Poughkeepsie... Two of Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus’ priority agenda items are at the forefront of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference currently being held in Richmond, VA.
“NACo has focused this year on the same topics we have already made a priority in Dutchess County, including combating the epidemic of childhood obesity and protecting our environment, the cornerstone of our “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “It is energizing to hear how other county leaders from across the country are tackling these issues and to share insights from our successes in Dutchess County.”
The annual NACo conference brings county officials from across the nation to discuss and adopt official association policy on a wide variety of issues important to counties, including human services, energy and environment, housing, economic development, public safety and homeland security, technology, healthcare, transportation and more.
In an effort to further his “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda, County Executive Steinhaus has participated in workshop discussion topics including “Standards and Certifications: How Green is Green,” “Renewable Energy Forecast: What Will Fuel Your County” and “Purchasing and Procurement: Go Green, Save Green, See Green.” Several of the ideas presented at these workshops included “green” strategies already under way in Dutchess County including County Executive Steinhaus’ initiative to introduce hybrid vehicles into the County’s vehicle fleet and the conversion of the County LOOP buses to exclusive use of ultra low-sulfur fuel. LOOP bus engines have also been retrofitted to reduce emissions.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “There are so many innovative ideas out there about ways to go “green,” and also save taxpayers money.”
The County Executive has also taken part in discussion forums on childhood obesity including “Combating Youth Obesity in America: Innovative State and Local Policies.” The Center for Sustainable Communities hosted a breakfast forum for philanthropic, medical and government leaders to discuss national efforts to curb obesity. Additionally, County Executive Steinhaus participated in the dialogue at the African-American and Latino Youth Obesity Forum earlier this afternoon. The County Executive first made the fight against childhood obesity a priority in Dutchess County when he announced he would make funding available through the Children’s Health Initiative in his 2005 State of the County Address. Steinhaus has committed more than $230,000 in the 2006 and 2007 executive budgets to fund programs to increase our children’s healthy eating and exercise behaviors in partnership with community-based organizations such as Beacon Community Center, Council on Addiction Prevention Education, Children’s Media Project, Girl Scouts of Dutchess County, North East Community Center and YMCA. In 2006 the programs served over 1000 youth and 800 adults across Dutchess County.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a national organization that represents county governments in the United States. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.
County Executive Steinhaus represents the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) on the NACo Board of Directors.