Collaborating on Climate Change

Collaborating on Climate Change

Last updated on August 22nd, 2022

Collaboration between municipalities is growing in popularity and proving highly beneficial, especially for smaller cities or municipalities.

One area showing good potential for positive results stemming from collaboration is climate change action planning.

In the face of increasing flood dangers that have plagued many counties across the state, the Westchester County Board of Legislators is one of the latest local governments putting climate change at the forefront of their agendas.

The Board unanimously passed a measure at a meeting earlier this summer which will go into effect in mid-August to require property owners to disclose the flood history of a building prior to the signing of a lease with a tenant. The measure applies to both residential and commercial leases.

In 2021, Suffolk County and Westchester County announced a shared services partnership to procure electric vehicles (EV) to tackle climate change and reduce fossil fuel consumption. The two counties seek to partner with additional counties and local governments across New York that want to participate in this green initiative and combine purchasing power to save taxpayer dollars.

Martha Sauerbrey, President of the New York State Association of Counties describes this partnership as an example of how counties are at the forefront of public policy in New York.

“This innovative collaboration between two of New York’s largest counties to invest in zero-emission vehicles is an exciting example of the vital role counties play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the state meet its ambitious clean energy goals,” said Sauerbrey. “Initiatives like this, coupled with enhanced rebates that counties fought for in the budget, can provide local governments with the financial resources and incentives needed to convert their substantial fleets to zero-emission electric vehicles.”

The Suffolk County Energy and Climate Action Office, for one, identifies opportunities for improved energy policies for the County and coordinates with the Department of Public Works to execute and implement those policies, a coordinated effort many other communities are looking into. Many parts of the state are also joining the Climate Smart Communities program, which enables localities to act on climate without mandating which programs or policies they should adopt. The program offers free technical assistance, grants, and rebates for electric vehicles. In September 2020, Beacon became the first city in Dutchess County to be named a silver-certified Climate Smart Community.

The overarching theme as we approach 2023 is a heightened awareness of climate change and the impact it has on a local level, especially in light of recent federal climate legislation. As local governments continue to engage and educate residents, it will become even more fiscally beneficial to consider all tools and programs available to further the goal of reducing energy costs and making county buildings and fleet more energy efficient.

It is these forward-thinking government investments that lead to an increase in the overall quality of life for county residents, support for the growing green energy sector of the local economy, and energy cost reduction to the taxpayers. If your municipality is ready to explore cost savings options our dedicated team of professionals is here to help with strategic planning, assistance with cash management, debt management, and everything in between. Give us a call today.