Port Orchard taking ‘green initiative’ seriously

Green, the color people symbolize with nature, a calming, peaceful color.

In history the color green meant fertility.

Nowadays, green means saving the planet, working on ways to reduce waste, recycle and protect the environment.

The city of Port Orchard is among those that are feeling the green movement and participating in enriching the environment for future residents.

“Paper reduction for city hall is among one of my top priorities right now,” said Mayor Lary Coppola. “Just in the city council packets alone, we use 90,000 sheets of paper a year. I had the Finance Department add up the costs for labor, paper and ink, and it came out to approximately $38,000 a year.

“If we bought all of the council members new laptops,” he said, “that would be well under $10,000. With the rising costs of paper, ink and labor, it is these types of escalating costs we want to eliminate.”

Coppola said as of the beginning of May, the city has begun taking utility payments electronically.

“You can go on the website,” Coppola said, “pull up your bill and pay it with your credit/debit card or directly from your checking account.”

According to Coppola, “We’ve done an energy audit of all buildings and are reducing our use every day.”

Hybrid vehicles are now trying to be implemented in city departments.

“We’re trying to replace the old vehicles once they are done with hybrids,” Coppola said, “but the cost is $10,000 more per vehicle. It is hard to justify that right now with the economy the way it is.

“We are also looking at putting EV charging stations downtown to market to Seattle tourists,” he said. “They can come over for the day and charge their vehicle while they’re browsing through the shops or enjoying one of our festivals.”

The city has also been researching a company that manufactures environmentally safe products that are water-soluble.

“They will eliminate a lot of waste, and we want to have these products in place by the end of the year,” said Coppola “It will be a major conversion.”

Another issue the city is faced with is space.

“We’re out of room, and the (City Hall) building is only 10 years old,” Coppola said. “We have a lot of files that have to be preserved in a specific manner according to the state, and we’re quickly running out of places to store them. The problem is, this and other issues have been neglected for so long that now they are a major problem and we are having to deal with it.

“We are having to transfer thousands of files electronically,” he explained. “Unfortunately, this is not a cool or sexy job, but one that needs to be dealt with and completed.”

Coppola has said he and his staff have been tackling these problems since day one and admits implementing the “green initiative” is on the top of his list.

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