1. GENERAL SUSTAINABILITY
1A. What does sustainability mean to you in the context of county governance?
I believe the County needs to look at many aspects of its operation through the lens of sustainability. Reducing our reliance on non-renewable energies and looking to develop ways for the County to be proactively sustainable are goals that we should be seeking with County governance. Our operation can be wasteful with an over-reliance on fossil fuel vehicles, not having the ability to transact business electronically, and having outdated facilities and fixtures that do not conserve energy that are prevalent at the County. My job is to look at these issues and develop solutions that will make us operate more efficiently, and therefore more sustainably.
1B. What are your top 2 sustainability-related priorities for Saratoga County, and what concrete actions will you take to address them?
I believe making our non-emergency vehicle fleet more sustainable through the purchase of hybrid, electric, and natural gas vehicles is something we should begin doing as we move through replacing our various vehicles. I also believe the County should establish some EV charging stations at some of their parking lots. Transitioning our lighting, both interior and exterior to LED lighting is another thing we should be doing at our facilities. Additionally looking at Power generation through a solar farm on County property should be considered.
2. DEVELOPMENT: Saratoga County is growing rapidly. This creates both opportunities and challenges for incorporating sustainability and environmental protections into the planning process.
2A. Given the intense and persistent development pressure in the county, what should be the county’s role in protecting our water resources, including our wetlands, streams and lakes?
The County’s Soil and Water Conservation district is a great resource when it comes to managing our water resources, erosion control, flood prevention, water conservation and use, wetlands, ground water, water quality and quantity, water pollution, forestland protection, wildlife, recreation, wastewater management and community development. Working with the County Board of Supervisors, and the County Planning department, the Soil and Water Conservation District can play a leading role when it comes to addressing these issues at the County level.
2B. Should the county do more to facilitate intermunicipal cooperation and coordination when it comes to development standards?
The County should do more to work on facilitating intermunicipal cooperation and coordination when it comes to development. This is a difficult goal to achieve since each Town, City, and Village can create its own development plan and standards. The County Planning Board in its advisory role can recommend more cooperation, but cannot mandate it, so I believe we will continue to have more differences in development character among different towns for at least the near-term future.
3. CLIMATE CRISIS
3A. What role do you think the county government should play in preparing for and addressing the effects of climate change, including extreme temperatures and precipitation events?
The County will need to be more prepared for extreme weather events buy bolstering our emergency response, and emergency planning. Better alert systems for residents and having the infrastructure to account for those residents who are most susceptible to the effects of these events are needed. The ability to react swiftly in a crisis will be necessary as more and more of these events impact our County. This will involve some investment of resources up-front, but will save us in the long term of having to spend even more reacting to an event.
3B. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, what policies and programs will you support to curb greenhouse gas emissions?
Other than reducing the County’s carbon footprint, I think we should look at reducing our reliance on fossil fuel vehicles. Developing more bike paths and trails for transportation are important as then people will be less reliant on cars to get around and will make an impact on reducing emissions from vehicles.
3C. Many other counties across the state have received state and federal funding for climate initiatives. Do you think Saratoga County should be applying to these state and federal funding sources to address climate change? Why or why not?
Saratoga County should apply for State and Federal funding for climate initiatives when appropriate. However, I do believe that the County needs to come up with a plan to develop those initiatives before applying for grant funding. It is better to have a roadmap for which initiatives are going to be done rather than to apply for grants piecemeal and have a disjointed or inconsistent set of climate initiatives.
4. SUSTAINABLE SARATOGA’S ROLE
4A. Would you be willing to work with local organizations like Sustainable Saratoga to help the county achieve greater sustainability and environmental protections?
I believe that Sustainable Saratoga has done great work as an organization, advocating for our City to become more sustainable in all aspects of its operation. The group has spoken in support of several of the various initiatives that either me or Council members have proposed, and that support is appreciated. I do think that Sustainable Saratoga, through speaking out at City meetings (and also County meetings, if appropriate) does help to shape policy and steer the conversation among our Citizens, so I do believe that Sustainable Saratoga can play a role in achieving our shared goals. I am happy to work with Sustainable Saratoga in bringing forth any of their issues to the County Board of Supervisors for consideration.