City and Town of Ithaca Collaborate on Sustainability

Two municipalities share Sustainability Coordinator, who will focus on the implementation of the City’s and Town’s Energy Action Plans...

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Ithaca, NY - The City of Ithaca and the Town of Ithaca are pleased to announce a new collaboration. As of April 1, the two municipalities are sharing a Sustainability Coordinator, who will focus on the implementation of the City’s and the Town’s respective Energy Action Plans, which recommend policies, programs, infrastructure improvements, outreach, and other actions to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, both in government operations and community-wide.

“The actions and projects laid out in the plans have many benefits,” states Sustainability Coordinator Nick Goldsmith, “they will allow the Ithaca community to increase economic vitality and improve the quality of life for citizens, while reducing contributions to climate change.”

The new alliance is exciting, and makes sense for a number of reasons. The sustainability planning efforts of the City and the Town are aligned, both in vision and in time. The Town adopted its Government Energy Action Plan in 2011, and will soon release a Community Energy Action Plan. (Download it at http://tinyurl.com/lhcexgz.) The City adopted its combined government and community Energy Action Plan in December 2013. (Download it at http://tinyurl.com/kyhz6qa.) The plans place a heavy focus on the sectors of transportation, buildings, and energy sources, with the end goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. The shared objectives, along with the complementary geography of the municipalities, will allow for efficient work, where individual projects can be implemented in both locations at once.

The Sustainability Coordinator position has top-level support: in the City Goldsmith works out of the Mayor's Office, in the Town he works out of the Supervisor's Office. “This structure will better enable him to work across departments and to focus solely on sustainability efforts,” believes City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, “both of these aspects will be critical to the success of this project.”

The partnership was made possible by a two-year grant from the Park Foundation, which will fund half of the staff and program costs. After the end of the grant period, it is the intention of the City and the Town to maintain at least the current level of staff capacity for sustainability work. “We are trying to institutionalize sustainability,” says Town of Ithaca Supervisor Herb Engman. “This intermunicipal collaboration will allow both the Town and the City to make progress towards that goal.”

To stay up to date with this project, sign up for the monthly electronic Ithaca Sustainability Newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/k486cx6. For more information, please contact: Nick Goldsmith, Sustainability Coordinator, ngoldsmith@town.ithaca.ny.us, Office: 607-273-1721 x136, Cell: 917-270-1683

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