Support an Energy Coordinator position in next year’s Budget

Thank you for signing Sustainable Williston’s letter in support of the Energy Plan this summer. In case you missed the good news, it was adopted — and you helped make that happen! We know that hearing from Williston residents makes a difference to the Selectboard.

Now we need your help again! The Town is now going through its budget setting process for the upcoming fiscal year but hasn’t allocated any funding to hiring an Energy Coordinator, a key element of advancing the Energy Plan’s goals (here’s a one-page summary if you need a reminder!). If this position isn’t funded it’s unlikely that our town will make much progress on our goals and believe it or not Vermont is already well behind other New England states in meeting key energy targets (source). That’s why we need town-level leadership!

The Selectboard may say that we can’t afford the position, but Sustainable Williston believes we can’t afford not to fund it! Climate change won’t wait patiently.

We’re asking you to write a quick email urging funding for an Energy Coordinator to be included in next year’s budget. Below is an email template you can use or adapt. Finding the exact right words is much less important than just writing something that allows your voice to be heard by Williston decision-makers.

Below are some VIP follow up items that apply to EVERYONE regarding requesting funding be allocated to hiring an Energy Coordinator:
1- write an email to Selectboard before Dec 25.
2- plan to comment at Budget Public Hearing Jan 5 (Zoom info will get posted here in early Jan)
3- come to our prep meeting Jan 4 at 7:15pm to craft and practice your statement together (Google Meet link)
4- get your friends to do the same!

Thanks in advance for your support. We’re grateful for you all.

Your neighbors of Sustainable Williston


Subject: Please Fund A Town Energy Coordinator Position

Dear Erik Wells, Williston Selectboard, and Williston Planning Commission,

Thank you for adopting the Energy Plan addendum to the Williston Town Plan. I strongly support our town taking a leadership role in Vermont’s elimination of our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to fully renewable resources. I like how the energy plan attempts to do this with various pathways- transportation and land use, building energy usage, recycling and consumption, renewable energy generation, and agriculture.

The Energy Plan outlines specific goals for the town to achieve. The first and second recommendations are to hire an Energy Coordinator and to establish an Energy Committee. Together, they will “monitor the energy plan pathways to assess progress made against the plan’s stated benchmarks, and make recommendations to alter the pathways to assure that the town will reach its energy goals (p.21).” It is important to start filling these positions in order to move forward with our work as individuals and a community.

I recognize that our town is in a financially strapped situation, due to lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic. I appreciate the work that you are doing to govern through this situation, while maintaining the services that we expect from town leadership and departments. However, I still think that we need to have a town Energy Coordinator in this year’s budget cycle. Given that one of the expectations for the town Energy Coordinator would be to find grant money to support our town efforts, perhaps this will eventually even be a money-saving proposition. Money is available from state and private entities, we just need a paid staff member to be focused on this effort!

I really hope that funding an Energy Coordinator position can be added into next year’s budget.

Thank you,

Williston Energy Plan Summary

Thanks to Marcy Kass for this excellent summary of the Williston Energy Plan. Feel free to share!
Currently the first draft of the Town Budget does not include paying for anything in the Williston Town Energy Plan. So while it was approved by the Selectboard, there’s currently no money in the budget allocated to its recommendations, most notably the Town Energy Coordinator position.
We are rolling up our sleeves in Sustainable Williston to see if we can do some outreach in the community. While funding a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a challenge, as a town, country, and species we can’t afford NOT to do it.

Stay tuned!