City Council Meeting: November 27, 2007

Agenda Item: 1-J

To:                   Mayor and City Council 

From:              Craig Perkins, Director - Environmental & Public Works Management

Subject:          Green Cities California Sustainability Resolution

 

Recommended Action

Staff recommends that the City Council adopt the attached Green Cities California Sustainability Resolution expressing Santa Monica’s commitment to work cooperatively with other California local governments to accelerate local, regional, national and international efforts to achieve sustainability.

 

Executive Summary

By adopting the Green Cities California Sustainability Resolution the City of Santa Monica would be joining the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and Sacramento and the county of Marin to create Green Cities California.  This group, representing over 8 million residents in the state of California, would work together to accelerate sustainability efforts from the local to international levels.  Adoption of the resolution requires the City to commit to working with the other member cities to:

1)     influence state and federal policy to promote sustainability and promote funding of local sustainability initiatives;

2)     assist other local governments throughout California and the country to adopt and implement sustainable practices; and

3)     adopt and implement several specific initiatives within City operations to promote sustainability.

All of these commitments are consistent with existing City Council adopted policy and most of the commitments have already been fulfilled or are currently being pursued by the City.  It is anticipated that participation in the Green Cities California would benefit Santa Monica 1) through the assistance from other member cities in development of sustainability programs and policies, 2) through the adoption of state and federal legislation consistent with existing city policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air and water quality and community quality of life, and 3) through increased access to funds for local sustainability projects from various government agencies and foundations.  The financial impacts of adopting this resolution involve a voluntary contribution of $5000 to help establish the Green Cities California organization and to fund initial outreach efforts.  Funds in this amount are currently available in the Environmental Programs Division FY 2007-08 budget.

Background

In May 2007 Environmental Programs Division staff participated in a meeting with representatives from Marin County and from the cities of Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Berkeley, San Jose, and Sacramento.  The purpose of the meeting was to identify ways that local governments could work together to advance the goals of sustainability that each are individually pursuing. The meeting was funded by the Blackstone Ranch Institute, a foundation dedicated to advancing sustainable practices. 

 

At a follow-up meeting held in Santa Monica in October 2007 the group met to further discuss ideas and plans for working together, and to prepare a draft a resolution announcing the formation of Green Cities California which outlines the commitments of involved in becoming a member of the group.  The final draft resolution is attached to this staff report.

  

Discussion

By signing the Green Cities California Sustainability Resolution, the City of Santa Monica would be making the following three commitments:

  1. Work together with other Green Cities California members to influence State and National policy to promote:
    • Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions
    • Extended Producer Responsibility
    • Sustainable Land Use, Building and Development
    • Waste Reduction
    • Water Conservation
    • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    • Reduction in Vehicle Miles Traveled and Single Occupancy Vehicles
    • Equitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens;

and to secure State and Federal funding to enhance the ability of local governments to accomplish these goals.

 

  1. Assist other local governments throughout the state and the nation to adopt and implement sustainable policies and practices

 

  1. Work to achieve the initial actions listed below for municipal operations:
    • Action 1: Purchase of “100% post-consumer recycled” paper for all City operations
    • Action 2: Elimination of the purchase of bottled water for City operations and City sponsored events
    • Actions 3 – 5: Develop and adopt:

·        A campaign for the municipal purchase of local California foods

·        A carbon offset plan for municipal air travel

·        Fuel efficiency standards for municipal vehicle fleets

 

Commitments 1 and 2: These commitments are fully consistent with current City policy as detailed in the Santa Monica Sustainable City Plan (SCP) which was originally adopted by Council in September 1994, with updated versions adopted in February 2003 and October 2006.  Committing to these actions will not require any financial commitment or additional staff resources, and would likely result in long term benefits to the City, including possible State and Federal funding for sustainability projects in Santa Monica.  Since the adoption of the SCP the City has been working both on its own and with other local government agencies to influence State and National policy to promote sustainability, and has been assisting other local governments throughout the country with the development, adoption and implementation of sustainability initiatives. 

 

Commitment 3: This commitment involves the completion of five specific actions within Santa Monica’s municipal operations.  The intent of this commitment is to have all of the members of Green Cities California complete these actions and then publicize them as a group in order to highlight the specific environmental problems that they address and encourage other local governments across the country to begin to take similar actions. Each of the five actions are consistent with current City policy, as they are intended to reduce waste, energy use, water use and/or greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The City has already completed Action 1 regarding the purchase of recycled paper.  The City’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy has specified the purchase of 100% post-consumer recycled paper for all City operations since 2004.

 

The City does not have a policy in place regarding the purchase of bottled water for use within the City or for City sponsored functions.  The purpose of adopting such a policy would be to reduce the environmental impacts related to bottled water including greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation of the water and the waste and litter associated with single use water bottles. Completion of this action would require development and adoption of an administrative policy at the staff level and implementation would likely result in long term cost savings to the City through the elimination of the purchase of delivered bottled water and avoidance of the premium costs for individual single use water bottles.

 

Actions 3 – 5 require the development and adoption of programs and policies regarding the municipal purchase of local California foods, a carbon offset plan for municipal air travel (which would require the City to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by air travel of its employees and elected officials through the purchase of carbon credits, or through local actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions), and fuel efficiency standards for municipal vehicle fleets.  Details of these programs and policies will be developed in cooperation with other Green Cities California members over the coming year.  Each of these programs is consistent with current City policy and could be completed administratively at the staff level.  In the event that any of the policies were to require significant budgetary expenses to implement staff will return to City Council for approval prior to implementation.

 

 

Financial Impacts & Budget Actions

Adoption of the Green Cities California Sustainability Resolution involves a voluntary contribution of funding by each member city to establish the organization and fund initial outreach campaigns.  Staff recommends that the City of Santa Monica contribute $5000 to this effort for FY 2007-2008.  This money is currently budgeted and available in the Environmental Programs Division account # 31662.522900.  In the event any funding is required for future participation in this group or for implementation of any of the commitments outlined above, staff will return to City Council with specific requests, either individually or as part of  future budget requests.

 

Prepared by:

Dean Kubani, Environmental Programs Manager

 

Approved:

 

Forwarded to Council:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Perkins, Director

Environmental and Public Works Management

 

P. Lamont Ewell

City Manager

 

 

Attachment:    Resolution