As for those that read this I would like to point out that the Discovery Center is taking money from the Springfield to pay for the utilities and upkeep cost of this building. Don't give me that age old adage that it is saving me money, if it were I would see a check in my hand not an expense.
You'll notice that tax money is once more being appropriated for something that is going to keep draining money from the collective taxpayers. No matter how many ways you slice an apple pie it is only going to feed so many people.
7:14pm…Council Bill 2008-27. The city’s involvement in the Partnership for Sustainability including a $20,000 contribution. Emily Fox (of Discovery Center) was asked by City Manager Cumley to talk about the organization because she is the co-chair of the Partnership. She said MSU, OTC and Evangel, Springfield R-12 School District, Cox, St. Johns, Discovery Center, CU, Greene County and others are contributing as members to the partnership. She said the mission is to determine how our community can become a leader in sustainability.
“There’s no reason why Springfield and Greene County area can’t be a leader.”
What they plan to do is co-ordinate and serve as a sustainability resource for organizations throughout the region and use a GAP analysis to set up goals for the region. She said the group will be using the expertise already in this region to help develop the partnership. They hope to provide a web based tool for all groups in the region so there is a clearinghouse for all the information and expertise. They want to offer sources for networking for institutions and homeowners and small business owners.
The money will be used for operational purposes because “this is a huge endeavor.” She said because of the size of the project it’s necessary to hire someone to oversee the project. This person could also conduct seminars.
Councilwoman Collette said that she thinks it’s a tremendous effort and she’s pleased to see our community doing this. She asked about City Utilities and wanted to know if this was equally funding. Ms. Fox said that not all groups were putting in $20,000 equally the first year. Councilwoman Collette asked the total if the city contributed $20,000 and Ms. Fox said $100,000. Councilwoman Collette said that City Utilities was already working on things to help develop sustainability and asked if this group will help CU develop more approaches to help that grow. Ms. Fox said yes and that this group will work with everyone to help people change their habits with practical tools and education.
Councilwoman Collette thanked Ms. Fox for her effort. Ms. Fox talked about the Discovery Center and how their green building has changed the way they do business.
Mayor Pro Tem Deaver said that Springfield should recognize the savings that can come with different lighting and how new technologies can make operating more efficient.
Councilwoman Rushefsky asked how much City Utilities is putting in and Ms. Fox answered City Utilities is putting in $20,000. Councilwoman Rushefsky asked if this would be an annual contribution and Ms. Fox said she didn’t know but that she anticipated it could be a three year contribution. She hopes in the future that more groups would participate and contribute but she didn’t know at this time. Councilwoman Rushefsky asked if the information is already available to people in Springfield. Ms. Fox said that to keep from duplicating efforts they are going to create an information clearinghouse and that one of the main parts of this group is going to be stopping duplication.
Councilman Chiles asked if sustainability is “living within our own means.” He asked “if it’s fair to say that if you do this it will reduce waste and keep money in Springfield.” Ms. Fox said yes. “Is there any doubt in your mind that this $20,000 investment will be returned to us many times over if we reduce” coal and other fuels and renewable items. Ms. Fox said “of course it will.” She said she already sees it with the Discovery Center and how it operates.
Councilman Whayne asked the city manager if the money was coming from the general fund and City Manager Cumley answered yes.
Councilman Wylie commented on the educational aspects of the program and praised the Discovery Center.
Councilman Burlison asked about Ms. Fox’s experience with the green building at the Discovery Center and health concerns. “One of the outcomes we would want to see from this is reduced health care costs by the participants” and asked if Ms. Fox has noticed anything at the center. Ms. Fox said that she’s noticed effects. She said the filter system is a healthier system and the fact more natural sunlight is used in the building enhances the moods of the staff. “It’s different than working in a dark hole.” She said the health and well-being encompasses many different things.
Councilman Manley wanted to commend Ms. Fox for her leadership on this issue and said “the best is yet to be!”
Will be voted on in two weeks.