Last November, Fort Collins approved increasing the sales tax by 0.5% to benefit climate, transit, and parks and recreation programs.  Half of the increased revenue will go to parks and recreation programs, while one quarter will go to climate and transit programs, respectively

City Council will consider how to spend the increased revenue this year at its meeting on May 7th.  Overall, the proposed climate budget offers will reduce climate pollution by less than a tenth of one percent by 2030, so they’re not exactly needle-movers.  The performance of the overall package is made worse by the inclusion of several big ticket items that will have very little impact on climate pollution, including two offers from the Parks and Recreation Department.  Those two offers – upgrading exterior lighting at recreation centers and buying electric utility carts – will cost over $1,300 per ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) reduced.  Compare that to the cost-effectiveness of proposed bicycle infrastructure improvements of less than $60 per ton of CO2 reduced.

The Parks and Recreation Department is already getting the lion’s share of the increased sales tax revenue.  If it wants new exterior lighting and electric utility carts, it should pay for those things directly instead of getting them funded through the climate program.  The new climate program revenue should not be treated as a piggy bank for other departments – least of all the Parks and Recreation Department – to use to accomplish their goals without a strong climate justification.

Please write a letter to City Councilmembers at CityCouncil@fcgov.com asking them to cut climate program budget offers that don’t cost-effectively reduce climate pollution in order to free up funds for offers that WILL have a clear climate benefit.  Short letters – like the following example – are whats needed:

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers –

New tax money approved by voters last November to benefit climate programs should be used wisely.  That revenue should not be treated as a piggy bank for other departments to get what they want absent a strong climate justification.

Please remove climate budget offers that cost an exorbitant amount per ton of climate pollution reduced such as the offers to upgrade exterior lighting at recreational facilities and buy new electric utility carts – from further consideration.  Use that money instead to fund offers that will truly help us reduce climate pollution in our community, such as more energy efficiency assistance grants and more solar at City facilities.

Sincerely,

Your Name

Your Address

For more information on the City’s interim climate budget offers, please see this post and this post on the Fort Collins Sustainability Group’s website.  The second post includes an attachment that shows the cost-effectiveness of all measures proposed that will reduce climate pollution directly.