Ann Arbor Council Supports Energy Agenda

Three energy-related items were acted on by the Ann Arbor city council at its March 4, 2013 meeting. The council authorized expanded use of its energy fund to support community energy efficiency programs – not just programs to improve municipal energy efficiency. The resolution effecting the change to the fund’s use limits its use for community programs to 20% of the existing fund balance. That balance, according to environmental coordinator Matt Naud, stands at around $400,000. The kind of support the energy fund is intended to provide includes establishing future loan loss reserve funds, providing low-interest loans, and buying down interest rates.

A second energy-related item approved by the council on March 4 was a resolution to prepare the city’s infrastructure systematically to support plug-in electric vehicles. That includes direction to the city staff to review permit processing and zoning codes to ensure that barriers don’t exist to creating plug-in infrastructure. It also includes direction to the fleet services unit to weigh the possibility of making plug-in vehicles a part of the city’s fleet. The resolution also directs that the city collaborate with other organizations like the University of Michigan. The resolution includes a six-month deadline for reporting back to the council on any actions the council needs to take to remove barriers to plug-in readiness.

A third energy-related item on the council’s agenda was a resolution of support for Earth Hour, which takes place this year on March 23. The resolution includes encouragement by city employees to turn off or dim all non-essential lighting in city buildings between 8:30-9:30 p.m. on March 23. The resolution encourages residents to do the same.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]