Recently, it was reported by the TimesDaily that over the next 22 months UNA will spend $17 million to cut utilities by 20%. The article stated, “There are about 70 facilities campus-wide that will get improvements.” This spending will provide a ‘guaranteed savings’ of $24 million over the next 20 years. The estimated net savings over the 20 years is $7 million (24m-17m). I am assuming that future rate increases over the next 20 years will be factored into the ‘guaranteed savings.’ As work is completed work each facility a certain amount of the funds need to be retained by UNA as part of these guaranteed savings. A different light bulb may reduce costs but the extra cost of the bulbs must be considered.

This $17 million contract is not a good business decision on UNA’s part. The contract should have been for two or three facilities. After the work is completed, wait three or four months and determine if the savings are there. If yes, then follow the same procedure for another two or three facilities.

The article stated that UNA and the contractor are ‘partnering’ in the project. Does this mean bids were not received? The contractor is located in Huntsville. Were local contractors allowed the opportunity to become partners with UNA on this project? The city of Florence recently gifted UNA with land for a proposed new baseball facility. Helping each other should not be one way!

UNA’s administration wants a new baseball facility, a new football facility, and they have entered into a contract for $17 million that will be paid over the next 22 months. This is an awful lot to be taken on by UNA.

Bill Smoak