Southold Town is considering signing a pledge to become a “Climate Smart Community,” a program sponsored by the state Department of Environmental Conservation that helps towns reduce carbon emissions, protect shorelines and provide flood insurance rate reductions for residents.
David Bert of Cameron Engineering was hired by the State Energy Research and Development Authority to help towns implement the program.
He told the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session that the state is making $30 million available to municipalities in each of the next three years to help combat climate change.
“There’s certainly more emphasis coming out of Albany on that these days,” Mr. Bert said, referring to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strong stance on fighting climate change.
Mr. Bert said the competitive grant program will likely begin this summer and communities that sign on to the pledge will receive more points toward their grant applications.
In the pledge, the town would agree to prepare a climate action plan, which Cameron Engineering could help the town develop at NYSERDA’s expense. The firm also provides mapping assistance.
Program organizers are planning a workshop on alternative fuels for municipal vehicle fleets on the East End on April 25, which will include a discussion of potential charging and fueling stations.
One of the ancillary benefits of signing the pledge, Mr. Bert said, is that it enables the town to qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating Program, which can help property owners get discounts ranging from 5 to 45 percent.
“There are a few municipalities on the island that do participate,” he said, adding that some of Southold’s public awareness programs and new building codes already in place would make residents eligible for discounts.
“It’s quite a process, but it’s useful,” he said.
PRESERVE NAMED FOR STOUTENBURGH
Also on Tuesday, board members approved renaming Arshamomaque Pond Preserve on Route 25 in Southold as the Paul Stoutenburgh Preserve, after the longtime North Fork environmentalist.
After learning of the honor, Mr. Stoutenburgh and his wife, Barbara, suggested the following wording for a plaque to be placed on a rock at the entrance to the park:
“With knowledge and the will to do what’s right, our world will blossom and keep on returning to us the delicate fragrance of May pinks in the woods, a spring run of flounder for dinner and ospreys to delight our heart and spirit.”
A public ribbon-cutting will be scheduled for this spring.