South Charlotte

Commissioners aim to cut expenses, emissions alike

Matthews commissioners are taking steps to go green.

They voted last week to accept the Green Challenge, a program sponsored by the N.C. League of Municipalities.

The hope is to save tax dollars through reducing energy costs as well as downsizing the carbon footprint of the town.

“With the price of gas and fuel, I think people are more energized to do things they have not have thought about before. We're hoping to set the example. If you see your government concerned about the environment and cutting energy costs, you're more likely to do the same,” says Matthews management assistant Marni Fulton.

The League of Municipalities offers cities and towns across the state educational opportunities, research assistance, lobbying and other resources. The group's Green Challenge involves steps that include:

Instituting energy audits of government buildings.

Creating an energy improvement plan.

Creating a water conservation education program.

Last Wednesday, Matthews took the first step by participating in Power It Down Day. All employees were asked to turn off their computers, printers and other equipment at the end of the workday.

They are expected to make this a regular practice.

Fulton says the town is working on other initiatives that should also save energy and cut costs.

“This fall we're going to have the state come in and do energy audits of our buildings. We'll then come up with an energy improvement plan and figure out a way to implement that,” she said.

She says they are also going to be looking at their fleet of vehicles to determine ways to cut energy costs.

The town has already demonstrated concern for the environment by qualifying as a Tree City USA for eight consecutive years. This means that the town has worked to preserve existing trees and plant new ones.

And Fulton hopes that the example set by the town will encourage residents to be more aware of their impact on the environment.