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Sarasota County Government
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Sarasota County is a leader in Sustainability Movement - Sarasota County, one of the local governments helping the Florida Solar Energy Center and FGBC develop a green municipality standard for designating green cities and green counties, is taking a leadership role in the sustainability movement.
Sarasota County's goal in this sustainability movement is to ensure that today's natural resources are available for future generations. The county's most visible examples in this sustainability movement are recycling, the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods program, water resource management, purchasing environmentally sensitive lands and energy conservation, which is exemplified in our "green building." Other examples include integrated pest management and environmental landscape, along with an emphasis on purchasing environmentally friendly office and cleaning products. Green buildings are showcased in the Florida House, the new Twin Lakes office complex and the North County Library. The county has formed partnerships with architects, builders and suppliers such as Carlson, W.G. Mills, Kimal Lumber and others. Efforts to support sustainability are winning recognition and awards. Twin Lakes, for example, recently was honored with a state recognition for its sustainable design. The county promotes sustainability by building models, facilitating conversations and developing partnerships. Government can choose to regulate reactively, or to proactively model behaviors and balance. Government obviously has to regulate, but is also charged with an ethical obligation to provide a fair and balanced point of view when it comes to the community - in a way that the private sector doesn't have to - because a local government has to consider more than "the bottom line." These days, issues need to be considered strategically. Balance and fairness are required because this concept of sustainability runs through the middle of all our issues. Transportation and growth management are perfect examples. Financial sustainability means balancing just enough growth to keep tax bases stable and healthy, while avoiding growth that would overwhelm us. If you look at the seven strategic initiatives the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners has identified, you won't see the environment singled out. That's because the commissioners have determined that a sustainable environment needs to play a role in every strategic initiative. It's the same thing with recycling or integrated resource management planning. Rather than just building a water supply, the county is looking at how to manage water resources as a whole, including those impacts to the environment. In that regard, the county has taken the lead in this sustainability role. Sustainability becomes a theme verbalized through our value-added conversations, built into the models and developed in the partnerships with the private sector, other government agencies and with our community. Sarasota has plenty to celebrate in continuing to lead by example, not only for the local community, but also for our state, our nation and in some cases, the world.
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