Carol Stream slow to warm to Cool Cities concept
A list of goals for environmental stewardship may have merit, Carol Stream officials say, but there may not be the money to pay for their implementation.
Local environmentalist and longtime resident Jan Smith has been lobbying Village President Frank Saverino and trustees to adopt a resolution in support of the 2015 goals of the Illinois Cool Cities Coalition, an outgrowth of the Sierra Club whose supporters encourage local governments to take steps to reduce climate change. Smith heads the group's Carol Stream chapter.
But the village board this week unanimously agreed to table the resolution at the request of Trustee Don Weiss, who said trustees and staff need to take a closer look at the Cool Cities Local Sustainability Protection Agreement at next year's village goal-setting meetings.
"There are probably about 20, maybe 25 steps in this agreement that really need to be put into our overall plan of operations for the coming year," Weiss said. "This is so extensive and there's so much involved here, this needs to be studied ... we don't know what the costs are to village operations to enact some of these things -- that hasn't been presented."
Some of the initiatives suggested include implementing incentives and policies to encourage electric vehicle use and purchasing only Energy Star equipment for city use.
Smith said she was discouraged the board voted to table the resolution, since it is not binding, but a "statement of intention that we want to do some of these things."
"I wish they could understand it's an intention of doing what they can with what they have," she said.
Smith said Saverino promised her he would sign the agreement when she first approached him about it at a Town Center concert in July. "I was thrilled," she said.
But Saverino says he didn't know there would be a vote to table until it happened.
"I didn't know it was coming. I thought it would've had an up-or-down vote," Saverino said. "If (Weiss) didn't pull it off (the consent agenda), we probably would've voted and it probably would've passed."
Saverino only votes to break ties on the village board.
But he said he agrees with Weiss that the village should be careful how it spends its limited funds.
"To commit to what we commit to, you have to have the money to do it. There was a fear by trustees, 'Could we afford what they want us to do?' Some towns are buying equipment for thermal imaging. I don't have the money to do that," Saverino said.
In 2005, then-Village President Ross Ferraro signed the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement. In a memo to the village board, Village Manager Joe Breinig said the village has tried to address the goals "to the extent practical and to the extent resources are available."
Smith lauded the board for approving an electric aggregation contract that will supply 100 percent green energy credits to residents and businesses who do not opt out of the program. Indeed, one of the Cool Cities goals encourages aggregation of the community's energy consumption to provide a "green option" for residents.
The village board goal setting meetings are scheduled for next summer or early fall, Breinig said.
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