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GreenSteps program more likely as Bemidji officials consider sustainability options

The Bemidji City Council is more open to the possibility of joining the GreenSteps program, even if is not yet ready to commit.

The council listened to a presentation from Brett Cease, a local AmeriCorps member and member of the Bemidji Sustainability Committee, on the program during a meeting Monday. No vote was taken.

GreenStep Cities, administrated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is a voluntary program that offers assistance and recognition to cities to help them reach sustainability goals.

In September 2010, the council opted to not join, citing concerns with future financial obligation.

Things have changed a bit since then. Particularly, Cease is now here and available to be the GreenStep coordinator, which, he said, would decrease the amount of staff time required for the program.

"A year ago I was very hesitant," said Councilor Kevin Waldhausen.

But, since then, the Sustainability Committee has worked "extensively" to gather more information and develop how the program would work in Bemidji, said Waldhausen, the council representative to that committee.

"I wouldn't have any hesitation and would support the city being part of the GreenSteps program," he said.