Note from Supervisor Leenhouts: April offers a time to highlight the importance of sustainability

Over the years, the Town of Penfield has been a leader in sustainability initiatives. With April featuring Earth Day and Arbor Day, it’s a perfect time to highlight this work and discuss what is ahead for our community.

From being one of the first municipalities in Monroe County to have an electric vehicle (EV) charging station to the creation of the sustainability engineer position on staff, we have prided ourselves on ensuring we put sustainable, environmentally friendly initiatives at the forefront. As your Town Supervisor, along with the Town Board, I am excited to continue to champion this work that will better our community.

In the 2023 Town of Penfield Comprehensive Plan Update, we continued to build on this work and commitment to sustainability. For the first time, sustainability was included in the plan as a policy item. This inclusion further defines our mission and will drive us forward for years to come.

Recently, a town-wide LED streetlight upgrade was completed. This project not only drastically cuts down energy consumption but also reduces electricity costs while providing enhanced lighting on roadways. It truly is a win-win, reducing environmental impact and lowering our operating costs. We’ve also added an electric vehicle to our fleet, which also enhances our operating efficiency, and installed a new EV charging station at Town Hall.

While we have come a long way, it’s also important to note there is still much work to be done. In the coming months and years, we will continue ahead with new programs and initiatives to improve our sustainability and climate resiliency.

A few highlight areas include:

  • Installation of additional EV charging station
  • Creation of Town Sustainability Code
  • Expansion of the Town’s electric vehicle fleet
  • Enhanced tree planting program, including work toward Tree City USA designation.
  • Creation of a composting program
  • Improve energy efficiency improvements at Town facilities

One area in particular that I would like to learn more about is compositing. I’ve heard from residents interested in establishing a program, and I am eager to see how this might be done here in Penfield. Monroe County is currently piloting a composting program, and I have had the chance to learn more through this process. I plan to keep exploring how we might be able to bring this service to Penfield.

As with everything we do, we must be prudent with your tax dollars as we implement new initiatives and programs. I’ll work closely with Town staff to identify available grant funding sources to enact some of the programs mentioned above while also examining how we can enhance our operating efficiency.

Moving forward, I will be working closely with our Town Board and our Energy and Environmental Conservation Committee to move ahead with initiatives that will positively impact our community.

It may often seem like changes are small, but small incremental changes and shifts to more sustainable programs and practices can have a major impact on our community. I look forward to working together to continue this work.

See you around.
Jeff Leenhouts, Supervisor