Board Moves to Rank Infrastructure Projects For Climate Change
Unanimous vote backs creation of climate criteria to rank funding of future county projects.
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Thursday that will eventually lead to climate criteria to apply during the consideration of county infrastructure and maintenance projects. The vote was unanimous.
The resolution, authored by Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson and co-sponsored by Sup. Steven Shea, requests that county officials draft criteria that policymakers can use to score projects “for their contribution to the county’s adopted goal of carbon neutrality and alignment with the strategic plan outlined in the Climate Action 2050 Report.”
“Earth Month is a time to focus on how central our natural world is to our day-to-day lives and make an extra effort to preserve it for generations to come,” Nicholson said in a statement after the resolution passed. “One way we can preserve our planet is to ensure Milwaukee County’s building and infrastructure projects have a lens on climate.”
That climate report is the result of another piece of legislation authored by the chairwoman, which set a policy for the county of achieving carbon neutrality by 2020 and the creation of a strategic plan that officials can follow in pursuit of that goal.
The new climate criteria analysis will likely be drafted and presented to the board by July this year, though it may not be ready in time to apply to projects recommended in the 2024 budget, officials from the Department of Administrative Services told supervisors on the board’s Committee on Community, Environment and Economic Development.
The county already has a Capital Improvements Committee that reviews project requests and develops short and long-term plans for which projects to prioritize. The climate criteria will provide another rubric for evaluating which projects to pursue.
Another piece of the resolution asks the county to seek out grant opportunities that “help achieve the county’s adopted sustainability goals.” And when the resolution went before the full board, it was amended by Shea to include a clause that enables the county’s Office of Sustainability to apply for grant funding currently available from the Daybreak Fund. This organization is a non-profit that funds projects related to climate change, water quality and social equity in the western Lake Michigan region.
“Applying for grant opportunities like the one offered by the Daybreak Fund help us raise vital funds to reach a carbon neutral future,” Nicholson said.