It appears that the Mayor’s Rountable on Climate Change will not be getting the $25,000 next year that it requested from Sackville Town Council to help hire a full-time, professional co-ordinator.
During Monday’s council meeting, CAO Jamie Burke explained why that money is not included in the 2021 draft budget.
“We’re not quite ready to do that yet,” Burke said referring to the town’s overall economic position.
He added, however, that the budget does fulfill other Roundtable requests including the allocation of money for climate change projects as well as funds for another full-time summer student position similar to the one the town funded this year.
“We think that’s a reasonable way to approach a new initiative,” Burke said. “That still gives us the money in our operational budget where we can also…go out and look for additional money through other federal-provincial programs.”
The draft 2021 budget allocates $25,000 for climate change projects that Burke said could include an additional electric vehicle charger in the downtown core, the development of climate change training materials for new councillors, a youth town council similar to the one in Amherst and a “dark sky” initiative to eliminate excessive, night-time light pollution.
All of those ideas were discussed at a climate change forum that the Mayor’s Roundtable held in February.
Next year’s draft budget allocates $10,000 for a full-time, 18 week student summer position to co-ordinate climate change projects with town staff and outside agencies such as EOS Eco-Energy.
During an online council meeting in August, Roundtable spokesman Richard Elliot asked for about $25,000 as seed money to hire a full-time co-ordinator.
He said the Roundtable planned to raise additional funds for the position from other sources such as the federal departments of environment and natural resources, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.
Elliot explained that the Roundtable needs professional help to review existing municipal climate change plans, develop links with other municipalities and revise the climate change “lens” it uses to advise the town on its spending.
However, barring an unforeseen change in direction, town council appears set to approve the draft budget — without money for a climate change co-ordinator — at its regular monthly meeting on November 9th.