Saline Green Grant In The Works

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Saline’s Environmental Commission is currently wondering what to do with an extra $2,000.

The Commission was hampered like just about everyone else in what they could do during the lockdowns that the government used to try to combat Covid-19. That meant that they could not organize the committee’s regular field trips, which left them with more money in their budget than they knew what to do with.

“Because the environmental commission hasn’t been able to achieve the scope of its regular programming, they have some additional funding this budget year and want to come up with a novel way to incentivize businesses to adopt more sustainable practices,” City Manager Colleen O’Toole said.

The criteria, amount, and application process all have yet to be established, however. City Councilor Jim Dell’Orco, who sits on the committee, said that this will be discussed at the next meeting, Wednesday, December 15, at 7 p.m.

While this is all subject to potential change, currently Dell’Orco is expecting there to be about four grants containing around $500 each.

“Instead of letting this money evaporate back into the general fund, we are going to repurpose these funds to make them available to small businesses, mainly probably restaurants, in the Saline community, to incentivize the use of environmentally responsible materials instead of [for example] polystyrene, styrofoam,” Dell’Orco said. “We want to encourage people to switch over to materials that are definitely more recyclable.”

While technically any business within Saline city limits will be eligible to apply, Dell’Orco is predicting that larger companies probably won’t’ take the time to do so given the amount. Interested companies will be able to apply on the City of Saline’s website, once a formalized process is agreed to.

This is a pilot program that came about due to the unusual circumstances of a once in a century pandemic. Dell’Orco said that whether or not this program will be more than a one off will depend on the amount of interest and participation in the program from local business owners.

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