Getting “Performance Standards Coordinator” in next year’s City Budget

HburgBudgetSustainability Coordinator, Facility Manager … Performance Standards Coordinator. Let the Council and City Manager know to make this position a budget priority. It will likely pay for itself in financial savings while streamlining and facilitating city efforts to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint for the health of our community and planet. More about the possibilities for this role in this earlier posting.

“… at the Budget work session (February 8, 2014) for City Council, City staff recommended that the next budget include a Facility Manager/Sustainability Coordinator.  The City Manager said he would like that new job to take effect before the budget goes into effect.  The staff circulated the attached beginning thoughts about a job description.  I spoke with Kurt (Hodgen) afterwards and he said they are interested in getting comments about what else should be in the job description or how it should change.  He stressed this is their first effort and expect it to change because they have not done this before.

This is very very good news.  Pete Bsumek and others have been working on this for years and this is a great development.

So, if you have ideas for what should be in the job description then send those to the City Manager.  Also, we should encourage people to use the budget survey at http://beheardharrisonburg.org/surveys/2014-2015-budget-ideas and let the City know that this proposed new job should definitely stay in the budget. The recommendation from City Staff is tremendous but City Council has to know not to remove it.

Truly this is huge.  Great work Pete and all who have been working on this issue.    – Thomas D. Domonoske

More from Tom about this position:

The Comprehensive Plan that was adopted by the City in 2011 had Goal 8:  To preserve and enhance the City’s natural resources and encourage development that is compatible with nature.  It specifically listed adoption of performance standards for the following:  Pollutant discharges into water resources; Air emissions; Erosion and sediment control; Noise exposure limits; Excessive light emissions; Energy use and efficiency;  and Protection of environmental features: floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, sinkholes, tree cover.

Many of our public buildings use far more energy than necessary and do not deliver consistent comfort to the occupants.  A Performance Standards Coordinator would both save the City money and implement the vision in the Comprehensive Plan.

Here is what is in the Comprehensive Plan – see specifically 8.3.1 at the end.

Goal 8. To preserve and enhance the City’s natural resources and encourage development that is compatible with nature.

Objective 8.1 To keep abreast of environmental issues facing the City and to monitor the City’s environmental health.

Strategy 8.1.1 To tap local expertise as available to keep abreast of environmental issues facing the City and to monitor the City’s environmental health.

Strategy 8.1.2 To prepare an annual or biannual “state of the City’s environment” report using compiled data collected by the City, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and other sources and describing and recommending programs to address environmental issues.

Objective 8.2 To develop water and air quality improvement programs to comply with federal and state standards, programs and requirements.

Strategy 8.2.1 To continue to implement the City’s MS4 Phase II storm water management program dealing with improving the quality of storm water runoff.

Strategy 8.2.2 To continue working with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and other partner organizations that implement best management practices to improve stormwater and water quality.

Strategy 8.2.3 To collaborate with Rockingham County and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in developing an air quality improvement plan, should the region be declared to be nonattainment for ozone pollution.

Objective 8.3 To create a set of environmental performance standards for public and private development and redevelopment projects.

Strategy 8.3.1 Using state standards where applicable, to prepare a set of environmental performance standards for all development which may include such issues as:

  • Pollutant discharges into water resources
  • Air emissions
  • Erosion and sediment control
  • Noise exposure limits
  • Excessive light emissions
  • Energy use and efficiency
  • Protection of environmental features: floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, sinkholes, tree cover

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Daily News-Record’s Preston Knight reported about this issue on February 10, 2014:

City Eyes “Green” Keeper: Sustainability Position Would Help Track Carbon Footprint

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Green Network’s request for the city to add a sustainability coordinator may be granted a year after the fact. …

Read the article here: DNRonline _ City Eyes ‘Green’ Keeper.

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