Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus met with members of his newly appointed GREEN Internal work group as part of his seven step sustainability “greener” strategy that he originally outlined in his 2007 State of the County Address “Dutchess Goes Green.”
County Executive Steinhaus said, “My ‘Dutchess Goes Green’ agenda is the beginning of a long journey toward addressing people’s attitudes and behaviors about thinking and behaving greener. We need to raise awareness through education and we are starting right here within our own internal organization.”
The County Executive has asked Scott Chase, as the Interim Environmental Coordinator, to steward this work group and take a comprehensive look at County business practices, facilities, policies and programs and recommend areas where the commitment to being GREEN can be stepped up within County Government.
The work group has been tasked with following up on environmental and energy initiatives and recommend best practices for areas such as: recycling and solid waste practices, use of LEED building standards, continued energy upgrades of buildings, lighting, heating and cooling systems, energy audits and more.
The group is currently made up of representatives from Planning & Development, Health, Central Services, Public Works and Office of Computer & Information Systems. Also participating in the workgroup are representatives from Dutchess Community College and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
“We have an outstanding county workforce with bright and creative ideas. I wish to see our employees involved in making recommendations on how we might change our approaches to “think greener” about the programs and services we carry out on a day to day basis,” continued Steinhaus. County departments have already begun to answer the County Executive’s call. Public Works staff was instrumental in changing salt spreading equipment and practices to better manage and reduce use of salt; protecting ecological systems and groundwater as well as saving tax dollars. The Central Services Department has completely changed out the photo copy system to allow significantly higher use of electronic document storage and exchange saving paper, storage space and of course dollars. These are just few examples of the types of opportunities the work group expects to continue to identify.
The “green operating principles” that the workgroup will operate under are:
- Government should act as a model for sustainable business practices that contribute to the long-term protection and enhancement of our environment, our economy and the health of current and future generations.
- Dutchess County government is committed to its operations being conducted in a manner consistent with principles of sustainability and to contribute positively towards the quality of life of all citizens.
- Within County government, sustainable practices require decisions based on a systematic evaluation of the long-term impacts of an activity or product on health and safety, communities, the environment and the economy of the County and beyond.
- The understanding that maintaining the natural resources and ecosystems on which people and economic vitality depend is critical to our future.
“Dutchess County has developed a reputation as a leader, whether in economic development, senior citizen initiatives or a host of other programs. That is what we want to do here with the “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda. We want to have vision and strategy to implement real change,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.