In last week’s editorial column, Lola Driessen hit the button right on the nose when she spoke of “feeling fortunate to live in Elk River.”
We are indeed fortunate to live in a city that manages its monetary affairs so sensibly. Thanks to the outstanding “foresight” Lola referred to, the city has been able to avoid massive staff reductions and painful cuts to essential services, despite the recent recession. While keeping its own house in order, the City of Elk River and Elk River Municipal Utilities even offer a program to assist citizens with keeping their houses in order.
This program, Project Conserve, currently helps over 300 families conserve natural resources, save money, and live more efficient lifestyles.
To accomplish these goals, participants are offered free or inexpensive home energy audits and information on how to reduce waste and lower energy use. The program couldn’t have come at a better time, as gas prices have sky-rocketed and energy prices are expected to rise next year.
Thankfully, these price increases are trivial when compared to the cost savings of last year’s Project Conserve participants. Through only minor lifestyle changes, participants attained an average 11.7 percent reduction in electricity use, 11.5 percent reduction in water use, and a 5 percent reduction in natural gas use. This yielded an average annual savings of about $209, with one-third of all participants actually saving over $300!
We are truly lucky to live in a city that keeps its house in order and even helps its citizens do the same. Project Conserve is a stalwart example of how government is intended to function: in service of the people. — Steven Pomeroy, Elk River