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Partnerships are the norm
Aug. 3, 2021 6:46 pm, Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 10:48 am
Regarding Dianne Brandt’s letter of July 28, “Gifts can’t fund government”:
Fairfield had a sustainability coordinator from 2010-2015, Scott Timm. Scott’s position was funded partly by the city and partly by the Iowa State University/Cooperative Extension.
Public/private partnerships are common in the sustainability realm and granting entities such as the DNR, USDA, EPA, etc. encourage them.
Ms. Brandt complains that an individual in this role “would have no legal standing.” If by that is meant he or she can make laws or place demands on citizens, of course not; only the city council can do that.
As was the case in the past, a coordinator’s role would be largely collaborative and advisory. The individual would be an advocate, not a “lobbyist.” The goal is to help leaders view every decision with a lens of sustainability, keep an eye out full-time for opportunities to improve our efforts at stewardship, and pursue grants and other types of funding to help make Fairfield a more self-sufficient, resilient community.
When Fairfield previously engaged a sustainability coordinator, many such opportunities were seized: a community fruit and nut orchard was created; recycling increased by 67%; the city enjoyed more than $1.4 million worth of projects from grants and other sources; annual city energy costs were reduced by $81,216; another $3 million was leveraged toward energy efficiency projects, and more.
None of this would have occurred without the focus of a competent individual in that position. Isn’t it a good thing for citizens, organizations, and businesses to partner together and invest in their own community?
A forum for a Resilient Fairfield will be held at the Sondheim on Friday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Representatives from other Iowa communities will share how they have taken a variety of paths to greater sustainability. Perhaps we can learn from them. The forum is free and open to the public.
Margaret M. Dwyer
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