MOUNT DESERT — The Select Board wants the town to participate in the state’s Community Resilience Partnership, which will provide $4.75 million in grants to help communities develop or improve climate action plans.
Gov. Janet Mills announced the creation of the partnership in December with the ultimate goal of helping municipalities reduce carbon emissions, transition to clean energy and become more resilient to the effects of climate change such as severe storms, sea level rise and flooding.
But before the town can join the partnership, it must complete a climate resilience self-assessment, hold a community workshop to prioritize initial resilience and clean energy actions, and adopt a resolution of commitment to participate in the partnership. That resolution is to be presented to voters at the May 2 town meeting.
The Select Board has accepted an offer by the local environmental organization, A Climate to Thrive (ACTT), to help plan and facilitate community engagement activities required for participation in the Community Resilience Partnership.
The board last week agreed with ACTT’s proposal to hold a community listening session via Zoom on Jan. 20 and a Q&A session April 14. The aim is to elicit community feedback on proposed climate actions and to help identify top resilience priorities as part of the process of developing a Climate Action Plan for the town.
“Engaging the community helps generate ideas, ensures the planning process
is equitable and builds community support to pass and ultimately implement
the plan,” ACTT said in its proposal. “If the community is involved early and often, the plan is more likely to reflect community priorities and needs and be locally supported.”
Also as part of the requirement for joining the state’s Community Resilience Partnership, the town’s department heads will be asked to fill out a resilience self-assessment.
Municipalities participating in the Community Resilience Partnership are eligible to apply for grants in two separate rounds of funding this year. Communities could receive up to $50,000 in each round.
Voters at last year’s Mount Desert town meeting adopted a resolution declaring a “climate emergency” that commits the town to working toward achieving zero carbon emissions by 2031.
By passing the resolution, voters agreed that “the climate emergency represents a clear and present danger to all life in the town of Mount Desert and on Mount Desert Island and is threatening the cultural, social and economic well-being of our community.”