Environment & Energy Commission
City of Columbia & Boone County
Daniel Boone Building, Third Floor Conference Room
Minutes of Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Vice Chair Jean Sax called the meeting to order. Members present: Jean Sax, Bob Walters, Liz Deken, Nan Collins, Norm Lenhardt, John Miles, Frank Cunningham, Alyce Turner, Karl Skala, and staff liaison Jay Hasheider Members absent: Andrew Spain, Jerry Wade Guests: Richard Parker
Minutes: John would like to amend Brenda's name to include her last name, Canady. Bob advised we include the phrase “about our climate control recommendations”... 3. Alyce asked that we change line 3 to “official representative of the EEC for this issue.” Bob moved to accept minutes as amended, John seconded – all approved.
Agenda: John Miles asked to add one item, “measures of energy efficiency.” Motion to approve inclusion by Bob, approved unanimously.
Discussion of Agenda Items
- Leah Dale from Central Missouri Community Action came to speak on behalf of her boss who could not attend our meeting today. Leah advised that the CMCA covers an 8 county region, and the weatherization program runs all year long. This is a free program for low income families that are at or below 150% of the poverty line, and eligibility is determined based on the previous 6 months income. Some of the included services are caulking, weather stripping, tuning up or replacing furnaces, insulation, repairing or replacing broken doors and windows. They have inspectors that look for lead based paint, test for carbon monoxide poisoning, and a few other potentially hazardous situations. They attempt to keep the waiting list below 12 months. They give priority to applicants over 60 years of age, and those with small children; it is not first come first serve. The program is funded by Ameren UE and federal grants. The timing from application to completion is generally 4 months. Frank mentioned that landlords must sign a document that states they can not evict the renter or raise rates for one year after the weatherization has occurred. Alyce inquired about why the program doesn't generally cover window screens, considering their benefit for preventing disease and allowing for low cost cooling. Frank pointed out the $600 limit on miscellaneous materials and having to make the most necessary choices. Nan wanted to know if they had a program to allow volunteers to help with the weatherization program. Leah said in the 5 years she has been there they have not. She advised that there has been talk of integrating with some other community agencies and perhaps increasing volunteer involvement. Alyce asked about client education, and Leah advised that they do receive some while the home is being weatherized, and that there is always some available at the CMCA office if the client chooses to come in. She also advised that starting each September they have a Life Skills class, that covers energy savings, home care, etc that will help clients save energy and money. Norm asked about the possibility of getting funds to convert homes to passive solar, and Leah advised she really didn't know about the possibility of that. Bob inquired if the program had been featured on Channel 13, and Leah advised it had not. Jean asked whether the weatherization program was mainly focused on renters or homeowners, and Leah advised that it is intended equally for both. Jean asked for what the barriers might be to getting this program to more people, and Leah advised that she thinks the program is under advertised, or it is not a high priority for the families. Their goal is to increase production when they get new grants for funding. Frank wanted to know if it would be appropriate to contact City Council and Water & Light (W&L) Dept. to encourage them to match funds or promote this program, and the EEC general agreement was that would be a good idea, but that the recommendation should go to the Council only. Alyce suggested that making specific suggestions, like including CFLs would be ideal. Norm asked if they were using all the monies they had available and Leah said she didn't do the budget so she really didn't know. Frank agreed he would draft a letter to submit to the City Council regarding this matter.
- Elections: Karl Skala and Liz Deken both were nominees for Chair. Liz Deken was elected the new Chair. Jean Sax and Karl Skala were the two nominees for Vice Chair. Karl Skala was elected the new Vice Chair. By unanimous proclamation John Miles was nominated the new Secretary. Jay Hashieder did all the ballot counting.
- Jean was contacted by Boone County Commission and advised that they have not received a report. Jean, with Jay's help, put together a summary report for submission and advised it is only a draft. June 15 Jean attended one of their meetings and presented this draft to them, with the advisement that it still needs approval from the EEC. Jean advised she would work with Liz and Karl to bring them up to speed to get this back on track going forward. Bob asked to clarify that Jean spoke with Karen Miller, Skip Elkin, and Keith Schnarre – she said she did. Karl states he remembers sending a report to the commission and that every report we send to the City Council should be cc:ed to the County Commission. Karl advised that the city clerk used to handle getting these reports distributed, but that he understood that Water & Light took this over. Jay advised they have a repository of documents. Both Liz and Bob advised they have all the archived minutes and we can put together a report from those as needed. Karl advised the question is what format do we want. Do we want to recapitulate who we've invited, what we've discussed, what our actions are, etc, or just our recommendations to the City Council. Bob suggested that we list chronologically, by month, perhaps. Jean advised she only followed the format Andrew used. Jay advised that the agenda and minutes are copied to the Boone County Commission each month, but he can not say whether or not they got the report. Frank asked if the County commission had any requests for us or anything they would like to see, and Jean said the only thing was they had a comment regarding development being a growing concern. We are missing 12/04-04/05 activities and reports. Karl pointed out, and Liz confirmed that the ordinances state only that we provide an annual report to the City Council. Jay advised that he will only send information on if the EEC requests him so to do, since about a year ago. Bob asked why we couldn't send documents via email to interested parties, and Jay said he would like to know that they wanted to receive documents this way. Bob offered to research this with the Commission and see what they need. The EEC agreed that this would be desirable.
- Karl attended the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting last month to interact with them and discuss the outdoor lighting issue. June 19th P&Z held a public meeting and invited any and all to discuss this issue. Karl introduced himself and advised he would answer any questions regarding the reports the EEC filed on this issue in times past. The P&Z commission decided to have two more public meetings on this issue and discussed inviting all interested parties, to perhaps include the EEC, to these meetings. Karl introduced a draft of a letter to P&Z requesting an invitation to be formally involved in their process as regards the outdoor lighting issue. Alyce motioned to approve the draft letter and nominate Karl as the EEC representative on this issue, seconded and approved with one amendment to the letter.
- Karl advised that the City Council has referred the issue of land disturbance, or more specifically revision of the tree ordinances, to city staff. Karl summarized the information transmitted to Gay Bumgarner for us stating that mostly it comes down to reviewing waterways and conferring with the Dir. Of Public Works, as the current process for getting land use approved. He advised that at this time there are really no guidelines regarding cut and fill, or any other specific guidelines. He advised that perhaps there should be a shared responsibility between Public Works and Development, or even creating a new oversight entity to remove from the Dir. Of Public Works the complete jurisdiction regarding this matter. John suggested that we request from Public Works specifically what guidelines are currently in place. The EEC asked that Karl send a letter to John Glasscock requesting their guidelines either with a speaker or a letter to the EEC. Karl advised he would prepare a draft letter to present at the next meeting.
- Alyce reported that there are several new reports, one on CNN and another from the Surgeon General's Report, condemning second hand smoke and providing further strength to the ban on public smoking. She stated that if the City Council could either accept the report and do nothing, accept and put on the ballot, or schedule a public hearing on this, but in any case she can not get info on when it might actually be put on the ballot. Alyce received approval from the EEC to draft a new letter and submit in order to try and get this on the ballot. Alyce encouraged commissioners to contact their representatives to encourage getting this on the ballot. Nan advised she is going to contact Jeannie Rogers with CHA regarding smoking in public housing.
- Liz reported on car pooling in CPS high schools, advising that at this time neither school has made any progress but has indicated they are interested in so doing. After some discussion, the EEC suggested that Liz contact the staff persons affiliated with Key Club and Student Government for each school and approach the staff asking to approach the student groups with this topic. Liz agreed to do so.
- John found energy efficiency measurements per some research he did. He found the International Energy Agency keeps track of average energy usages per country, and feels that perhaps Columbia could use the same formulas and guidelines to track and compare usages year to year. He advised another report stated that the national average usages per person is 12,000 kwh per year per capita, yet 6,500 is the average for California per some major changes they made several decades ago. Liz pointed out the MU Dept. of Engineering has information on average kwh usages per home in Boone County. John would like to see this information captured by W&L and published year to year for public use as a benchmark for progress. Nan pointed out that based on international comparisons the US is very behind in national interest in conservation.
Member Comments and New Business
Jay had two announcements. First was that Al Gore's “Inconvenient Truth” is coming to Columbia, if anyone is interested. He also advised that W&L is having a “Be Cool” event to help teach about weatherization to residents in North Columbia.
John wanted to thank Jean Sax for serving as Vice Chair and stepping in as Chair for the past several months, and thank Liz Deken for doing an excellent job as Secretary. Jean also wanted to thank Jay Hashieder for all his continued help.
Liz announced that she would be out of the country for the next three weeks and asked if Karl would put together the agenda for the upcoming meeting.
Nan motioned to adjourn, Bob seconded. Approved unanimously at 8:54 pm.