By Anne Holzman
Lauderdale Mayor Mary Gaasch said in a recent interview that she expects the City Council to consider soon whether to embark on the next level of GreenStep city environmental measures.
GreenStep is a state initiative to encourage cities to build environmental quality of life and sustainability. Program areas include energy efficiency in public buildings, land use, conservation, transportation and other aspects of city governance.
Lauderdale achieved Step 2 in 2016. In Step 2, the city informed the community on implementing some best environmental practices.
Gaasch said the move to Step 3 would require some significant expenditures. She said it’s hard for a smaller city to hire staff and make other financial commitments, but “our citizens really care about this.”
She said one possibility is to begin by forming a volunteer environment commission. Currently, Lauderdale does not have any city commissions, and many cities have been struggling to keep commissions staffed and maintain quorums for meetings.
But Gaasch said she hopes Lauderdale neighbors will pitch in on environmental measures. She said she and Council Member Jeff Dains have been active with the Minnesota Cities Climate Caucus, finding ways for cities to address climate change and advocating the issue at the state level.
“We think cities are a wonderful place to do this work,” Gaasch said.
Anne Holzman covers Falcon Heights and Lauderdale government news for the Bugle.