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City and school leaders set green example

At the April 14 annual joint meeting between the Mercer Island School district board of directors and the Mercer Island City Council, the meeting got started with the announcement of the winner of the Green Ribbon Carbon Challenge.

Members of the school board and council members individually adapted the “22 Ways It’s Easy Being Green,” a program developed by the Mercer Island Green Ribbon Commission to promote easy steps to live well while reducing your carbon footprint.

Commission member Elliot Newman said “both organizations have shown tremendous leadership to reduce the overall carbon footprint of Mercer Island.”

The city council was the winner but only by five points. Newman said a total of 129 actions were taken by the entire group, including 15 out of the 16 are now using programmable thermostats, 13 eliminated a car trip and 12 walked for a specific task.

It was also announced that the Mercer Island School District has been named a King County certified Green District. In the past year the district has reduced garbage volumes, increased recycling and conserved natural resources.

The two bodies agreed that keeping the Mary Wayte Pool operating was their greatest accomplishment in the past year, recognizing that the aging facility does not offer a long-term solution. If any repair is needed in excess of $25,000, the pool will be shuttered.

City council member Dan Grausz said council has had several meetings with the SJCC, exploring a joint pool project.

“We’re in very preliminary stages,” Grausz said. “We have to be sure it’s economically viable.”

It was agreed that a pool will remain on the joint bodies list of priorities this year.

Also identified as an area of priority for both governmental bodies is to combine the location and facilities for their respective fleets. With the city vehicles such as dump trucks and police cars and the district with their busses, currently housed near the high school, they thought it made sense to maintain them all in one place.

The idea of combining internet technology was tossed around as well.

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