Floyd County commissioners expect to save about $72,000 a year in utility costs by retrofitting two parking decks and State Mutual Stadium.

Facilities Manager Ryan Davis told the board that a sampling of LED lights were installed for a test run before recommending the conversion at the stadium, the Fourth Avenue Parking Deck and the deck at the Law Enforcement Building on West First Street.

“There will be a big increase in light,” Davis said. “We have about half a foot-candle now. We’ll go to 5 foot-candles and decrease the energy bill at all the facilities.”

Commissioners signed off last week on a $550,738 contract with Georgia Power Co. to provide the equipment and installation. The Third Avenue Parking Deck, which is jointly owned by the city and county, could be added later if the Rome City Commission approves.

“The main concern now is to convert the Braves’ stadium, especially the clubhouse, before opening day April 11,” Davis said.

Assistant County Manager Gary Burkhalter said the Rome Braves pay the stadium utility bills and will end up with the bulk of the savings, about $46,000 a year. The conversion was promised during negotiations to renew the team’s contract at the county-owned facility.

Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said the long-term goal is to convert all the county buildings to lower-cost lighting. Recreation facilities were among those targeted in the initial phase funded through the 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax.

The board is still mulling financing options for the decks and stadium.

Burkhalter and Finance Director Susie Gass initially recommended using the Georgia Municipal Association lease pool over Georgia Power’s offer because there’s a rebate.

“The rate is higher than Georgia Power’s, but they net earnings against it so it ends up at about 2 percent over five years,” Burkhalter said.

There’s also about $1.7 million in SPLOST revenue that could be tapped. However, County Manager Jamie McCord has been holding it with an eye to supplementing funds for the runway extension at Richard B. Russell Regional Airport if federal grant applications fall through.

Hancock and Commissioner Rhonda Wallace asked Gass to determine if the runway project would be eligible for GMA financing. A decision on that, and the addition of the joint parking deck, is expected at the board’s April 9 meeting.