School Committee Joins City and Adopts Green Community Designation

Mayor Thomas McGee successfully urged school committee members to adopt the green community designation at last week’s school committee meeting. The school committee’s adoption of the policy is the last remaining step for Lynn on its way to becoming a green community.

Prior to the committee agreeing to adopt the policy, Chairman of the School Committee, McGee, followed up on a presentation that was held at the March 11th school committee meeting, sharing the most updated information that the City of Lynn had checked off on its list of required criteria with the State Department and energy resources. In turn, McGee shared the two remaining criteria that would need to be adopted by the school committee to move forward. As part of the policy, the city and schools would need to abide by the fuel efficient vehicle purchase policy, which requires the commitment to purchasing fuel efficient vehicles that meet the mile per gallon standard set by the green community division. This does not mean that current vehicles need to be replaced. Instead, when these vehicles are due to be replaced, fuel efficient vehicles must be purchased, with the exception of emergency and heavy duty vehicles. According to vehicle inventory, the school currently has ownership of  two Ford Crown Victoria’s, two Ford Taurus cars, and two exempt (emergency or heavy duty) vehicles.

The other remaining policy that would need to take effect is the energy use baseline and energy reduction plan, which the city is currently working on. This requires the city to create an energy use baseline for 2018, which accounts for the entire city and school’s energy use. The goal is to reduce the baseline by 20 percent over five years. The projects in the energy reduction plan are subject to being awarded grants and project awards will be eligible through the designation process. If new or different projects arise, they may be included as part of the grant application, and in turn, the majority of the benefits will go to the school. There are $23 million worth of potential projects which will save an estimated $1.83 million per year. An estimated $18 million of that money will go toward the school buildings, saving an estimated $900,000 per year.

By adopting the plan, there is no financial commitment required by the city or schools, and additional projects not identified in the plan can still be applied for through the green communities’ designation and grant program. According to McGee, all projects that the City of Lynn identified are viable projects that would improve building systems, infrastructure, and save the city significant amounts of money on an annual basis. Currently, out of the 351 municipalities in the state, 240 of them are green communities.

“I’m asking that we adopt this tonight,” said Mayor McGee. “I think it’s great for us to get into the green community designation. We have an ability to save money for both the city and the schools. I think we should finish what our requirements are and move forward on this.”

Once designated as a green community, Lynn will receive a designation grant of $500,000 to be used on energy conservation at city facilities and will be eligible to participate in the green communities’ annual competitive grants of up to $250,000.

“I think at the previous presentation it was pretty clear that this would be beneficial to the school and the city,” said School Committee Member, Michael Satterwhite. “For the last two years we’ve been pushing for grant money and I think this goes along with what we’ve been saying.”

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