What are your sustainability goals for Simsbury? (please limit your answer to 250 words)
The question we need to ask ourselves is “What is the community as a whole willing to pay for now to protect the needs in the future?”. That varies from person to person, depending on their available resources, their age, and their commitment to the environment. This is something our boards and commissions need to balance as we make decisions for our community, and it is not always easy.
With the pandemic, we approved the use of federal funds to make HVAC improvements to schools and buildings, as air quality and the ability to use these dollars for those improvements, were key factors. This was not a move to renewable, but it was an improvement to older systems, creating more efficiency, which ultimately benefited the student population.
Our Public Works Department includes an ask for an Energy Manager on their ‘wish list’, but it did not rise to a recommendation from the Town Manager, or our board, as we were faced with other hiring needs and operating costs. I think it would be great to have an Energy Manager, if cost were not an option, but again, we are forced to make choices for our taxpayers and in every budget cycle there are competing needs for these dollars. We somehow have to create a lens to look at both the now and the future in all of our decisions and to be able to not force our residents to bear the total cost.
One goal I have would be to investigate all federal and state opportunities for funding sustainability initiatives, as we are all on the same planet and some of the burden to keep it in working condition should come from more than just our local taxpayers.