Nov. 6, 2012 - Voters approve carbon tax to support continuing climate action
Sarah Huntley, Media Relations, 303-579-7614
Andrew Barth, Energy Future, 303-441-1937
Voters approve carbon tax to support continuing climate action
Boulder voters today approved a five-year extension to the Climate Action Plan tax (CAP tax). The existing CAP tax has been in place since 2007 and is collected by Xcel Energy as part of its Boulder customers’ energy bills. The extension will remain in place until March 2018 and will not result in any new taxes.
“The Boulder community has once again proven its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “Boulder remains a strong steward of the environment, and I’m proud of our city for being a leader in the region, the state and the nation.”
Current CAP tax-funded programs and services were developed to help reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions and promote conservation and energy efficiencies. The programs developed include, but are not limited to:
- Commercial and Residential EnergySmart
- 10 for Change
- Small-Building Tune-Ups
- Efficient lighting
- Neighborhood Sweeps
Thanks to these tax-funded programs and other services, the Boulder community has leveled off greenhouse gas emissions and, in some areas, started to achieve modest reductions. This has occurred despite commercial and industrial growth in our community.
The amount of the tax varies according to the sector and usage by each customer. The less energy an individual uses, for example, the less he or she pays in the monthly bill. The average annual cost for residents is $21; the average for businesses is $94; and the average for industrial customers is $9,600.
How will the money be spent?
In June, the city retained The Brendle Group, an external consultant, to determine the best strategies for how future funding should be used. The goal was to evaluate gaps in existing CAP programs and to collect ideas from community stakeholders to enhance existing efforts and create new programs and ways to achieve the best possible results.
The Brendle Report recommended a package of CAP-tax funded programs that builds on existing successful areas, like commercial and residential EnergySmart. The proposal included other new components, as well, such as reserving funds for an open request-for-proposal program that would be used to encourage innovative energy and emissions savings programs each year. Key elements include:
· Consolidating existing commercial programs to make them the cornerstone of the community’s efforts;
· Combining voluntary and mandatory approaches to promote efficiencies;
· Allocating significant funding for creative thinking and innovation around ways to address our energy needs; and,
· Including renewable energy programs for residential, commercial and industrial customers.
In addition, the recommendation calls for the creation of a detailed tracking system to measure each program’s success. Measures of success will include greenhouse gas emissions reductions, but also other targets, such as reductions in vehicles miles traveled. The tracking system will give Boulder residents, business owners and city staff a more complete and timely understanding of the progress that is being made and allow staff to make adjustments as needed to stay on track with the community’s goals.
“With the renewed funding, Boulder will be able to refine existing programs to better support our community’s goal of reducing energy use and keep Boulder at the forefront of local government efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Executive Director of Community Planning and Sustainability David Driskell. “Implementation of the tracking database will ensure that our efforts are reaching the objectives our community has set, improve transparency and allow us to make changes quickly and efficiently if factors call for a new approach. Our community has made tremendous progress over the past five years, and we are poised to make even more significant progress in the next five.”
The Brendle Report can be found at www.BoulderColorado.gov/ClimateAction. Click on “Information about CAP tax renewal” in the middle of the page. Information about all existing CAP-tax funded programs and services is also available on the same website. You can also learn more by contacting the city’s Local Environmental Action Division (LEAD) at 303-441-4900.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:40