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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The city of Longmont received an “A” grade from the Carbon Disclosure Project for its efforts to address climate change at the local level in 2022.

The city of Longmont received an “A” grade from the Carbon Disclosure Project for its efforts to address climate change at the local level in 2022.

A not-for-profit organization, the CDP runs a global disclosure system for cities, states and companies to help manage their environmental impacts, according to its website.

The Longmont City Council reviewed the city’s 2022 Sustainability and Climate Action Report during its regular session Tuesday and was mostly satisfied with the results.

Longmont, which plans to utilize 100% renewable energy by 2030, is on track to meet that goal, according to the report.

The city is also on pace to reduce transportation emissions 40% by 2030 and nearly 100% by 2050, the report said.

“I kind of come from the point of view, if you don’t run the race you can’t win the race,” Councilman Sean McCoy said during Tuesday’s meeting. “In this case here, I think we have to probably keep moving in the right direction.”

While there were mostly encouraging data points in the report presented Tuesday, there was also plenty of room for improvement.

Currently, just 1.6% of registered vehicles in Longmont are electric despite the city wanting to increase the number of zero emission vehicles to 30% by 2030.

Councilwoman Marcia Martin, who is the council liaison to the city’s Sustainability Advisory Board, advocated for additional data modeling and more ambitious goals given that the city has already declared a climate emergency.

“I would sure like to understand why the rest of the Council does not want to raise the bar anymore because I bet the staff wants to,” Martin said.

Legislative bills

In addition to reviewing the Sustainability and Climate Action Report, the City Council weighed in on three bills making their way through the state legislature.

If signed into law, Senate Bill 23-111 would allow certain public employees, such as city workers, to “fully participate in the political process while off duty and not in uniform,” according to a Council memo.

City employees already benefit from several protections included in the bill and staff, in its recommendation to the Council, did not want the state dictating personnel practices at the municipal level and subsequently labeled SB 23-111 “an overreach.”

Citing the need for more local control, the Council also opposed Senate Bill 23-166, which would establish a Wildfire Resiliency Code Board to adopt statewide fire codes and standards.

Staff called the bill “well-intentioned” but preferred local officials making decisions related to fire codes and enforcement.

The Council did support, however, Senate Bill 23-175 that would permit downtown development authorities to extend their tax increment financing arrangements 20 years at a time, specifically for property tax revenue.

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