Responses to Unanswered Public Forum Questions (click question to see answers)
The initial proposal is for a property tax, what considerations are being considered when making that decision?
The final decision on the funding mechanism for this proposal will be determined by City Council and they will receive a presentation from staff in late March outlining the options for funding along with the benefits and challenges of each option. Factors under consideration include the City’s legal taxation authority, impact to low-income residents, ability to produce a stable source of funding, ability to disincentivize the use of fossil fuels, and other considerations.
Staff will provide an overview to City Council of potential funding mechanisms for the Climate Action Fund on March 28th for their consideration.
Given that solar provides 0% energy during 6pm in winter, what are the city's renewable energy solutions that will sustain reliable energy supply in those situations?
The City is looking at renewable energy options that will allow for 100% renewable energy on an annual net basis. For example, when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, wind and solar resources may overproduce relative to City needs. The amount produced that exceeds City needs would be banked for use when conditions are not right for wind and solar and these resources underproduce relative to City needs. In a period of underproduction, City needs are always backed up by dispatchable resources on the grid including electricity derived from the combustion of natural gas and coal.
Why not bring the PUD into the joint climate efforts being coordinated across other local jurisdictions (informally known as the Joint CAT)?
The City of Bellingham has signed an interlocal agreement with the Whatcom County Public Utility District #1 to explore securing renewable energy for the community.
How can I find out more about which organizations participated in and the information gathered during the focus groups and public forums
A summary report will be made available in early March. The report will be available on the Engage Bellingham page and Climate Action Fund webpage.
Do you feel there is a disconnect between the carbon reduction goal and not opposing the DNR Bessie Sorts in our impaired Lake Whatcom watershed?
The Mayor provided an update on the Washington State Department of Natural Resources proposal to proceed with the Bessie Sorts timber sale during the February 28th City Council meeting. The Mayor spoke to the Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, who offered a site visit for the Mayor, council and staff. The Mayor reported that the DNR has temporarily paused the sale until further notice. The update can be viewed in the February 28 City Council meeting recording (starting at 39:10).
How will homeowners or property owners access the programs created by this funding?
There are a number of programmatic designs being considered for the Fund including partnering with non-profit organizations and/or private industry to run programs on behalf of the City, or programs may be run by the City itself. Program concepts will be brought forward for public consideration the Fund is being developed.