BRISTOL - Bristol is one of the first municipalities in the state to be certified as a â€śSustainable CT communityâ€ť 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 â€śhigh standards in a broad range of sustainability accomplishmentsâ€ť in qualifying for Sustainable CTâ€™s Bronze certification.
She added that, in its application the city documented its â€śsignificant achievements in nine sustainable impact areas.â€ť
â€śThese areas range from thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing,â€ť said Zoppo-Sassu. â€śThe 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.â€ť
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.
â€śWe are inspired by your leadership and eager to share your accomplishments in building efficient, thriving, and resilient communities,â€ť 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 â€śmaximizing the cityâ€™s assets to benefit the bottom lineâ€ť have been a â€śbig priority.â€ť
â€śOne 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,â€ť said Zoppo-Sassu. â€śWe 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.â€ť
Councilor David Preleski, who heads the Ordinance Committee, told how the city has integrated its building maintenance facilities with the Board of Education.
â€śIn 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,â€ť he said. â€śThis 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.â€ť
David Oakes said receiving the recognition is a result of the cityâ€™s â€śtremendous and forward-thinkingâ€ť work in all departments.
â€śThe 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,â€ť said Oakes. â€śThe 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.â€ť
For more information on Sustainable CT, visit sustainablect.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.