In a prepared statement, candidates for Borough Council Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz describe how the application of technology designed to address environmental issues could generate significant cost savings for Madison.
The candidates stated: “We both strongly believe that working to save our environment is in everyone’s best interest; however, we also realize that not everyone shares this view. But we think that everyone likes to save money, and through our involvement, we have learned of significant opportunities for towns to reduce costs while improving the environment. Reducing the cost of running the borough is a first priority for us and will be on the top of our list of things to do if elected.”
Wolkowitz added that, “The extent of potential savings became apparent to me when I examined the possible use of solar panels for the Madison Environmental Commission. I learned that Morris County has been at the forefront of developing innovative financing arrangements to facilitate municipal use of this less expensive source of power. These arrangements are attractive because they involve no outright cash expenditure by the municipality.
More recently, as a member of Sustainable Madison, I looked into the application of industrial size composters for locations with large food service operations such as our public schools. Such installations are becoming increasingly commonplace throughout Europe and Asia, and to my surprise, in Chatham Township. The Township has through a Sustainable Jersey grant acquired at no charge, an industrial composter, which is used to convert school cafeteria food waste into usable compost. This is a gift that truly keeps on giving since the Township no longer has to pay to have their school’s trash hauled off.”
Astri Baillie added “Ben has described but two examples of how environmentally-motivated initiatives can save money. But we need the leadership and will on the Council to aggressively pursue these kinds of opportunities. For two years our Sustainable Madison effort languished because of a lack of Council support and only this year was it finally reinstituted. The team is now actively looking for grant opportunities to bring beneficial change and cost savings to Madison. We need Council to fully support valuable community efforts such as Sustainable Madison, not politicize them.
For a more detailed example of how environmentally directed technology can result in significant cost reductions see our white paper, Reducing the Cost of Electricity, on our website, www.madison-dems.org.”
Astri Baillie is currently on the board of the Great Swamp Watershed Association. Ben Wolkowitz chaired the Board of the Great Swamp Watershed Association, represented Madison on the Ten Towns Committee, has been a member of Madison Matters and is currently a member of Sustainable Madison.