizens anything.
Ward 8 city councilman Doug Wells said some of the city's computer system is more than 20 years old. Wells said the city currently has about 37 servers they use to store data. But they will downsize that number to about 20 or 21, reducing energy costs.
"We won't need as much data storage because we are going to go to the Cloud which is nothing more than a large server firm, it will all be encrypted secured data that only we will have access to", Wells said.
And Wells said the cities phone system will also be upgraded. The city currently has an agreement with AT&T that is all based on landlines that they have used for the past 25 years. Wells said the new phone system will allow you to use the internet to make calls, saving money on long distance charges.
"You can hold video conferences and stuff over the internet with voice over IP which you couldn't do easily on landlines its just a better system for communications and today's technology," said Wells.
And these aren't the only upgrades, Wells said all of the city buildings with parking lots have really old technology. They use old fluorescent or high energy use light bulbs to keep them lit....Wells says upgrading to LED lights will further help save money.
"They will be much brighter and 90 percent less electricity to light them so there will be a savings in the utility cost of lighting your parking lot," said Wells.
While the project is initially costing the city 2.8 million dollars...at the end of the 15 year period and with interest added it will bring the total to 3.5 million dollars. But Wells said the upgrades will pay for themselves, and end up saving the city nearly 9 thousand each year something the city needs.
"We need to upgrade to keep up with technology but also to help citizens to be able to act with the city and be more transparent to the citizens," said Wells.
Wells said the city will also replace the outdated boilers and chillers at The Lawton Public Library and upgrades and repairs will be made to fiber optics.