CATSKILL — Village trustees discussed the upcoming installation of electric car chargers Wednesday night.
By taking this environmentally friendly step, the village will advance toward its bronze designation in the state Department of Environmental Conservation Climate Smart Communities program. The Climate Smart Communities program helps municipalities reduce greenhouse emissions such as carbon dioxide, which can trap heat in the atmosphere and increase the Earth’s temperature.
“This is the first step,” Trustee Gregory Smith said Thursday. “We will get more as there becomes more electric cars.”
The village plans to install two chargers in the municipal lot across from the Community Theatre, Smith said.
The chargers will be purchased at no cost to the village because they are covered by a Main Street Facade grant, said Elizabeth LoGuidice, founder of Resilient Communications and Consulting.
Smith expects the chargers will be installed in September, he said.
Trustees have also discussed the idea of purchasing GEM cars, which are electric recreational vehicles similar to golf carts. Catskill Village President Vincent Seeley has been pushing the proposal.
“There is talk but nothing is decided yet about the GEM car,” Smith said. “That’s Vinnie’s baby.”
Trustee Natasha Law supports the GEM car proposal.
“It’s a great idea,” she said. “We need some way to move people around, especially during events on the weekends. There isn’t enough parking spaces. It’s a great way to show people what the village has to offer.”
The village is also looking into adding bike rack and recycling bins and continuing its efforts to convert the street lights to LED and plant trees throughout the community, Law said.
All of these actions earn the village points toward the bronze level, she said.
Many village improvements also count for the Climate Smart Communities program, LoGiudice said.
“They are working on making sidewalk improvements and trying to make the village more bike-friendly,” she said. “They are also looking into hosting an educational event this fall on climate change and climate adaptation.”
LoGiudice and former Planning Board secretary Nancy Richards met with a representative from the state Energy Research Development Authority in January to explore becoming a Clean Energy Community.
The program requires a municipality complete four out of 10 high action items and many of the improvements from the Climate Smart Communities program would carry over, she said.
Both programs help make local governments eligible for future funding, LoGiudice said.
There are 272 Climate Smart Communities throughout the state, 20 of which have received the bronze level and four have attained silver.
High action items for the Clean Energy Community program achieving a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from municipal buildings; installing electric vehicle charging stations or using alternative-fuel municipal vehicles; solarize clean heating and cooling for municipal buildings; energy code enforcement training; obtaining a Climate Smart Community certification from the state Department of Environmental Conservation; Community Choice Aggregation; Energize New York Finance; creating a unified solar permit; converting street lights to LED; and benching marking, which is to take a measurement of energy use before implementing any energy-saving measures.
LoGiudice said she encourages residents interested in the cause to join the Climate Smart Community committee.