Bristol among first cities in state recognized for sustainability

Published on Monday, 8 October 2018 21:23
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

BRISTOL - Bristol is one of the first municipalities in the state to be certified as a “Sustainable CT community” by Sustainable CT.

Sustainable CT is a statewide initiative that supports and recognizes sustainability efforts in Connecticut communities. It was launched last year and recently announced the first group of certified towns.

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said that the town has met “high standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishments” in qualifying for Sustainable CT’s Bronze certification.

She added that, in its application the city documented its “significant achievements in nine sustainable impact areas.”

“These areas range from thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “The city of Bristol successfully completed actions in numerous areas, including supporting the local economy, land and natural resource stewardship, creative cultural ecosystems, dynamic and resilient planning, clean and diverse transportation systems, efficient physical infrastructure and operations, inclusive public services, efficient and diverse housing and inclusive and equitable community impacts.”

Lynn Stoddard, executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, which administers the program, congratulated Bristol and other Sustainable CT communities.

“We are inspired by your leadership and eager to share your accomplishments in building efficient, thriving, and resilient communities,” she said.

Sustainable CT was developed with input from municipal leaders across the state.

The program is independently funded, with significant support from three Connecticut charitable foundations: the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund.

Zoppo-Sassu said energy efficiency and “maximizing the city’s assets to benefit the bottom line” have been a “big priority.”

“One of the first items the new City Council did this year was to accept the energy plan and create an ordinance for a permanent Energy Commission,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “We have staff committed to energy issues and will be working across department lines to implement new procedures and policies as well. I want to take the opportunity to thank the various members of the Energy Task Force that has worked for years to come up with a plan that is reasonable and appropriate for Bristol.”

Councilor David Preleski, who heads the Ordinance Committee, told how the city has integrated its building maintenance facilities with the Board of Education.

“In addition to the elimination of a position, we now have like-minded custodial, mechanical maintenance and other skilled trades working side by side to create efficiencies with Peter Fusco from the Board of Education overseeing both sides,” he said. “This has given us the flexibility to have designated formal energy manager duties to David Oakes, a facilities manager on the City Hall side. I think this will be a win-win for taxpayers and future building projects and renovations.”

David Oakes said receiving the recognition is a result of the city’s “tremendous and forward-thinking” work in all departments.

“The program also provides a roadmap for future areas of improvement for overall efficiency and sustainable practices, which benefit the Bristol community and help reduce operating expenses in the interest to the taxpayer, local businesses, the environment and future generations of Bristol residents,” said Oakes. “The program also shows where Bristol is in relation to other Connecticut municipalities and where we can work together with neighboring towns to improve and reduce our overall footprint on the environment, for which we are responsible. Bristol residents may not be aware of the hard work being done pertaining to resilience and sustainability, this is an opportunity to shine a light on those many efforts, which should be recognized and commended.”

For more information on Sustainable CT, visit sustainablect.org.

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Monday, 8 October 2018 21:23. Updated: Monday, 8 October 2018 21:26.