Erath County commissioners approved spending nearly $14,000 in energy efficiency upgrades on Monday.

Newer, more energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems will be installed in the county clerk, tax and motor vehicle offices to complete the county's efforts to increase efficiency and cut utility consumption.

Commissioners awarded both projects to the lowest bids made by two local businesses.

Easter Heat and Air will replace the clerk's HVAC system at a cost of $6,093, while Mangrum Air Conditioning will replace the HVAC system in the tax and motor vehicle offices for $7,790.

"I appreciate the competitive bids from these local companies," said Facilities Director John Wooley. "And we get to keep our county funds local."

In 2010, the state awarded $86,000 to Erath County to fund projects that increase efficiency and conserve utility consumption.

"The project is now about 90 percent complete," Wooley said. "We have already started saving money each month, and over time, we will see that cost savings grow."

Commissioners also learned of an opportunity to save taxpayer dollars.

US Script, a nationwide commercial insurance provider, presented a proposal which could save the county $4,144 in prescription drug costs for indigent citizens.

US Script serves as a "middle man" between county indigent programs and pharmacies by reducing the time and money the county spends on the program without negatively impacting the services needy citizens receive, a company representative told commissioners.

"Based on our analysis of your budget for indigent healthcare, we believe Erath County could have a 35 percent savings in prescription drug costs per month (by using US Script)," Melissa Daniels said.

The Fresno, Calif.-based insurance provider secures contracted rates that are negotiated with local pharmacies based on client's needs.

Currently, Erath County contracts with CVS Pharmacy for all prescriptions for indigent healthcare.

In other business, Dr. Jeff Moore's term as the local health authority for the Texas Department of State Health Services was renewed by the court. He has served three two-year terms and advises the state health department when requested.