County may join Climate Smart program

Posted 8/13/19

Oneida County legislators are scheduled to consider on Wednesday whether to join the state Climate Smart Communities program. The program is intended to help local governments take action to reduce …

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County may join Climate Smart program

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Oneida County legislators are scheduled to consider on Wednesday whether to join the state Climate Smart Communities program.

The program is intended to help local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate, according to the program’s website. The program offers free technical assistance, grants, and rebates for electric vehicles.

A resolution to join the program is before the Board of Legislators’ Ways and Means Committee, and then the full board, which meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the fifth-floor ceremonial courtroom in the county courthouse, 200 Elizabeth St. in Utica.

Joining requires a community’s governing board to pass a 10-point pledge covering matters such as taking inventory of emissions, planning for climate action, decreasing community energy use and increasing use of renewable energy and enhancing resilience. Among localities who have joined are the city of Rome, the town of New Hartford, village of Boonville and Madison County.

The CSC program is jointly sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the departments of Environmental Conservation, Public Service, State, Transportation and Health.

Among other matters on legislators’ agenda:

A $325,000 appropriation from selling land formerly used for a radio tower in Kirkland toward costs related to delays in rebuilding the Family Court building in Rome as ordered by the state courts agency.

Acceptance of grants, along with matching local appropriations, for design work of a new taxiway connector at the county-owned Griffiss International Airport in Rome. The federal grant is for $140,400 and comes with $7,800 in state aid and requires that amount in local appropriations.

An agreement with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County to provide an Agriculture in the Classroom educator who would visit any classroom upon request. Only four of the county’s 15 school districts provide agriculture education. It’s expected that the county will need to provide the $24,000 annual appropriation for the program. Expanding agriculture education was part of a dairy sustainability plan started last year by County Executive Anthony Picente Jr.

An endorsement of state legislation giving a tax credit to landowners who open their property to snowmobile trails. The legislation has been introduced in several annual sessions of the state Legislature but failed to gain adoption. The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-47th Dist. of Rome.

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