Today, our fourth question for the Prairie Village City Council candidates:
4.) The city recently made a significant investment in a geothermal heating and cooling system for city hall that is environmentally friendly and is expected to save the city significant expenses in the long run. What other steps should the city take to be more environmentally friendly?
I believe it is important to support positive environmental initiatives especially when they make fiscal sense. This is an area where I greatly differ from my opponent who voted against the geothermal project as well as other sensible environmental initiatives such as the smoking ban which I consider an environmental health issue.
I have been and will continue to advocate for chemical free parks where appropriate. Because of the hard work of a concerned Prairie Village resident some 20 years ago, Bennett Park is maintained without the use of harsh chemicals. I have worked together with the Environmental Committee to draft a preliminary proposal for the withdrawal of herbicides in our parks, which can be achieved without any added cost. Our kids, family, friends, and pets all play in our parks. We work hard to ensure that our parks are outwardly safe – such as using soft materials in play areas. I believe we should use Bennett Park as a benchmark and adopt a chemical free policy where appropriate.
I believe our city has the opportunity to be a leader in environmental practices in our parks. Instead of being closed minded to all environmental issues, I commit to you that I will always be open to sensible environmental initiatives in Prairie Village, especially when it improves the health of our friends and families.
I’m asking for your vote on April 3. Please visit www.AshleyforPV.com to request a yard sign and learn more!
Al Herrera (incumbent)
On this question, I think Prairie Village has covered every possible program to be environmentally friendly. On the geothermal heating and cooling, I’m not sold on all of their clams of the savings for this system for the city.
As your new Ward 4 council member, I will look for ways to incorporate new technology that is environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible. One area where Prairie Village can take the lead has to do with utilizing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for city vehicles. CNG has several environmental benefits, such as burning cleaner than diesel and being easier to extract than petroleum. It also has the added benefit of being cheaper!
Converting city vehicles to CNG would obviously be a long term goal. As of now there are very few CNG stations in the metro. However, this presents an opportunity for Prairie Village to be a leader. I suggest that Prairie Village engage other Northeast Johnson County cities and study the potential of working towards a central facility for CNG. Again, CNG conversion is a long term goal. However, as fuel prices steadily rise, it’s up to us to take the initiative.
It’s worth noting that our Prairie Village Environmental Committee does an excellent job of communicating with residents and helping educate people about the benefits of being environmentally friendly. We should all be proud of what our environmental committee and city have accomplished!
I’m asking for your vote. Although I appreciate our current councilman’s volunteer time, it is time to elect a new voice for Ward 4. If you agree with me, then please vote and visit www.brookeforpv.com to get involved in the change. Make it happen on April 3.
I had the privilege of supporting the switch to geothermal and working as a member of the Finance Committee to make it happen financially. While the near-term investment was significant, in the long run I believe the City will realize substantial savings from the conversion.
Prairie Village has made a good start as a green community. We were ahead of a number of Johnson County cities in the adoption of a program to keep yard waste out of the landfill. The county spent six years putting its program together. That commenced Jan. 1. The change was transparent here because we were ahead of the curve.
There are other measures we can begin. Some require the involvement of residents.
City vehicles use thousands of gallons of fuel per year. The city can seek improved fuel efficiency in its fleet, but it cannot sacrifice the necessary performance features. This may include expanded use of natural gas or electric vehicles.
We can intensify recycling programs at city-affiliated events such as VillageFest and the Jazz Festival.
We can encourage the use of more shrubs and flowers on islands to reduce the volume of grass clippings they produce. Native plants also require less water and fertilizer than grass. This requires attention to sight lines for drivers.
We can endeavor to expand neighborhood recycling/composting programs for various types of brown matter. Properly done, such efforts produce wins for all involved. The resident secures a supply of composted matter that can be used as fertilizer or mulch. For the city and county there is less material to deposit at disposal sites.
The City has both Staff and a Council member with deep environmental backgrounds. We will have no shortage of ideas for years to come.
As a LEED accredited construction manager, I have firsthand experience on how businesses implement elements of sustainable design into their construction projects. Businesses are embracing sustainable design because it saves money over time, is the responsible thing to do, and because it has direct measurable benefits. I commit to use my experience to see that all city projects are sustainable and provide measurable benefits to our city.
I believe implementing this system was a wise decision on the part of the City Council, even if Mrs. Sharp was a vocal opponent. We should look at the lifetime value of the geothermal investment as our city hall is not likely to change locations anytime soon. The fact is that this project will pay for itself and once it’s paid for it will start paying us (the taxpayer) back in a measurable manner whereas the sales tax increase to a private developer that Mrs. Sharp advocated so heavily for, did not provide any measurable benefit to our city.
Not every environmental project makes financial sense. However, I promise to keep an open mind with regard to environmental issues. If they can show a measurable savings to the taxpayer then I will always be supportive.
I believe it’s time to focus on and revitalize Ward 6. I believe we all deserve fair tax rates, we all deserve to feel safe in our own homes, and we all deserve to know that our tax dollars are being spent wisely and with foresight. Please visit my website www.tedforpv.com to learn more. I would appreciate your vote on April.
Diana Ewy Sharp
Prairie Village has been a leader in environmentally friendly efforts for decades — I understand it was under the leadership of resident Mary Montello, business owner Mely Ballard, Former Mayor Roe Taliaferro, former Administrator Barbara Vernon and many environmentally concerned residents, that Prairie Village began its citywide curbside recycling program as well as the corrugated cardboard recycling program at two of our shipping centers. With the success of these programs, the city’s Environment/Recycling Committee was officially formed and its members continue to raise awareness of these matters. I believe investing in our existing park system is one of the most environmentally conscious efforts we can undertake as a City — by doing so, it makes our open space more valuable and incentivizes us all to take better care of these amenities. It would also make sense that the city encourages all new building construction to be LEED-certified such as the recent construction of UMB Bank in the Village which received the national designation. In addition, I will continue to support cost effective opportunities to improve how efficiently our city uses energy. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this survey. Residents may learn more about my re-election campaign at www.dianaewysharp.org.
Tomorrow, our final question:
5.) Do you support the system of trails that were part of the Parks Master Plan adopted by the city in 2009? Should the city move forward with implementing that plan?