June 25 2019

Selectmen Approve Two Policies on Road to Green Communities Designation

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington is one step closer to getting a Green Communities Designation and Grant Program and being able to take advantage of state funds while making Burlington a more green-friendly community.


The program is run by the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and offers incentives, in the form of grant money, for communities to seek more energy efficient buildings, vehicles and utilities. If Burlington were to join it would receive $173,000 in an initial grant and then be eligible to apply for competitive grants. 


That became more of a reality on Monday night after the Board of Selectmen voted to approve two new policies required by the program - a Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy and an Anti-Idling Policy. 


The stated purpose of the Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy is “To establish a requirement that the Town of Burlington purchase only fuel efficient vehicles for municipal and local public school use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable.” 


Town Administrator Paul Sagarino said the policy will apply mostly to department vehicles used for inspections and other non-emergency operations. Fire engines and police cruisers are exempt. 


“The idea of electric fire trucks makes people nervous,” he said. 


The town has already begun this process, Sagarino said, by looking at fuel efficient options for those vehicles approved by Town Meeting in May. 


The Anti-Idling Policy has the objectives to “eliminate unnecessary idling of vehicles in order to reduce the community’s exposure to exhaust from gasoline and diesel fuels” and “To educate and inform municipal employees and residents about the health and environmental effects of gasoline and diesel exhaust.” 


According to the policy the anti-idling policy will apply to all municipal and school vehicles that will be stopped for more than five minutes with a few exceptions including making deliveries or if the vehicle’s accessory equipment needs to be powered.


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