Select Sidearea

Populate the sidearea with useful widgets. It’s simple to add images, categories, latest post, social media icon links, tag clouds, and more.

Lisa Heavner

What are your sustainability goals for Simsbury? (please limit your answer to 250 words)

I believe that that no challenge poses a greater threat to the planet and future generations than climate change.

For a Board of Finance, climate change looms as a threat to businesses and residents who may suffer the economic impacts of global warming, and on whom the we depend for property tax dollars. In this way, awareness of climate change creates an added imperative that we use our resources efficiently. For example, sustainability should be a standard consideration for all capital projects, evaluating the total cost. In many cases, increased initial costs can lead to long-term savings, making the total investment both cost efficient and environmentally sound. We need to think long-term, not just on each year’s budget.

As a former First Selectman and member of the Board of Finance, I have long advocated for incorporating a fiscal impact analysis for all new development projects and for financial long-term planning. I strongly support the Plan of Conservation and Development’s recommendation for fiscal impact analysis of all new development so the town can properly evaluate not only grand list dollars coming in, but also environmental and social impacts that may lead to long-term costs.

Currently, our town and school buildings heat with fossil fuels (e.g., natural gas and oil). What plans do you have to transition them from fossil fuels to renewable sources? (please limit your answer to 250 words)

For existing buildings, it is essential that we focus on energy efficiency as a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and shifting remaining energy needs to clean energy. Simsbury has successfully invested in many energy efficient upgrades like efficient mechanics, window and lighting upgrades and solar energy installations. Similar investments should receive priority funding going forward.

Many of Simsbury’s schools and other buildings are at the age where we will need to renovate and upgrade. As each project is considered, the town should thoroughly evaluate how best, from a sustainability focus, to heat and cool the buildings and should consider setting energy and efficiency standards.

All towns face the challenge of insufficient resources, so it’s essential we find a way to prioritize the funding of projects that yield the longest long-term benefits. I support funding an analysis to establish the appropriate balance between energy efficiency and cost effectiveness, using data and performance measures. Energy transitions that are cost effective in the long-run should be prioritized for funding. The town should make a concerted effort to secure federal and state grants to lessen the reliance on the property tax to fund these efforts and for equity considerations.

What plans do you have to transition our town and school fleet of cars, trucks, and school buses to electric vehicles? (please limit your answer to 250 words)

The transition to electric vehicles involves a major change in cultural, technical and operational terms, involving the re-training of employees and investments in infrastructure and new tools and supplies. Not only can the transition to EV’s be beneficial to the environment, it also has the potential to reduce maintenance costs in the long run. Because the transition is not simple, it will require a communication strategy and long-term implementation planning – I would support funding for both.

I support a phased timeline for conversion and a multi-pronged procurement strategy, including using EVs for some departments, targeting hybrid vehicles for other uses, and finding renewable diesel vehicles for trucks and other heavy uses.

I also support continued investment in open spaces and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure to reduce the overall need for vehicle use, to reduce emissions, and for public health. Simsbury has been a leader in sustainable infrastructure and conservation and is currently implementing its Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and its Parks and Open Space Master Plan. I support the continued priority of these investments.

As a member of the Board of Finance, will you consider investments in energy efficiency and clean energy that entail higher up-front cost but long-term savings? (please limit your answer to 250 words)

Yes. The Board of Finance has traditionally taken a long-term view, advocating for years the value of “spend to save” investments to protect the long-term fiscal health of the town. As Board of Finance Chair, I have continued that tradition. Simsbury has seen this approach produce efficiency and savings. For example, the town converted its streetlights to energy efficiency lighting, leading to a reduction in yearly operating costs even though the return on investment took several years – well worth the investment when measuring the investment over time.