Egg Harbor City Commission Approves Community Energy Plan and Discusses Environmental Initiatives

In a recent meeting, the Egg Harbor City Commission made strides towards environmental sustainability. The commission also tackled a variety of initiatives, from energy efficiency programs and tree protection ordinances to the preservation of historical sites and collaborative educational projects.

The community energy plan’s adoption is a move towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting cleaner energy sources within the city. The plan includes the installation of solar panels on municipal buildings, upgrading facilities at City Hall, and transitioning to LED street lighting. To facilitate these changes, the commission is considering applying for state funding, as projects focusing on electric vehicles and charging stations are likely to be favored with an additional 10 approval points from the Board of Public Utilities.

In addition to the energy plan, the commission discussed participating in the Regional Cedar Creek’s direct install program, which could result in significant energy upgrades. Nanette Galloway proposed a collaboration with the local school district and the city to secure a federal grant that would fund energy improvements, emphasizing the inclusion of solar arrays and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Galloway’s initiative reflects the commission’s broader commitment to sustainability.

The commission also highlighted the success of the Commercial Energy Outreach initiative, which partners with Atlantic City Electric to incentivize local businesses to improve energy efficiency. The program, covering up to 80% of the upfront costs and offering 0% financing for the remaining amount, has seen a positive response, with three entities expressing their intention to apply.

On a conservation note, the commission is pushing forward with the development of a tree protection ordinance. This ordinance aims to balance stormwater management needs and conserve the city’s tree canopy. The ordinance is currently under review by the City attorney, and the commission is considering hiring a Consulting arborist and reestablishing a shade tree committee. A public meeting to discuss the ordinance was proposed to ensure community involvement and address any potential concerns proactively.

The commission’s dedication to environmental conservation also extends to educational collaboration. They discussed a partnership with Cedar Creek High School, involving students in a water testing initiative. While there were safety concerns for students testing water in creeks, the commission recognized the educational benefits and the potential to earn points towards Sustainable Jersey certification.

Furthermore, the commission is working on obtaining Sustainable Jersey certification, which necessitates completing various actions. Points for certification could be gained through initiatives such as the road salt assessment program and the aforementioned water testing with Cedar Creek High School.

Another topic addressed was the budget revision for a forestry grant. Due to receiving $1 million instead of the requested $1.4 million, the commission needed to prioritize tree maintenance and consider cutting plans to remove invasive species, as well as reallocating certain expenses. This budgetary challenge underlines the commission’s commitment to managing resources effectively while maintaining environmental goals.

The commission also showed its support for local heritage through restoration and preservation efforts for a historic grave site. This plan includes installing benches, cleaning the gravestone, and researching the site’s history, with allocated funds for the Historical Society to aid their research.

The Egg Harbor City SustainableEHC initiative brought forth a discussion on the Pinelands Preservation Alliance’s grant for installing rain gardens. These gardens, designed to reduce pollutants entering City Lake Park’s waterways, sparked a debate on the feasibility and maintenance of such projects. While concerns about the reliance on volunteers for long-term upkeep were raised, the potential environmental benefits were also acknowledged, with suggestions for engaging community organizations like the Boy Scouts in maintenance efforts.

Lastly, the commission showed interest in regional politics by planning to attend a candidates’ meeting for the US Senate.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Lisa Jiampetti
Environmental Commission Officials:
Nanette Galloway, Jodi Kahn (Chief Financial Officer)

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