Posts tagged clean energy
TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 50,000 free Endangered Species Condoms for holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country. More than 600 volunteer distributors will hand out the condoms at events in all 50 states. The condoms are part of the Center’s 7 Billion and Counting campaign focusing on the effects of rapid human population growth on rare plants and animals.
“There are more than 3 billion people on the planet under the age of 25. The choices this generation makes will determine whether our planet and its wildlife and natural resource base are burdened with 8 billion or 15 billion people. The difference between these paths can be measured by how many other species are left to roam alongside us,” said Jerry Karnas, population campaign director with the Center. “Our Endangered Species Condoms are a great way to get a conversation started about how the growing human population is affecting the wild world around us, especially animals already teetering on the edge of extinction.”
As part of its full-time population campaign launched in 2009, the Center has given out 450,000 free Endangered Species Condoms, featuring polar bears, panthers and other species threatened by population growth, loss of habitat and consumption of natural resources. This year, the Center is providing condoms to college health centers, nightclub owners, environmental activists, women’s reproductive-health groups and other activists around the United States.
The world’s human population has doubled since 1970, reaching 7 billion in October 2011. According to the latest research, it could exceed 9 billion by 2050. In recent weeks, several federal reports have noted the impact that population is having on the natural world. A recent decision to propose Endangered Species Act protection for 66 coral species said that “the common root or driver of most, possibly all” of the threats that corals face — like climate change and changing ocean conditions — is the world’s growing human population. Another report, by the Department of the Interior, raised serious questions about the ability of the Colorado River to meet demands of a growing population in the western United States.
“The evidence is mounting, and the solutions are at hand if only we’re just willing to start talking about them,” Karnas said. “Universal access to birth control, a rapid transition to clean energy, robust land-acquisition programs and much smarter growth policies can combine to forge a future for wildlife and a high quality of life for people. There’s no better time to start than in the new year of 2013.”
The Center is the only environmental group with a full-time campaign highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world. In 2011 the Center released a report on the top 10 U.S. species threatened by population growth.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Boulder Chamber’s advocacy efforts never rest. We are constantly watching, analyzing and speaking up on your behalf to create a vibrant and supportive economic environment.
Stay up to date on city, county and regional policy discussions that impact your business. Bookmark this page for updates on top advocacy issues, follow us on Twitter @boulderadvocacy and subscribe to the monthly Boulder Business Insider e-Newsletter.
Questions? Contact Angelique Espinoza, Public Affairs Manger at (303) 938-2077.
Boulder Chamber Supports Extension of Wind Production Tax Credit
The Boulder Chamber is supporting the extention of the Wind Production Tax Credit. View our letters to Senators Bennet and Udall. Both Senators have delivered speeches on the floor in support of extending this important Colorado job driver.
Senator Bennet’s on the Wind PTC
Senator Udall’s on the Wind PTC
Boulder’s Energy Future
Chamber Engages on Behalf of Members on Next Steps in Boulder’s Energy Future As Xcel Energy files with the PUC regarding renewable energy and DSM Incentives, and the City convenes business energy users to craft an ongoing input process, the Chamber is engaging with both entities to ensure the needs of our members are represented at the table. If you have input on these, or other advocacy issues, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan. 23, 2012 – Law firm chosen to aid city in potential condemnation proceedings with Xcel Energy read more->
The Boulder Chamber will continue to be at the table as the City evaluates options for its energy supply. With the narrow passage of Ballot Items 2B and 2C, the City Council is empowered to pursue forming a municipal utility. The Chamber supports the City Manager’s committment to caution and meaningful stakeholder input in her Press Release following the election. On December 6th, the City held a rountable with the newly seated Council and staff outlined their near term plans for exploring the feasibility of acquiring the electrical power distribution system from Xcel and forming a municipal power utility. Plans include hiring an Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development, as well as additional legal and technical support staff. Staff also outlined three possible tiers for Boulder’s Energy Future, from ramping up current conservation and small renewable generation to full scall municipalization. Materials from the meeting are available on the City’s website. The Daily Camera provided this report.
Boulder Channel 1 news thinks the city and the Chamber should have worked out a deal with Xcel which would have led to a clean energy policy with Xcel. They city and chamber will now spend millions if not billions to operate this coal burning fossil.
Pinnacol Assurance Restructuring Proposal Delayed
The Board of Directors for Pinnacol Assurance announced jointly with Governor Hickenlooper that they would not pursue a restructuring proposal to privatize the state’s largest carrier of workers’ compensation insurance during the 2012 Colorado legislative session as previously intended. The Chamber has been following this issue closely since the Colorado businesses insured by Pinnacol have much at stake. Although a specially appointed Task Force spent several months reviewing and receiving input before reporting back the the Governor, many questions remain, such as how restructuring would impact service levels and rates, how to ensure availability of an insurer of last resort, and what happens to the policy holders’ dividends. It is likely that a proposal will come forward for the 2013 session after additional work. For more coverage on this issue, see Ed Sealover’s article in the Denver Business Journal.
State Legislative Update
sponsored by Jensen Public Affairs, Inc.
The opening days of the Colorado legislative session have seen the introduction of several important bills. The Boulder Chamber is currently prioritizing those with the greatest potential to impact the Boulder business community and developing a state legislative agenda for the 2012 session. Check back for ongoing reports on bills of interest to Boulder’s economy.
For the full list of bills under consideration see the following reports:
Bills of Interest->
2012 State Legislative Session Updates from Statewide Chambers:
Colorado Competitive Council (C3)
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI)
Boulder Chamber Against PIPA/SOPA
The Boulder Chamber has been following the growing debate over H.R. 3261 the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and S. 968 Protect IP Act (PIPA).While these bills seek to address a real problem of online piracy, the methods used in these bills would undermine freedom of expression, and stifle innovation. Our future prosperity lies in our nation’s ability to remain competitive in the digital age.
The Boulder Valley is the Silicon Valley of the mountain west and the Boulder Chamber will work to defend our innovative economy and its entrepreneurs. To that end, we have asked Senator Bennet to reconsider his cosponorship of the bill. We thank Senator Udall for his opposition to PIPA, and Congressman Polis for his opposition to the House companion bill SOPA. We will follow the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN) bill in the House as a way of better addressing the online piracy issue.
UPDATE: Senator Bennet withdrew as a co-sponsor on January 23rd. The Senate bill was pulled from its scheduled floor vote on the 24 and the House bill’s judiciary committee hearing has been postponed indefinitely. It’s likely these bills are dead for the 112th Congress. Thank you Senator!
Boulder Channel 1 news questions The Chamber wisdom here. The Boulder Anti sopa and anti PIPa crowd are largely criminal hackers who are under investigation by the FBI. The Chamber also heralds the questionable business practices of those involved.
Boulder City Council
The Boulder City Council identified their 2012 priorities at their annual retreat on January 20-21st. The Boulder Chamber hopes to work with this new Council to promote a strong regional economy, and sent this letter for Council’s consideration in advance of their retreat. coverage of the retreat suggests some promising common ground, but also reinforces the importance of the Chamber as an advocate for a strong local economy.
In order to identify areas of common interest between the Boulder business community and City Council, and to identify policy-based opportunities for our organization to better educate and advocate on behalf of our members, we have instituted a Boulder City Council Scorecard to track votes of interest.
City of Boulder Considers Transportation Maintenance Fee
On Tuesday, Jan 24, the Boulder City Council will have a Study Session on a potential Transportation Maintenance Fee (TMF). The Transportation Advisory Board (TAB)has identified an ongoing funding shortfall for Maintenance and Operations, as well as Transportation Enhancements for the City. Although last year’s successful Capital Improvements Project tax will provide one-time funding to address significant deferred maintenance projects, it does not address long-term transportation funding challenges. The TAB has recommended a TMF which would be collected on utility bills and would cost the average household $24 and the average employer $327 per year. We will be following this issue and providing input to the City Council as it moves forward. ->Read More
Highway 36 Commuting Solutions News
Increased Pricetag for Northwest Rail
After preliminary evaluations by BNSF Railway Company, the cost to complete the Northwest Rail from South Westminster Station to Longmont has increased from RTD’s 2011 estimate of $894.4 million to $1.4 billion. This is based on a 2020 completion date, although RTD expects schedule delays due to the significant cost increase of this line. Read full story->
Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
Can you claim the Small Business health Care Tax Credit for 2011? If you are a small employer (business or tax-exempt) that provides health insurence coverage to your employees, follow these 3 simple steps to determine if you may qualify. view full website->
500 Year Floodplain Regulations: Critical Facilities and Mobile Populations Ordinance
How will the Critical Facilities Flooplain ordinance affect you? This ordinance impacts those who use, maintain, own or operate critical faciliites in the 100- or 500- year floodplain. To see if your facility is included, visit the The City of Boulder Flooplain map. If you are in the floodplain AND your business meets any of the facility types defined as essential service, hazardous materials, at-risk populations, or mobile populations, you may be required to meet new regulations. For definitions, the latest draft of the ordinance, information on scheduled meetings, and background information, visit the project website.
First reading of the ordinance WAS SCHEDULED FOR September 20 at 6 p.m.in the City Council Chambers, BUT HAS BEEN DELAYED. CHECK BACK FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Chamber Engages on Behalf of Members on Next Steps in Boulder’s Energy FutureAs Xcel Energy files with the PUC regarding renewable energy and DSM Incentives, and the City convenes business energy users to craft an ongoing input process, the Chamber is engaging with both entities. full story->
Clif Harald (Boulder Economic Council), Sean Maher (Downtown Boulder, Inc.), and Jud Valeski (Chamber Member-Gnip) testified before Council i
n support of a third story addition to the 1600 Pearl building, which will yield 18,309 square feet of much needed Class A Office Space. The building was approved by a 6 to 2 vote.
Boulder Channel 1 News feels this was a horrible mistake. This building is too tall as it is. It was protested when it was built for Borders Books in the 1990′s. It blocks the sun on Pearl ,obscures the view of the Mountains and it was rushed through council. Cliff Harold and Sean Maher should be drummed out of Boulder supporting this horrid decision.
Chamber Recieves Recognition at Annual 10 for Change Awards for being in the top ten for reducing overall GHG emissions in 2011.
City Manager approves business incentive for Eetrex
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam has approved a flexible rebate application for Boulder-based Eetrex Incorporated, for up to $26,000 in rebates. The rebates were authorized for sales and use taxes, and permit-related fees.
The flexible rebate program is one of the city’s business incentives, covering a wide range of fees, equipment and construction use taxes. Under this program, the city manager may consider a specific incentive package for tax and fee rebates to meet a company’s specific needs. The company is then eligible for the rebate after it has made its investment and paid the taxes or fees to the city.
“Eetrex is part of the new energy economy and is leading innovation in power electronics and battery systems,” Brautigam said. “The city is pleased that its incentives are helping Eetrex grow and stay in Boulder.”
Eetrex develops power electronics and battery systems for the electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles, telecommunications, and computing industries. The company is also the leading developer of on-vehicle inverter-chargers, known as Invergers™. Its battery systems are being used in demonstration projects to show how they can effectively store energy from wind and solar generation to offset peak loads and utilize clean energy more effectively. In 2006, Eetrex was founded in Boulder and moved into a larger 9,700 square-foot space at 4900 Pearl East Circle, Suite 110, in June 2011.
Kathryn Miles, president of Eetrex, said, “Eetrex is committed to supporting the community and establishing our business as an environmentally conscious company. Not only is our technology helping to green the transportation industry and support alternative energy, but we also encourage employees to ride their bicycles to work along with our zero waste practices. We are very pleased to receive this award in recognition of our efforts.”
The flexible rebate program uses social, community, and environmental sustainability guidelines. Companies choose the guidelines that best fit their circumstances, but must meet minimum requirements in order to receive the rebate. Eetrex has exceeded the minimum requirements of the community sustainability guidelines. Of note, Eetrex is implementing a zero waste policy through Green Girl Recycling and is a member of the 10 for Change challenge, which included an energy audit of its facility. The company also will request an EnergySmart training through the city’s Local Environmental Action Division.
Eetrex’s flexible rebate application is one of six submitted to the city in late 2011. Four 2011 applications are pending. The city’s approved 2012 budget includes $350,000 in funding for 2012 flexible tax and fee rebates for primary employers.
For more information about the city’s economic vitality program, go to www.bouldercolorado.gov, click on “Business,” or call Liz Hanson at 303-441-3287.
PLAN-Boulder County is proud to host special guest and renowned clean energy jobs expert Van Jones as the keynote speaker at its upcoming annual dinner. The event will be held Wednesday, March 2, 2011, in the first floor conference room at the Hotel Boulderado (2115 13th Street) in downtown Boulder. The event starts at 6:00 pm with a cocktail hour, followed by a buffet dinner and program beginning at 7:00 pm. Per person cost for dinner and the program is $50. To reserve a seat, please register at PLAN-Boulder County’s website: www.planboulder.org
Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean-energy economy. He is the best-selling author of the definitive book on green jobs: The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. Van Jones was the primary advocate for the Green Jobs Act, which President Bush signed into law in 2007, and has resulted in $500 million for green job training nationally under the Obama administration. He also served as the green jobs advisor in the Obama White House in 2009, and was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world that year.
urrently, Van Jones is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green for All. He holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
“What better way to launch our PLAN-Boulder County’s second 50 years of conservation and activism than by hearing from Van Jones, who is a cutting edge expert on how to address climate change and job creation—two of the defining issues of our times,” said PLAN-Boulder County Co-Chair Ruth Blackmore. “PLAN-Boulder County has a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability and community health, and the issue of green jobs addresses both of these priorities.”
“We are thrilled to have Van Jones come speak in Boulder,” added Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne. “Van’s visionary thinking on green jobs is timely and relevant, and we look forward to gaining his insights and national experience to apply to Boulder’s ongoing sustainable energy debate.”
Although best known for his promotion of green jobs, Mr. Jones, a Yale Law School graduate, has spent nearly two decades as a civil rights activist, community organizer, and lawyer working to solve problems in urban America. He is co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and Green for All, the national organization working to get green jobs to disadvantaged communities. Van’s work has earned him many awards and honors, including being named one of Essence Magazine’s 25 most inspiring African Americans in 2008, and last year, by Ebony Magazine as one of the “Power 150.”
PLAN-Boulder County (PBC) is a citizens’ organization that works to ensure that governmental policies in the City of Boulder and in Boulder County be sensitive to all environmental issues. PBC seeks to promote, through education, political action, and encouragement of public involvement, a far-sighted and imaginative pattern of land use so that Boulder may retain its individual character and remain an attractive place to live.
ROB SMOKE IS NOT HAPPY: Enviros win as city council votes against Xcel…….Whoop-dee do……..Now…what?? so what.0
ROB SMOKES OPINION
Xcel Energy yesterday lost its battle to add Boulder to its list of patsy/pushover franchise communities, and “so what?” would be the big question, because it will still be the only provider of electric power for Boulder, will still be generating some of that power with coal, and will still be figuring out how to smooth over the lumps in its “natural resource” gravy to secure a new franchise agreement some time in the next five years — plenty of time for Boulder voters, who’ve become increasingly conservative over the past decade, to vote in a team that agrees with the three members of council who strongly supported getting Xcel’s franchise deal on this year’s ballot. (Suzy Ageton, Suzy’s “adorable little monkey” Ken Wilson, and George Karakehian.) It should be remembered that Suzy was the top vote-getter in last year’s council election, indicating there might be a lot of room for people who think as she does.
Assuming that Xcel does eventually get its deal on the ballot, we know they’ll stop at nothing to win it. The local enviros might have a lot of cache with the elite local pols, some of whom click on chandeliers when they click on a light bulb; however, when push comes to shove in the political arena, the pushers — the people spending the big bucks to win — usually do win. Xcel merely has to figure out a way to present its ongoing renewable energy efforts as a little more potent, a little more on track, a little more “oomphy” when it comes to wind and solar power. To do that, they’re likely to install a couple of cute little wind farms (watch out Gilpin County) — and maybe even partner on a solar-array battery-powered automobile facility. (Such facilities, which have solarized carports for a fleet of lithium-battery-powered vehicles, are included as part of “decarbonization” programs in a number of cities, although not yet in Boulder.)
Some history is worth noting: in 2000, with natural gas prices busting through all prior ceilings, and seniors on fixed incomes going without food to keep their heat on, Xcel went on an advertising rampage, presenting itself via a very hi-tech and suspiciously subliminal ad scheme. The central ad had marching bands, bouquets of flowers, and an adult woman with cherry-red lipstick and a short, “little girl” pleated skirt offering lollipops. People wrote to the company asking about those lollipops — the official word back from their independent communications contractor was that the ads were to help Coloradans get to know Xcel. As what, though? A supplier of lollipops or of advertising aimed to sexually arouse male rate payers? Sexual themes are probably the standard subliminal tool for all sophisticated print and video media campaigns — somehow, it makes you want to accept a company that otherwise might be regarded as a rapacious predator reaching into everyone’s pockets. With the sex theme, they’re sending the message that they only reach into your pockets for a quick rubdown of your privates. It’s irrational, but that’s probably why it works.
The profit and loss statements for Xcel show that they presently make substantially more money per individual Colorado home than they do in Minnesota, their base location. This fact was part of the documented presentation made by former council member Steve Pomerance and others working with him to help shoot down Xcel’s bid. The facts are, this is a company that makes all it can wherever and whenever it can. If they do get a franchise agreement on the ballot, they’ll likely win, as they have proven themselves to spend, spend and spend some more on advertising.
That’s what makes them tick. They manufacture not simply electric power…they also manufacture consent.
Enviros were shouting outside the August 4th city council meeting, but the Boulder city council is not really the shouting zone for this one. The shouting zone regarding energy issues is in D.C., or maybe at the state capitol building in Denver. The Xcel CEO may have walked away empty-handed after meeting privately with individual city council members, but he only “slinked” away if you think the Cheshire Cat is slinking when it sits on its tree limb smiling, smiling and smiling some more.
Rob Smoke has no energy to speak of, but is wired for sound. See his news stories here daily.
by Donna Marek, Cultural Affairs Reporter
UPDATE: August 4 11:00 am
It Had to Happen
The City of Boulder will not renew the Xcel Energy Franchise Agreement according to a 6-2 vote at the Council meeting last night. City Manager Jane Brautigam’s stand was like a song ” let the contract go.”
Voters will be asked to vote in November for a special tax which, of course, would be passed on to consumers using Xcel energy. Looks like yellow shirt
Boulder Yellow Shirts Took the Street Corners Tonight!
All you have to do is put a piece of coal in your stocking…twirl around three times…and make a wish that Xcel Energy will go away and the City of Boulder will take over the community energy problems! Oh, my goodness! What did I say?
Well, on Tuesday, August 3 at about 5:30pm in front of Boulder’s Municipal Building, a crowd of supporters for the City’s taking on the energy issue, buying Xcel energy and making it environmentally politically correct took place with about 200 people on the corners of Broadway and Canyon.
I talked to two gentlemen who support the City’s stance. Tyler said, “I support the city for not renewing the Xcel franchise.” He said he was supporting renewable energy as an option. While Ken said he saw Boulder aggressively decreasing the carbonizing “but not as much as we’d like for Xcel. This is a “groundswell” with two paths,” he said. One is with Xcel committing to clean energy and the second looks at monopolizing energy! Anyway, there were children, parents, grandparents and they even held a press conference.
When I asked these two supporters about the City’s already stretched budget, Ken said “The City can afford it because citizens are already paying for it!”
Boulder Supporters of City’s Stand on Xcel Energy and clean energy
It was a lovely, peaceful gathering with horns tooting and people waving signs. The weather was phenomenal!
I dare not say more!
NEWS FOR BOULDER: Bike path washed out; Chamber, Creeks high flood danger, New parks, Clean energy push,0
Boulder Creek Path closed west of 30th Street; bridge washed out in Boulder Canyon
A culvert-style bridge near the Red Lion Restaurant, located at 37400 Boulder Canyon Dr., in Boulder Canyon partially washed out overnight. Debris has plugged up the culvert and water has backed up behind the bridge.
The water and debris have begun to wash through, and CDOT is working to create a diversion to reduce flooding. There are concerns that a surge of approximately 2 feet of water could come down the canyon. Because of already high levels, the creek is likely to spill its banks along the Boulder Creek Path.
The Sheriff’s Office and Boulder Police Department are concerned about the bike path area near Boulder Creek. Currently, officers are clearing the bike path of all users. No other evacuations have been called for at this time.
The Boulder Creek path is now closed between Boulder Canyon and 30th Street and community members are urged to avoid areas near Boulder Creek until further notice. This includes all areas along the creek between Eben G. Fine Park and Scott Carpenter Park.
Boulder Creek is currently running at the 3.6 feet stage. A level of 4 feet is when the creek will spill its banks.
The main branch of the Boulder Library is partially opening. Patrons can access the south door on Arapahoe Avenue and use the south side of the library. The bridge over Boulder Creek and the north side of the library building are closed.
Everbridge emergency notifications have been sent out to residents and businesses along the creek corridor. This is an emergency notification system that sends text messages to all landlines plus mobile devices for people who have registered in advance.
The media is asked to not go up the canyon to get footage. Officials need to keep that route clear for emergency responders. Reporters can stage at Eben G. Fine Park to get footage of the water. They are urged to use caution and stay some distance from the creek.
The City of Boulder and Boulder County Emergency Operation Center has been activated. No other formal press releases will be sent out. Status updates will be posted at http://boulderoem.com/.
June 8, 2010
Latest: 1 discussion | 1 Job
Save the date for the June Business After Hours @ Gateway Park on 6/16! Add a comment »
Started by Stephanie Alexander Milliman, Social Media Strategist, Developer & Communication Manager @ the Boulder Chamber
Come on out for networking at its most entertaining and join in on group games of mini-golf, spins in the go-carts, or hitting fast-balls in the batting cages. To quell the appetite you’ll work up, beer, wine, and barbecue will be served out back.
Cost for Boulder Chamber members is $15 if you register before Wednesday, June 16. Day of and walk-in cost is $20.
See you there! Register at http://bit.ly/8YxipV.
By Stephanie Alexander Milliman, Social Media Strategist, Developer & Communication Manager @ the Boulder Chamber
Job Discussions (1)
Sales Rep TV advertising, web commercials, video, internet, links, banners Add a comment »
Posted by Jann Scott, CEO at Channel One Networks llc
Do NOT seek shelter from storms in underpasses
High temperatures today are expected to increase the rate of snow melt in the high country, and the weather forecast calls for potential thunderstorms this afternoon and tomorrow. This raises the risk of potential flooding in the Boulder area. Some of the city’s underpasses are already experiencing low-lying flooding due to high water levels in creeks and drainageways.
Most of the city’s underpasses are meant to help carry floodwaters during a flood event. The community is reminded NOT to seek shelter from a rainstorm in an underpass. Bike and pedestrian commuters are encouraged to use caution when approaching underpasses.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has issued a tubing ban on Boulder Creek today.
The city would like to remind residents to use safety when they are near any of Boulder’s numerous creeks and floodplains. Flash floods can occur literally IN A FLASH during a severe storm. It’s important that residents, visitors and people who work in Boulder familiarize themselves with their surroundings, keep track of the weather and know the dangers.
The city maintains a flood information website that can help residents prepare before, during and after a flood event. Visit www.boulderfloodinfo.net to see floodplain maps, watch informational videos and obtain a family flood action plan that should be filled out prior to a flood event and posted in homes. The family flood action plan can also be picked up in the Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway. For more information about personal preparedness, visit www.readycolorado.com, or contact the Office of Emergency Management at 303-441-3390.
Boulder Parks and Recreation launches two construction projects
The Parks and Recreation Department is launching two construction projects that are designed to improve the community’s recreation facilities and options. The first, Valmont City Park Phase I bike park construction, has already started. The second, Harlow Platts Park irrigation renovation and exercise par course replacement will begin this month.
Valmont City Park Phase I bike park
Valmont City Park Phase I bike park construction started in May and is expected to last until Spring 2011, depending on weather and contractor progress. The new development will include building an off-road terrain park, bike trails and a bike pump track; a “tot-lot” play area and plaza; gravel parking lot (off Airport Road); restroom facility, landscaping and irrigation.
The area north of Valmont and Airport roads will be closed during construction, but the dog park will remain open. This project is funded by city tax revenue and contributions from area businesses, foundations and individuals in partnership with the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance. The Parks and Recreation Department also received a grant of $200,000 from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) in 2009 for the park, which will be used to supplement the existing capital funding allocated for this park development.
Work updates and information are located at www.ValmontCityPark.org
Harlow Platts Park irrigation renovation and exercise par course replacement
Updating and renovation of the Harlow Platts Park irrigation system is scheduled to begin later this month and last for approximately a year. The park’s exercise par course equipment will also be replaced later this summer. That project is expected to take approximately two months.
Irrigation system renovation will include component replacements and upgrades, turf re-seeding and sod restoration, as needed. There may be temporary detours for some of the park’s features, including the disc golf course.
Construction updates on these projects are located at www.BoulderParkNews.org.
Council pushes for clean energy outcomes in franchise talks
Boulder City Council on Thursday, June 3, directed staff to continue negotiating a possible franchise with Xcel Energy while still pushing for a two-year extension and environmental side agreements that would help the community meet its clean energy goals.
Five members of council directed staff to move forward on discussions with Xcel, although some expressed concerns about the utility’s commitment to an environmental partnership with the city and questioned whether voters would approve a renewed franchise if it were to be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 2 election.
Council members agreed their preference would be for Xcel to grant a two-year franchise extension and commit to partnering in a study that could outline the course for rapid decarbonization during that time. The energy company has previously indicated that it is not interested in an extension of that length.
On Thursday, prior to the study session, officials with Xcel notified the city manager that the company will agree to an extension of the current franchise agreement until Dec. 31, 2010, to allow more time for negotiations. Under this extension, Xcel will be permitted to continue using public rights-of-way under the terms detailed in the 1993 franchise agreement. Council will still have to make a decision by mid-August about whether to put a franchise agreement on the ballot for voter consideration on Nov. 2.
The issue of whether to renew a franchise agreement with Xcel has financial, legal and environmental implications for the city and its goals of providing reliable and affordable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
If approved by the voters, the franchise would grant Xcel the right to use streets, alleys, rights-of way and other public property for the purpose of providing utility service to the residents and businesses. In return, Boulder would receive a franchise fee equal to 3 percent of the company’s sales of gas and electricity within the city each year. This currently totals $3.9 million. This fee is used to fund key city services. State law allows Xcel to pass the franchise fee onto Xcel’s Boulder customers because they are the ones who gain the benefits of that revenue. The passed-through cost appears as a line item on Boulder customers’ Xcel bills. The city also receives other benefits from a franchise agreement with Xcel, such as access to a 1 percent “undergrounding” fee, which is used to underground overhead power lines, and the right to place city signs and fiberoptics equipment on Xcel’s utility poles free of charge.
Because of the financial implications to the city of losing the franchise fee if the franchise is not approved, council on Thursday also instructed city staff to continue researching alternative sources of revenue. This could include the possibility of an occupation or excise tax, which would have to be approved by voters, but would be collected only if there is no Xcel franchise.
For more information about the franchise and clean energy issues, please visit http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/energyfuture.