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Energy Commission to focus on green initiatives throughout town

Date: 10/20/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- The town will continue its commitment to promoting green living with the advent of the Energy Commission.

Mayor Susan Dawson has named Todd Bard, Jay Berger, Joel Cummings and Howard Stafford -- for approval by the City Council -- as the four citizen members of the 11-body commission last week. The remaining members will include three city councilors; the superintendent of Public Works (or designee); the director of Planning and Community Development (or designee); the Inspector of Buildings (or designee); and the director of Building Maintenance (or designee).

"I'm pleased with the formation of the [Energy] Commission," Dawson told Reminder Publications. "I've worked very hard on this since I came into office. For me, it will be a living legacy of my time as mayor."

The commission will work to acquire state and federal funding for clean energy initiatives; formulate strategies for a greener town; reduce the town's energy costs; track energy usage; and develop educational programming, among other responsibilities.

Berger, a member of the volunteer Go Green Agawam Committee, said he's looking forward to becoming a member of "a well-oiled team." He added that his priority is to gain funding for the implementation of energy-efficient practices throughout town.

City Council President Gina Letellier is charged with choosing the three councilors who will serve on the commission.

City Councilor Jill Messick, also a member of the Go Green Agawam Committee, said she's asked to be considered for one of the council positions.

"It's been a long, difficult task to get this commission off the ground and I would like to see it through," she said. "We have some things in the works [with] Go Green [Agawam] and we'll have to bring the commission up to speed."

Messick added that her goal is to make "energy efficiency a part of Agawam's culture."

"The ultimate benefit will be cost-savings for [the town]," she said, adding that the commission could also work to entice green business to form in Agawam.

The City Council will vote on Dawson's proposed citizen designees at their Nov. 4 meeting.