mug-ver-diazluke2018 mug-ver-diazluke2018 Luke Diaz

Seeking to confront climate change “head-on” locally, Dane County announced last week a novel collaboration between officials throughout the county to work on ways to do that, including with Verona Mayor Luke Diaz.

In a news release Aug. 15, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes Conway announced the “first of its kind collaboration” to bring together elected officials, administrators and staff who work on sustainability issues from nearly two dozen cities, villages, and towns in Dane County.

In its first meeting last week, the Sustainability Leaders Collaborative established working groups on four issues: solar development; renewable fuel usage for municipal fleets; energy efficiency/sustainability for facilities and “green” infrastructure to manage run-off from heavy rain events. The group will re-convene this winter to review progress made by those groups and “develop implementation plans for using sustainable strategies in both the public and private sectors,” according to the news release.

Dane County, the City of Madison, and a number of other local communities have agreed to achieve 100% sustainability, in energy reducing carbon emissions and implementing practices that help improve resiliency for extreme weather events.

Parisi said addressing climate change and advancing clean, green energy projects is a “shared mission” of communities around Dane County.

“By uniting in a shared vision, we can work together to support our sustainability efforts, positively impact the environment, and set the stage for others to follow suit,” he said in the news release.

Verona Mayor Luke Diaz, a member of the collective, said the group provides an “opportunity to work on the policies as outlined in Verona’s sustainability resolution,” as well as a chance for the city to learn from the expertise and experience of other municipalities.

“When dealing with the challenges of climate change and what kind of world we leave to the next generation, we can get more done when we work together,” he wrote in an email to the Press Monday. “Not to mention that issues like stormwater and flooding don’t respect municipal boundaries.”

Email Unified Newspaper Group reporter Scott De Laruelle at