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MN WI Comparison

MN WI Comparison

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Green Tier Legacy Communities Steering Committee

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July 30, 2012 Version 1

GREEN TIER

Sample Comparison Major Features of Statewide Community Sustainability Programs In Minnesota and Wisconsin

Item 1. Description • Program name • Homepage 2. Program support • Staff directly supporting the program

Minnesota Minnesota GreenStep Cities Program http://www.MnGreenStep.org

Wisconsin Green Tier Legacy Communities Charter http://www.lwm-info.org/index.asp?SEC=927028DF21E5-4234-A853-88028D256226&Type=B_BASIC .5 FTE DNR employee (Executive Committee member + Resource Team members); .75 FTE from NGOs (Executive Committee members).

• GreenStep Cities - 1 FTE PCA employees (0.75 on GreenSteps; 0.25 on building improvements); 1.0 FTE from nonprofit organizations in GreenStep Cities working (or steering) committee. • NextSteps (related statewide sustainable communities network) - 0.5 FTE PCA employee. • The state’s General Fund supports the PCA employees. • In addition to position salaries and benefits, $2,000 for recognition materials (raised from donations from businesses). • Partners - representatives of 7 NGOs and state agencies, serve on program’s working committee. • Advisors - state agency and other experts on specific sustainability practices. • Only cities may join, though a city may collaborate and report with a township or school district (only a few participating cities have collaborated with school districts). • The working committee is considering development of

• Program budget and funding sources

• The state’s General Fund supports the DNR employees. • Contributions from NGOs

• Other support (e.g., NGOs)

Representative of 5 NGOs who are members of the charter.

4. Participating communities • Eligible communities • Municipalities (cities, villages and towns) • No counties or special purpose units of government.

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Item Minnesota GreenStep programs for townships and for counties and tribes. • Current number of members • Membership goal 49 cities (as of July 26, 2012). • Goal of 75 cities by June 30, 2012. 7 municipalities (as of July 26, 2012). • 10 municipalities by December 31, 2012. Wisconsin

• Program staff hopes to enroll 15 to 20% of the 855 cities
in Minnesota; that level of enrollment should provide a tipping point that induces many other cities to use the GreenStep framework but not join.

• How recruit new communities?

• Mainly via word-of-mouth and 1 on 1 recruitment. Regional staffs of the Clean Energy Resource Teams and the Isaac Walton League help with recruitment. • A few regional workshops on the program have been offered to cities. • Each member city is classified into 1 of 3 categories (A, B, or C) based on 11 questions, including questions on number of city staff, departments and public buildings; wastewater and drinking water systems; and proximity to urban areas. No question on the city’s population. • “C” category is for most rural cities with fewest facilities and services. • For 49 current cities, 3 are C cities, 17 are B cities, and 29 are A cities.

• Mainly via word-of-mouth and 1 on 1 recruitment.

• Target size of communities (by population or other measures)

• No formal target size or system for classifying municipalities.

• Current distribution of member communities by size 5. Operation • How is the program governed?

Municipalities range in population from 487 to 72,623 (2010 Census).

• Cities range in population from 326 to 106,769 (as of
July 2012).

• Governed by the GreenStep Cities working committee, which is composed of representatives of the 7 GreenStep Cities partners. • Partners are MN PCA; MN Dept. of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources; Great Plains Institute; Clean Energy Resource Teams; Urban Land Institute MN; League of Minnesota Cities; and Izaak Walton League MN Division] • GreenStep Cities advisor for each sustainability practice. • Program does not offer seminars or webinars.

• Governed by the Steering Committee with day to day responsibilities delegated to Executive Committee, which is composed of representatives of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, League of WI Municipalities, DNR, and 1 member municipality (currently Fitchburg)

• How does the program provide technical assistance and encourage

• Quarterly meetings. • Newsletter

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Item technical sharing among member communities? • What meetings are held for the membership? Minnesota • Program provides a newsletter a few times per year to representatives of participating cities. • Have had 1 forum on public energy benchmarking. • Regional meetings conducted by CERTs. • Meetings of regional councils of mayors. • Meetings of the UM regional partnership on sustainable development. • Awards ceremony during the League of MN Cities’ annual meeting. Wisconsin • DNR Resource Team. • Program does not offer seminars or webinars. • Quarterly, hosted by a member municipality. • Held a forum on the program at the 2011 annual meeting of the League of WI Municipalities.

6. Best practices • How determined?

For what areas or topics are best practices specified (e.g., energy conservation, solid waste)

• Program has 28 Best Practices under the following

categories: (1) Buildings and Lighting; (2) Transportation; (3) Land Use; (4) Environmental Management; and (5) Economic and Community Development. • These practices are defined by multiple unique actions; there are a total of 168 actions for the 28 practices. • No specific definition, see next item on guiding principles. • Original program emphasis was on reducing cities’ carbon footprints; now the emphasis is on cost savings and reducing energy consumption. No specific guiding principles; best practices reflect elements of the definitions of sustainability in the NextSteps “Sustainability 101” webpage [http://www.nextstep.state.mn.us/article.cfm?articleid=51] The working committee may modify a best practice or an action within a best practice. • Voluntary reporting on an action by a city. Program staff provides detailed feedback on each city’s reported actions. • Each action rated under the program’s “star guidance,” 1 to 3 stars, with a 3 star action requiring the most effort to implement.

• Program classifies best practices under the following categories: (1) Transportation (and Land Use); (2) Natural Resource Management; (3) Energy; (4) Water; and (5) Waste. • These categories are defined by multiple unique practices; there are a total of 75 practices. The charter defines “sustainability” as “local governments addressing the needs of the present while not compromising the ability of future generations to address their needs. It encompasses a broad framework of interrelated issues that includes environmental stewardship, economic growth, public health and social equity. “ No specific guiding principles. Municipal members may adopt a set of guiding principles appropriate for the municipality.

How define “sustainability” for specifying best practices?

Are the best practices based upon any set of guiding principles, such as the Natural Step?

• How modify a best practice? • How measure compliance with a practice?

The Steering Committee may modify a best practice or a category of best practices. Voluntary reporting on a practice by a municipality.

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Item 7. Responsibilities of member communities • Compare to Green Tier Legacy Community responsibilities

Minnesota

Wisconsin

Develop a sustainability implementation and monitoring plan to specify the goals, policies, and actions the municipality has set under the charter Engage the public and other affected stakeholders in implementing the goals and measuring the progress of their Charter commitments, including a website Identify and act upon local environment priorities consistent with this Charter Share information, technologies, and strategies used to advance the Chart’s goals with other members Annually report progress made in achieving the goals to improve the municipality’s overall sustainability implementation and monitoring plan Ongoing improvement in member community

• Comparable plan not required. • Some 2 star and 3 star actions require a compliance plan as part of the action.

Applicable to member municipalities.

Some actions call for public engagement.

Applicable to member municipalities.

No comparable requirement.

Applicable to member municipalities.

• Commitments to information sharing and designation of a city contact person are part of enabling resolution adopted by a city council. • In future, will be asking for information on public building energy use. Annual online report required.

Applicable to member municipalities.

Applicable to member municipalities.

• A city’s sustainability improvements are specified via “steps,” which are recognized at the League Of

• Applicable to member municipalities.

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Item sustainability practices and programs Minnesota Minnesota Cities’ annual meeting. • Step 1 – join program; Step 2 – implemented 4, 6 or 8 best practices (depending on the city’s category); and Step 3 – implemented 8, 12 or 16 best practices (depending on the city’s category). • Some actions are mandatory, depending on the city’s category. • Current step achievements of 49 cities: 4 cities at Step 3 (highest level defined to date), 14 at Step 2, and 31 at Step 1 (after 2 years of running the program). • Working committee presently discussing requirements for Step 4 (based on continuous improvement beyond Step 3). • While all participating cities like the recognition, some do not want to invest in additional actions. Yes, annual report required. Wisconsin • Improvement is self reported by the municipalities.

• Reporting

Reports by member communities required?

• Yes, annual report by member municipalities required.

• NGO members must annually assess the impact and
Report contents specified in online reporting template. • Program staff reviews reports and give specific feedback to each city. • Program staff provides synopsis of annual city reports to working committee. • Program staff sees value in local sustainability advocates knowing about the GreenSteps Cities program and advocating for their cities to participate in the program. • Re recognition, the Minnesota Legislature passed the original study requirement to address carbon emissions and related climate change. Through experience, program staff has found this is not a good way to provide city recognition. Now, the program provides recognition through city cost savings and reductions in energy use. Report template based on completion of practices in Appendix 3 is under development.

effectiveness of the Charter and report annually to DNR on the activities that have been engaged in under the Charter.

 

Report contents specified? How are the reports used to improve the program?

Executive Committee summarizes municipal reports for Steering Committee.

9. Other comments or unique program features?

• Program works with DNR resource team – regarding technical and financial assistance and potential regulatory flexibility.

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Prepared by John Stolzenberg, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, and Laurel Sukup, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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