Capital Focus: Energy contract could save state $1 million | NevadaAppeal.com
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Capital Focus: Energy contract could save state $1 million

The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved a contract that Treasurer Kate Marshall says could save the state up to $1 million in energy costs.

But it won’t be from installing efficient lightbulbs or thicker insulation.

LPB Energy Management of Dallas President Matthew Berke said the corporation helps clients reduce energy costs by collecting historical and current utility bills and funneling them through a computer program that helps find billing and other errors. He said the state gets thousands of utility bills every month and, in many cases, they are paid without auditing to determine if they are correct.

“No one is tracking the bills,” he said.

Under the contract, he said, LPB doesn’t charge the state for its services. Instead, the company gets half of any savings its auditors find. He said those savings are cost reductions the state would not otherwise receive.

As an example, he said LPB found $51,000 in savings for operators of Texas Stadium in Dallas.

Berke said bills for lighting on state highways is a good example. He said those are often charged a flat fee each month. But sometimes, lights can be burned out for weeks or longer before they are replaced and the state still gets charged a fee even though they aren’t using any electricity.

He said the company eliminates paper utility bills, centralizing all utility bill processing. He said that alone can save the state up to $20 per invoice in costs from state workers who process the bills and mail out payments.

And since that centralizes all utility records in a database, Berke said his staff can point to areas where state agencies can make further savings by changing utility use patterns.

Marshall said all state agencies, the university system and local governments can use the contract with LPB.

“Not only does the contract and assessment by LPB have the potential of saving taxpayer dollars, the state will also be doing it’s part to help the environment through better conservation of natural resources,” she said.

In other Capitol news:

Gilliland named welfare director

Health and Human Services Director Mike Willden has named Romaine Gilliland the new administrator of the Welfare & Supportive Services Division.

Gilliland has been the division’s deputy fiscal administrator for the past 18 months, working on strategic and tactical planning and oversight of fiscal operations.

Willden said he has done “a tremendous job and has shown himself as a solid leader.”

Gilliland’s previous service to the state includes work as the chief financial officer with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, as well as work as the chief accountant for the division he will now head.

Judicial Ethics names new chairman

The Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices has elected Kathleen Paustian chairman for the coming two years.

She replaces Gordon DePaoli, who leaves the committee at the end of this year.

Dan Reaser was named vice chairman of the committee. He replaces Paustian as vice chair.

Paustian is a partner with Gonzales, Saggio, Harlan in Las Vegas. She has been a member of the standing committee since 2001.

Reaser is a shareholder with the Lionel Sawyer & Collins law firm based in Reno. He has been on the committee since 2004.

Early Intervention Services cut by $5 million

Early Intervention Services to developmentally delayed children will be reduced from a base General Fund budget of approximately $19 million a year to $14 million a year. That will result in the loss of 14.28 full time equivalent positions. Two offices will be closed, 15,219 service hours will be lost and 380 children impacted.

Meetings and events scheduled for the coming week include:

– Dec. 10, 9 a.m., Legislature Room 3138. Nevada Silver Haired Legislative forum.

– Dec. 11, 9:30 a.m., Legislature Room 4100. Legislative Commission Audit Subcommittee.

– Dec. 15, 1:30 p.m., Legislature Room 2134. Interim Retirement and Benefits Committee.

Supreme Court returns more cash to budget

The Nevada Supreme Court is returning another $1 million to the General Fund this fiscal year.

Incoming Chief Justice Jim Hardesty said that brings the total amount reverted to the treasury to help meet the state’s budget crisis to nearly $1.7 million.

In this fiscal year, he said $151,110 comes from delaying implementation of the court’s new case management system. Another $380,000 will come from the account which pays district judges’ salaries around the state and $107,192 will come from the Senior Judge Program. And $362,105 consists of salary savings by not filling vacant positions this year.

Earlier in this fiscal year, the court reverted some $680,000 to the General Fund. That is on top of the $1.9 million reverted in fiscal 2008. That money was generated by not only budget reductions but increases in the collection of administrative assessment on misdemeanor convictions and traffic fines.

Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.