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Pierce County wins $4.4 million energy efficiency grant

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 20, 2009 at 8:39 am with 9 Comments »
November 20, 2009 8:39 am

Pierce County has won a $4.4 million federal grant to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The money from the U.S. Department of Energy will cover everything from a new heating system at the jail to installing heat pumps in old houses.

It also will be used to hire Ryan Dicks – son of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Balfair – to be the county’s “sustainability manager.”

In announcing the grant, County Executive Pat McCarthy said it “provides an excellent opportunity to find efficiencies, reduce energy costs and improve air quality.”

“It is fundamentally important to me that we leave a legacy of clean air and clean water for our children,” McCarthy said.

The Department of Energy grant is the latest example of federal economic stimulus money flowing to Pierce County.

State figures show $239 million worth of stimulus grants have come to the county through the state. That doesn’t include other grants that came straight from the federal government.

The latest grant will be used for a series of projects:

• To replace a 25-year-old heating, ventilating and air conditioning system that serves two floors at the county’s main jail. The move will allow the county to save 500,000 cubic feet of natural gas a year.

• To work with other agencies to convert older homes from wood stoves, oil or baseboard heat to high-efficiency gas furnaces, natural gas inserts or electric heat pumps. The project is designed to improve air quality and is expected to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 70 tons annually.

• To convert 78 traffic signals to more energy-efficient models, saving an estimated $72,000 annually based on today’s energy costs.

• To replace the electronic message board at Sprinker Recreation Center with a more energy-efficient sign.

• To replace the county’s 10-year-old computer disk storage system with a more energy-efficient system.

The county will also will use the grant money to pay Dicks’ $92,583 salary as sustainability manager. In that role he’ll oversee the grant-funded projects and other cost-saving measures. The position is guaranteed only for 24 months.

Dicks has served as president of an environmental consulting firm and was vice president of conservation transactions for the Cascade Land Conservancy. He also has been regional director for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell. Currently he works for the King County executive’s office.

Dicks starts work on Monday.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. crusader says:

    Hiring Norm Dicks son.

    Term limits anyone?

  2. BecauseICARE says:

    Oh my gosh.

    REALLY?

    Someone should look into how these Obama Stimulus dollars are being spent by local officials.

    Today i learned that a cool quarter of a million (gasp) will be used to hire Norm Dicks’ kid who generated the grant in the first place. More than half of the monies will go to an air conditioner for the jail. How is this exactly stimulating the economy?

    Was there a competitive bid process involved or was this ‘job’ just handed to Ryan Dicks as a backdoor favor to dear old dad?

    There were no public hearings for how this money was to be spent either. How about some of that ‘transparent government’ that Pat seems to be such a champion of?

    I hope the other 229 M will be spent a little more wisely and a lot more transparently.

  3. logicmonster says:

    The county has a new “Sustainability Manager” as of Monday?

    How did I miss that job posting?

  4. ClownPosse says:

    “The position is guaranteed only for 24 months”

    Until Daddy can find the loser another job !

  5. Clarktribnet says:

    Vote all incumbants out!!!!!!

  6. Pierce County, you get the “grant”, oh by the way you have to hire Norm Dicks son, Ryan! From the other Washington with love, Norm Dicks. How many grants can provide jobs for our congressman and senators children? As many as they want! No conflict of interest here, what a joke. Can’t wait to see where all the money goes and who does the work, good old friends and family group? Follow the money.

  7. headedsouth says:

    Wow, I bet some of the 300 people that are going to be laid off from their current job with Pierce County would like to have applied for a $92K a year job. Norm Dicks is a Congreeman paid by the tax payers, David Dicks gets paid by the taxpayers to clean up the Puget Sound and Ryan Dicks gets paid by the tax payers to make Pierce County more energy efficience. That is a lot of Dicks on the taxpayer’s dime…

  8. It is nice that Uncle Sam, though supposedly broke with mounting deficits, can extended his credit line with Chairman Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China. Just hope the interest rates and future debt payments are not too much for my children and grand children to pay back this debt. After all, why should we s…pend 4.4 million of our own locally raised county tax dollars to fund these “very important” projects. Our local congressmen Norm Dick and Adam Smith are so generous with all these borrowed dollars, we should definitely reward them with many more terms of office. And they are so smart to use accounting gimmicks to make this new health care expansion cost free.

  9. I go to your website every once in a while and I just have to mention that I like your template!

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