Climate Smart Task Force (CSTF)

Climate Smart Bronze Certification logo

Climate Smart logo color

The Town of Poughkeepsie has achieved initial Climate Smart Certification!

Read the full press release detailing this exciting milestone. 


Recently we also completed our Solar for All Community Campaign, resulting in our designation as a Clean Energy Community in New York State and making us eligibile for a variety of grants to further our work!

Meetings

The Climate Smart The Task Force meets on the first Thursday of the month at 7 pm, and meetings currently take place via Zoom. Zoom meeting details are provided on the town calendar. Please see posted agenda for more information, and watch for us to return to the Town Hall. A summary of each meeting can be found below, and full minutes are available using the link above.

Several Wind Turbines in a sunset
  1. Susan Karnes Hecht

    CSTF Committee Chair

  1. Joan Freeman

    CSTF - Member

  1. Richard Levine

    CSTF - Member

  1. Stanley Merritt

    CSTF - Member

  1. Kristen E. Taylor, AICP

    Senior Planner

  1. Feza Oktay

    CSTF - Member

  1. Thomas Lynch

    CSTF - Member

  1. Ann Shershin

    Sixth Ward

What are Climate Smart Communities?


CliNew York State Climate Smart Communities Logomate Smart Communities is a New York State program that helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

Climate Smart Communities began in 2009 as an interagency initiative of New York State. The program is sponsored jointly by six New York State agencies: Department of Environmental Conservation; Energy Research and Development Authority or NYSERDA; Department of Public Service; Department of State; Department of Transportation; and Department of Health. The Department of Environmental Conservation acts as the main administrator of the program.

The original focus of the program was on encouraging local governments to commit to act on climate change by passing a resolution containing the Climate Smart Pledge. The certification program was added in 2014 and provides specific guidance on how to implement the pledge. Certified communities are leaders, going beyond the pledge by completing and documenting a suite of actions that mitigate and adapt to climate change at the local level. Communities earn points toward certification for each action they complete. In addition to accumulating points, each community must complete a number of mandatory and priority actions at each level of certification.

The Town of Poughkeepsie is one of over 350 registered communities; together these communities represent more than 8 million residents. The Town Board pledged to become a Climate Smart Community (PDF) on 4-18-18 and passed a second resolution creating a dedicated Climate Smart Task Force (PDF) on 7-10-19. (Appointments to the Task Force have since been updated.)  In September 2021 the Town became one of 82 Bronze-certified communities. Our Task Force is now pursuing actions towards the Silver, the next level of certification.

Our town has committed to:

  • Set goals, inventory emissions, and plan for climate action

  • Decrease community energy use

  • Increase community use of renewable energy

  • Realize the benefits of recycling and other climate-smart solid waste management practices

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through use of climate-smart land tools

  • Enhance community resilience and prepare for the effects of climate change

  • Support development of a green innovation economy

  • Inform and inspire the public

  • Commit to an evolving process of climate action

A photo of someone holding a leaf that is half burned showing extremes in climate.

What actions has the Town of Poughkeepsie taken related to climate change mitigation and adaptation?

Mitigation means making the impacts of climate change less severe by preventing or reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.  Adaptation means adjusting to the current and future effects of climate change.  The Town has…

  • Committed to become a Climate Smart Community
  • Adopted a Climate Change Education and Engagement Plan as a roadmap for public participation in this process.
  • Created an updated Comprehensive Plan with sustainability elements.
  • Completed a Natural Resources Inventory and is in the process of developing a resulting Open Space Plan with public input.
  • Completed a climate change vulnerability assessment to support planning along with a climate change resiliency plan.
  • Completed a set of Climate Smart Resiliency recommendations 
  • Installed LED street lights and a solar array on the Town Hall roof to save electricity and shift to clean, renewable energy.
  • Completed a baseline inventory of its municipal fleet in order to support the process of transitioning to electric vehicles over time.  
  • Encouraged the preservation of open space and natural features through the implementation of a cluster subdivision policy
  • Incorporated Smart Growth principles into land-use policies and regulations.
  • Promoted Green Parking Lot standards in the Arlington Town Center District zoning regulations,
  • Added infrastructure for biking and walking with the Raymond Avenue redesign and is currently working on the Main Street redesign.
  • Provided both curbside and drop-off options for composting yard waste.
  • Engaged in brownfield cleanup of three sites.
  • Supported and participated in the Arlington Farmers’ Market
  • Created this web page and related social media to inform and engage our community.
  • Initiated a Solar for All campaign to support access to community solar for income-eligible households.
  • Completed several actions that will qualify for Clean Energy Communities, a separate NYS program, including adoption of the Unified Solar Permit to streamline permitting for installation of solar and fulfillment of a Community Solar Campaign.

How can residents and businesses participate in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build community resiliency?


  • Volunteer for the Conservation Advisory Commission or Climate Smart Task Force.
  • Contact your Town Board representative to request and help with efforts such as neighborhood park upgrades.
  • Businesses that have installed EV chargers, or are interested in learning more about the how-to’s and available incentives, should contact the Climate Smart Task Force to get involved.
  • Get involved in the Pollinator Pathway!  Plant native pollinator plants, eliminate chemicals, and rethink your lawn. 
  • Town residents(owners and renters) can take advantage of Community Solar opportuntiies without the need to install anything on their homes. Reduce your electric bill while supporting the transition to green energy!

What individual actions can residents and businesses take to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions? 

What are some climate change resources?


Free Home Energy Upgrades CCEDC for Spanish resources

Climate Smart Communities (Comunidades Climáticamente Inteligente) es un programa del Estado de Nueva York que ayuda a los gobiernos locales tomar acciones para reducir emisiones de gases de efecto invernaderos y adaptar a un clima que cambia constantemente. El pueblo de Poughkeepsie es uno de 313 comunidades registrado en este programa; juntas, estas comunidades representan mas que 8 millones de personas.

 ¿Qué puede hacer una persona o negocio para reducir su propio emisiones de gases de efecto invernaderos? 

¿Qué son algunos recursos sobre el cambio climático?

  • Contactar su Consejera Comunitaria de Energía y aprender como dueños de casa y los que rentan pueden ahorrar dinero y energía en la casa.

Events

Climate Smart Task Force meeting summaries - look how far we've come!

  1. 2022
  2. 2021
  3. 2020
  4. 2019

May 2022 Update

Our current focus is selecting appropriate projects for use of the two Clean Energy Communities grants that we have earned by completion of our Community Solar Campaign! We've earned a Designation Grant of $5,000 and an Action Grant of $15,000. Task Force members have great ideas about how to use these funds to further the Town's progress on climate goals.  We'll be discussing these ideas with the Supervisor and Board and proceeding with the grant applications.  Stay tuned for more news on this exciting development!  

The Task Force is engaged in the wider conversation that is occurring in the County regarding solid waste management issues and especially the need for a composting facility. 

We are proud that our Task Force member Tom Lynch, who has been attending meetings of the Hudson 7 (communities which draw water from the Hudson) has been invited to join an advisory group of water quality experts that will be working on the issue of the salt front coming further north as sea level rise increases. This is a crucial issue for our communities and one which will need to be solved collaboratively.  

April 2022 Update

We continued our discussion about how to move our Town towards a green fleet. We expect to be eligible for both a smaller grant, with flexible use, and a larger grant which can be used for several pre-approved projects (some of which the Town has already achieved). The members of the Task Force are very much in favor of using the smaller grant to support Green Business incentives in the Town, and the larger one to support acquisition of an electric vehicle for the fleet.  SInce our Board is proceeding with the separate grant for charging stations to be installed at Town Hall, this is a wonderful opportunity.

We are doing an overall review of our Climate Smart points status to facilitate planning for additional actions.  We welcome input from residents and also welcome your comments regarding issues that are being discussed in our wider community, such as electric rates.  

March 2022 Update

We are thrilled to announce that we have completed our SOLAR FOR ALL Community Campaign!  This is a High-Impact Action for NYSERDA's Clean Energy Communities program as well as a Climate Smart Action.  Completion should qualify the Town for an action grant...stay tuned for more good news!

At our March meeting, we continued to work on Green Fleet issues.  We discussed a variety of waste management issues impacting the Town and County.  In particular, we focused on the concept of a Green Business Challenge. We are exploring ideas to bring such a program to our local business owners, giving them the opportunity to contribute to our well-being and to take leadership in the community. 

February 2022 Update

We welcomed new member, Feza Oktay, to our Task Force.  Feza is a business owner who will bring valuable perspective to our work.  We bade farewell to Katherine Espinosa and wish her well in her new endeavors.

We reviewed status of all actions in process and set responsibilities for moving forward.  Given that we have achieved initial Bronze certification, our upcoming work will benefit from a thoughtful visioning of next priorities towards Silver, which requires significant action. Priorities for the coming year will reflect the potential impact on our community, actions already in process, and feasibility.. By establishing clear goals, we can focus our volunteer time and effort more efficiently and work with the Board most effectively. Our general consensus was that these areas are: "green fleet" issues, waste management issues including recycling and organics, and development of a green business challenge.  We will also target completion of our Solar for All campaign (we are very close!) and work on developing content for a Climate Adaptation Plan.

January 2022 Update

The Task Force began the new year with a review of all in-process and planned actions to take the Town towards the next level (Silver) certification. These include:

  • Reviewing the final, adopted Comprehensive Plan to determine details of its submission for Climate Smart credit
  • Developing a Fleet Inventory maintenance policy as a tool for transitioning the town fleet to electric vehicles
  • Supporting Town personnel to participate in updated NYSERDA Energy Code Enforcement Training, which will help us reach our Clean Energy Community action goal and position us for additional grants
  • Monitoring adoption of the Natural Resources Inventory and Open Space Plan and submitting the updated information for Climate Smart credit
  • Monitoring grant application for installation of EV chargers on municipal property
  • Outreach to our business community regarding charging station opportunites and other potential actions for a Green Business Challenge
  • Clarifying issues related to recycling in our municipal offices
  • Completing our Solar for All campaign and submitting it for both Climate Smart and Clean Energy Community credit

Who are our partners in local climate action?