Cool Counties

by Julie Walsh on November 5, 2007

In his pursuit of reelection, the chairman of my Northern Virginia county’s commission sent out a flyer on how he has partnered with the Sierra Club to launch the “Cool Counties” initiative, making ours a “national model” in the fight against global warming. He neglected to add that this initiative will cost us millions of dollars, though the typical county homeowner already pays $4830 in real estate taxes per year. The flyer has four boasts:

He has set aside 30,000 acres of open space. Rather than increasing the tax base through allowing businesses in, he is preventing “overdevelopment.”

He has instituted new “green building” standards for county buildings, supposedly “saving taxpayers money.” If cost/benefit analyses have been done on previous public building projects, then supposedly the amount saved versus the added cost of “green standards” should have been calculated to maximize the taxpayers’ dollars already. Therefore, these standards, would be either be unnecessary or more expensive to enact.

He has added hybrid vehicles to the county fleet. This is even though companies, such green-minded FedEx, have realized that the ten year break-even costs of hybrids are not worth the added expense.

He is increasing our use of renewable energy. Even though he claims to have doubled our use of costly wind power, fortunately this will not have much effect upon us, as it currently is such a small fraction of our power sources.

 Yes, I will remember to vote on Tuesday, November 6.

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