commissioner’s column: Coleen Vuono

In May of this year I was nominated to be the Mt. Lebanon commissioner from the third ward. I am honored to serve my community again.

I have always been impressed by the involvement of people living in Mt. Lebanon who care about the government and want to be a part of improving the community. Their concerns range from government to the schools, library, public safety and more. They are informed and civil in their public discourse, but they are also passionate in their desire to have their voices heard.

As commissioners we keep ourselves well informed of local, state and national issues that may affect the community, but it is also helpful when citizens bring their particular concerns to us. I’m happy to see that the participation of citizens has not changed from the last time I served as a commissioner. I find this involvement of residents inspiring and invigorating.

Recently a group of residents concerned about recycling informed us about a trash removal system that keeps more recyclables out of landfills. As a result of their efforts we are developing a timeline to create a program that fits our community and will be available for the next contract for trash removal.

This would have never occurred had it not been for their efforts to improve the environment and to make this information available to their elected representatives.

I have been thinking lately about how involvement of residents makes a good community. While Mt. Lebanon is not perfect, most consider it a good place to live.

But what about people living here who, for whatever reason, are in need and find this a place where they just exist in the shadows?

Do we just assume that churches and social organizations are taking care of these residents, or do we go further and make personal commitments?

How do we make life easier for those for whom life is a struggle?

The health of a community is based on the health of all of its residents.

I’d like to propose an idea that again has to do with recycling. Many of us throw out items that can be used by others and many of us have talents that could help others.

Can we find some interested residents to start what would be known as the Mt. Lebanon Exchange—a place that would be a recycling center that would provide items to those in need living in Mt. Lebanon? Eventually services could be offered including transportation, gardening help, snow shoveling, legal advice, counseling and more. Professionals could offer a service that may not be affordable for some. Our high school students could volunteer as part of their community service requirement.

I know that there are many good people who would like to give their time and talents to create something that benefits others living here.

Yes, there are logistics, liability, staffing and other concerns that need to be addressed, but these concerns are not insurmountable.

I have always been of the opinion that a good idea, well executed, will win out. I’ve seen it happen.

Mt. Lebanon is a good community to live in for many reasons. Let’s make sure that one of those reasons is that it cares for, and takes care of, its own.

My term as commissioner ends at the end of this year. I would be happy to help coordinate an effort that would make the Mt. Lebanon Exchange a reality. Would anyone else like to volunteer?