Posted on September 30th, 2022
The Fort Collins Sustainability Group (FCSG) has reviewed both the Fort Collins 2023-2024 Recommended Budget and the staff memorandum dated September 8th, 2022 analyzing the impact of the Recommended Budget on the City’s “Our Climate Future” goals. Staff anticipates that the budget offers recommended for funding will reduce community greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 5.4% from the 2005 baseline. In order to make steady progress to our 2030 goal, we would need to reduce GHG pollution 12% every two years between 2020 and 2030. Therefore, the recommended budget would achieve less than half the necessary reductions for steady progress toward the 2030 goal.
As staff has previously pointed out, not all community GHG emissions reductions can be paid for out of the City budget. We will be interested to see what other initiatives staff believes will help close the gap during the “Our Climate Future” work session scheduled for October 11th.
The following three initiatives that have NOT been recommended for funding may offer opportunities for moving more quickly toward the goal of 80% GHG emissions reductions by 2030. They all have an important equity component in addition to an environmental component. We urge Council to consider bringing them “above the line” prior to final budget approval.
- Offer 1.10: 1.0 FTE Contractual Project Manager & Manufactured Home Efficiency Acceleration Initiative ($376,176 over two years). This offer would help residents of manufactured homes make their homes more energy efficient and healthy, and could provide a springboard to getting more federal government funding for these purposes in future years.
- Offer 27.9: 1.0 FTE Contractual Planner & Electric Vehicle Readiness Program Funding ($237,538 over two years). This offer could catalyze the rapid adoption of EVs in the City and enable our community to obtain more federal funding in the effort to move away from fossil fuel powered transportation.
- Offer 27.11: Mobility Innovation Zones Plan ($150,00 in 2023 only). This offer would help identify ways to help people living in low-density areas of the City access transit options other than private cars. It may also identify opportunities for federal funding to pay for these transit options, which could include bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, and shuttle services.
An important theme in our expression of support for these three unfunded offers is that they include the potential to uncover opportunities for connecting City residents to significant amounts of federal funding that will become available starting next year through the Inflation Reduction Act. A small investment now – these three offers total less than 0.05% of the Recommended 2023 – 24 budget – could provide big dividends later in terms of reducing our community GHG emissions and promoting public health and equity.