Written by Wendy Kreitzman Saturday, 23 March 2013 00:00
Villages seeking to make infrastructure improvements can find free, state-funded grant-seeking assistance through New York State’s New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). David Berg of Cameron Engineering and Neil Lewis of Sustainability Institute presented the information to mayors and trustees at the March 12, Nassau County Village Officials Association meeting.
NYSERDA is a public benefit corporation created in 1975 under New York State law. At this time, NYSERDA’s goal is to help the state meet its energy goals, which include reducing energy consumption, promoting the use of renewable energy sources and protecting the environment. And to this end, NYSERDA works to facilitate change through the widespread development and use of innovative technologies to improve the state’s energy, economic and environmental wellbeing.
Lewis spoke first, explaining that the projects that reduce greenhouse gases are helpful not only to the environment, but the projects also create jobs. He said that NYSERDA is supported by five state agencies: Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Public Service Commission and the New York State Power Authority.
Lewis broached the subject of “climate smart communities,” where, for example, a village might want to replace an aging village hall with a new one, a new environmentally friendly village hall. Lewis emphasized that there are such potential grants. And he noted that when applying for a grant, it might be beneficial to apply for both a Clean Green grant and a Climate Smart grant. He also urged municipalities to work together. And Lewis advised the group that the same old grant ideas might not work. He advised that grants are more often given to those who have “more innovative and creative ideas.”
Berg explained that Cameron Engineering also has a contract with NYSERDA to provide assistance to municipalities on Long Island for NYSERDA’s Climate Smart Communities project (to assist municipalities in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for climate change). He stressed that both Clean Smart Communities and lowering greenhouse gases “save taxpayer dollars.” And he said that there is no cost to villages to come to Cameron or the Sustainability Institute for assistance; this is paid for by NYSERDA.
Advice included includes dealing with issues such as climate change, sea levels rising, increases in air temperature and more damaging rainstorms resulting in much flooding. Berg reiterated that they are looking for municipalities to work together and he asked that all participants be certain to identify critical facilities in their villages, facilities such as hospitals, utilities and village hall.
To be accepted into a grant program for a village, the mayor and the trustees must all agree to sign a pledge, and provide plans and goals that will lower the greenhouse gas emissions.
Several Great Neck officials were at the meeting and all thought that such grants could well serve their villages. Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, NCVOA president, was extremely interested as he is interested in replacing his very old village hall. Trustee Mark Birnbaum is equally interested for such grant opportunities and told the Great Neck Record that he was most appreciative for village to learn of such “enlightening” information.
Saddle Rock Mayor Dan Levy, whose village has waterfront properties and the inherent dangers, is also looking to use LED lighting and solar energy in his village. “I’ll be happy to take advantage of such grants,” he said.
For further information, contact the NYSERDA communications unit at: NYSERDA 17 Columbia Circle, Albany, New York 12203-6399 ; or telephone 1-866-NYSERDA or (518) 862-1090.