Germantown and Climate Smart Communities

November 14th, 2020

On Nov 10th at the monthly Town Board meeting, the members discussed enrolling in New York State’s Climate Smart Communities program. To quote NY’s description of the program, “The Climate Smart Communities (CSC) Certification program supports your local government in building a sustainable, balanced climate action program, one step at a time.” The program is a joint effort of seven NY State agencies, and many of our neighboring communities such as Red Hook and Rhinebeck are participating.

The CSC program has over 100 actions in a dozen categories. Completing actions moves the town towards Bronze status, which unlocks grant possibilities. And some of the actions themselves offer grant possibilities. Some actions are things that we’re already doing, like switching to LED streetlights, or hosting a farmer’s market. Others include efficiency upgrades, renewable energy, supporting a green economy, and public education.

Germantown is considering the CSC program at this time because of a privately funded assistance program called Local Champions that is designed to help communities like ours navigate the CSC decision tree. Paige Ruane from Local Champions was present at the board meeting and joined in the discussion. If we are accepted, Local Champions will help us create a path to Bronze, consultation with an engineering firm, consultation from Cornell Cooperative Extension, financial support for the task force leader, and support for a Germantown CSC website.

The next step is to form a volunteer CSC task force. If you’re interested, please write to Kaare Christian kaare@nysite.com by Mon. Nov. 23rd. And if you’d like to be considered for the position of task force chair, let us know. We will schedule a brief zoom meeting during the week of Nov 30th to answer questions. The Local Champions application deadline is Dec 14th, so the town is planning to make its final decision on enrolling at its Dec 8th board meeting.

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