Board of County Commissioners
Leon County, Florida
Agenda Item
Executive Summary

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Acceptance of the FY10 First Quarter Status Report on the County Sustainability Program

Parwez Alam, County Administrator
Vincent S. Long, Deputy County Administrator
Maggie Theriot, Office of Sustainability

Issue Briefing: 

This item seeks Board acceptance of the status report on the activities of the County’s Sustainability Program for the first quarter of FY10.  The report contains a brief summary of community engagement and education efforts, and updates on major initiatives, both recently completed and pending.


Fiscal Impact:  

This item has no current fiscal impact to the County; however future expenses may result at which time an agenda item would be brought before the Board for approval or further direction.


Staff Recommendation:  

Option #1:        Accept the FY10 first quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program. 

Option #2:       Adopt the proposed Enabling Resolution establishing the Sustainability Task Force in accordance with Board Policy No. 03-15, Board-Appointed Advisory Committees: Establishment, Appointment, Function, Operation,


Option #3:       Approve the Forest Carbon Offset Project Development Agreement and authorize staff to proceed with the development of the project.

Option #4:       Direct staff to pursue a joint anti-litter partnership with the City of Tallahassee, focusing on the Tarp It!  Program, and an enhanced Adopt-A-Road Program.



Report and Discussion



The Office of Sustainability provides a quarterly status report to the Board.  The report contains a brief summary of community engagement and education efforts, and updates on major initiatives, both recently completed and pending.  This status report reviews activities occurring during the months of December 2009 through February 2010.  The most recent status report was provided on December 8, 2009.  More detailed information regarding the Sustainability program was provided during the workshop held on December 8, 2009.  During the workshop staff was directed to provide an agenda regarding community gardens on County owned property, provide an agenda regarding implementation of a rain water capture cistern at the Cooperative Extension facility, and provide an agenda regarding the installation of solar on County owned facilities and to review the possibility of implementing a ‘solar farm’ at the Solid Waste Management Facility.


The following agenda items have been submitted to the Board since the most recent status report was generated.  A more detailed update of each topic is included within this agenda.






Adoption of an Enabling Resolution Establishing a Sustainability Task Force

Commissioner Akinyemi moved, seconded by Commissioner Dailey, to continue this item to February, to allow time for the Chair to meet with the Mayor to discuss the possibility of a Joint Sustainability Task Force. 



Acceptance of Status Report on the Sustainable Communities Summit 2010


Status report accepted.



Consideration of the Deployment of A Pilot Weatherization Revolving Loan Program

Commissioner Proctor moved, seconded by Commissioner Desloge, to continue the item to a future meeting.



Consideration to Implement a Rainwater Capture Cistern at the Cooperative Extension Facility

Authorized staff to implement a rainwater capture cistern.




This report serves as a tool to keep the Board apprised of the success and efforts of the County’s Sustainability Program.  The status information is arranged within three primary categories: 1) Resource Conservation & Green House Gas Monitoring, 2) Policy & Program Administration, and 3) Civic Engagement and Community Partnership.   

Resource Conservation & Green House Gas Monitoring

The following are some initiatives taking place with the intent of energy and resource conservation. 


·             Rain Water Reuse – As a component of the Climate Action Plan, the limitations and opportunities for water conservation in County facilities is to be assessed.  The opportunity to implement a 20,000 gallon rain water capture cistern at the Cooperative Extension facility has been identified, was presented to the Board on January 19, 2010 and approved.  By safely reusing recycled petroleum tanks to capture rainwater, nearly all of the facility’s irrigation needs can be offset.  County staff from Facilities Management, Public Works, Cooperative Extension, and Office of Sustainability are collaboratively creating a detailed plan for implementation at this time.    


·            Park Athletic Field Lighting – A study of athletic field lighting has been conducted for four facilities (Canopy Oaks, Ft. Braden, J. Lewis Hall, Miccosukee).  Each facility has multiple fields that were examined and prioritized for energy-efficient lighting fixture upgrades and programmable controls.  Controls have been ordered and are to be installed in the very near future.  The programmable controls will result in an average simple payback of 5.3 years.


·             Recycling in County Buildings – Staff is working toward a goal of implementing a uniform recycling program throughout all County facilities.  The program will cover both paper and co-mingle (cans and bottles).  The uniformity will allow for consistency of standard operating procedures and likely increase recycling participation rates.  Efforts have begun in the Courthouse and are currently expanding into the Bank of America (BOA) building.  Occupants of BOA have now received desk-side bins for paper and the central deposit bins known as ‘Slim Jims’.  Additionally co-mingle bins have been placed throughout the building.  Staff has worked directly with the custodial team regarding the collection of recycled goods.


·            Green Roof – A potential opportunity to install a “green roof” on the Renaissance building is being explored.  The building is jointly occupied by both City and County programs including Growth Management and the Planning Department.  City and County staff are working together to determine the feasibility of such a project.  This assessment would include not only the estimated cost, but the structural requirements to install and maintain a green roof.  An agenda item will be brought to the Board upon staff’s determination of feasibility.    


·            Virtual Desktop – As part of the standard maintenance and replacement of employee computers, MIS has begun to implement a new kind of technology known as virtual desktops.  Eventually, the traditional desktop CPUs will be removed and the computing will take place in the Data Center.  In addition to the technological benefits of virtualization, significant electrical and waste avoidance will be recognized.  A description of the lifecycle benefits are provided in Attachment #1.  Staff plans to track the annual energy savings from these units.


Various databases will be used in order to track energy and green house gas emissions.  Each of these will require significant data collection and input to initiate the database, and then, once established, require less effort and time.  The following is a description of the tasks taking place for the primary database resources needed to ‘feed information’ into other more broad reaching systems.


·            Utility Manager – Staff has worked intensively with representatives from City of Tallahassee Utilities and Talquin Electric to produce a customized electronic file of all County account activity to be uploaded to Utility Manager.  The creation of these files has been challenging to staff of both utilities.  Preliminary data has been received and tested in the Utility Manager database by County staff.  All tests have been successful after some internal adjustments.  Staff is currently awaiting the complete data files from each utility and anticipates having a fully functional database in the near future.


·            Fuel Management System – This tool will allow staff to track fuel consumption patterns with far greater accuracy.  A purchase order has been secured for the installation of approximately 200 units which is to occur over the coming months.  At this time, 104 units have been installed onto County vehicles.  Fleet staff will receive training to operating the database.  Upon completion, efforts will begin to identify under-performing vehicles and possible inefficiencies caused by the operator.  This will be followed by targeted maintenance or employee education in efforts to improve the vehicle performance.  


Policy & Program Administration

Various efforts have contributed to laying the foundation of the sustainability program that will guide the program goals and funding into the future. 


·            Solar Implementation - Staff is currently working to conduct an assessment of each County building and plans to identify the best candidates for solar as well as potential demonstration projects incorporating various forms of solar technology.  The demonstration projects are currently being assessed for power production potential and cost analysis.  The result of this study will be shared with the Board in the near future.  The likely candidate locations are the Courthouse, Facilities Management, and Fleet Management.  The selection of those sites is based on various attributes such as the orientation of the building, tree coverage, roofing material etc. 


·         State Energy Financing Policy – Various states throughout the nation have adopted enabling legislation allowing financing that could be utilized to help consumers and businesses pay for retrofitting their properties with clean energy technology.  The programs are opt-in and at no cost to the remaining taxpayers.  At this time, Florida has no such enabling legislation.  Staff has actively worked with various groups and individuals throughout the state to promote the adoption of such legislation.  It appears there is growing momentum and interest in the ability for Florida property owners to participate in a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.  Legislation is currently being drafted in both the Florida House and Senate.  Staff will continue to monitor the progression of such legislation and advocate for its approval.

·            Sustainability Task Force - On May 26, 2009, the Board requested an agenda item to consider the establishment of a citizen task force to guide the County in topics relating to sustainability.  It was determined that the City of Tallahassee was also working to establish a task force for much of the same purpose.  After failed attempts by staff to gain the City’s interest in partnering in a joint task force, the Commission voted to delay action on forming a County-only group during the December 8, 2009 Board meeting.  This action was taken to allow time for the Chairman to meet with the Mayor and personally discuss the possibility of a Joint Sustainability Task Force.  The two met on December 10, 2009.  As reflected in the meeting minutes, the Mayor was open to exploring the opportunity further
(Attachment #2).  With this guidance, County and City staff once again met to discuss the partnership.  At this time, County staff recommended, rather than just a single joint task force, each government would form a separate task force of 10 citizens each.  Their mission would be to guide internal operations of the separate governments.  Additionally, five representatives from each task force would form a joint 10-member task force.  By doing so, the joint task force would consist of members who are fully aware of County and City actions, efforts, and programs.  Together this joint group would guide community wide issues of sustainability.  Ideally, the non-profit group Sustainable Tallahassee could lead this joint group.  They are viewed as expert in the topic area and a neutral third party who could help guide the joint task force along.  Staff of County and City would be involved and supportive of the joint program.  Initially this new concept was met with enthusiasm and interest.  However, it was later communicated through City staff, the City Manager does not wish to pursue a joint task force under this or any other format.  As a result, the City and County will form separate task forces, both having analogous purpose and composition.  In reaction to the inability to form a joint task force, staff is resuming its efforts to establish a County task force. 


Pursuant to Board Policy 03-15, r Board-Appointed Advisory Committees: Establishment, Appointment, Function, Operation, the establishment of an advisory committee requires adoption of an Enabling Resolution that determines whether the advisory committee will function as a Decision-Making Committee or as a Focus Group, and sets forth the statement of purpose, function, goals, and responsibilities of the advisory committee.  Staff has prepared a proposed Enabling Resolution, which would establish the Sustainability Task Force as a Focus Group (Attachment #3). 


Staff proposes that the task force have 10 members to provide staff guidance, relative to sustainability issues within governmental operations; to help move the community toward a more sustainable future through technical assistance; and, advise staff on energy conservation strategies, waste reduction and recycling, green building practices and products, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  Recommended membership would include a representative from the following agencies; the City of Tallahassee Utilities, Sustainable Tallahassee, and FSU’s Institute for Energy Systems, Economics, and Sustainability (IESES). 

Staff recommends that the seven remaining members should possess demonstrated expertise or advanced training in the areas of:



·            Community Weatherization Program - Staff, as directed by the Board, is working to create a proposed program for property-assessed financing for the weatherization of homes in unincorporated Leon County.  During the December 8, 2009 Board meeting, staff presented an agenda item requesting Board consideration of deployment of a pilot weatherization program.  However, staff received a national news release during the Board meeting that had a direct implication for the proposed County program.  A copy of the release was distributed to the Board (Attachment #4).  The item announced a proposed Federal weatherization incentive program “HomeStar” (aka Cash for Caulkers).  A summary of the program is included as Attachment #5.  Legislation is anticipated to move quickly through congress for possible passage within the next few weeks.  The incentives would be capped at 50% of project costs, leaving the homeowner to pay the remaining portion. 


County staff is examining the opportunity to adjust the proposed pilot weatherization program to provide a funding mechanism for the remaining 50% of the costs not covered by the HomeStar program.  Staff will continue to track the progression of HomeStar program.  Additionally, staff anticipates bringing an agenda item to the Board on March 23, 2010 requesting Board consideration of deployment of a pilot weatherization program.


·            Carbon Credits - The Board approved the sale of carbon credits associated with the Landfill gas collection treatment system which will be sold on the open market at an estimated profit of $53,900 annually over the next twenty years.  In addition to this innovative effort, staff has pledged to continue seeking additional opportunities to benefit from the sale of carbon credits. 


Together, staff of Cooperative Extension, Parks & Recreation, and the Office of Sustainability have begun to investigate opportunities to sell carbon credits as they relate to forested parks property.  Trees naturally sequester carbon dioxide from the air which contributes to the reduction of green house gases.  Entities can generate Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRT’s or carbon credits) for the reduction of these green house gases.  In turn, these “credits” can be sold to entities that are producing greenhouse gasses as a mitigation of sorts. Portions of the County greenways have been voluntarily reforested over the past several years pursuant to the greenways master plan.  These reforested areas can be marketed for carbon credits.  However, appropriate and certified technical support will be necessary to accomplish certification and sale of such credits. 


Approximately 365 acres of County Greenways has been identified that could qualify for a carbon-reduction project under the CAR.  Generally, a project of this size would be deemed not feasible, as the ratio of fees versus revenue is not advantageous.  Commonly, forestry carbon projects require more than 10,000 acres to be profitable and are rarely seen for less than 1,000 acres.  However, staff has identified an opportunity to partner with a local company who is prepared to offer services at a drastically reduced rate.  Technical support would be provided by a local firm, LandMark Systems, for the development and management of the proposed project.  LandMark is a leading international provider of professional services, applications, and technical products to both public and private entities engaged in forestry and natural resource management internationally.   Without a partnership, technical support can become costly and detract from the profitability of the reduction project.  Proposed fees would include no profit and only cover a minimal amount of the company’s invested overhead cost.    


LandMark has conducted a pre-feasibility analysis, at no charge, to examine the potential cash flow and carbon credit benefits over a 20-year scenario.  Preliminary findings suggest that, if structured correctly, this project could generate an average net benefit of $9,000 annually after necessary fees and management costs are paid.  The project is estimated to net more than $70,000 in revenue for Leon County over the 20-year period.  Details of the potential partnership and findings of the pre-feasibility study are included in Attachment #6.  Staff requests approval of the Partnership Agreement (Attachment #7), and authorization to proceed with a detailed feasibility study for the development and sale of carbon credits for forested parks land. 


·            Community Gardens – Per Board direction, staff has begun to investigate opportunities to host community gardens on County owned properties.  Several criteria were established in order to identify ideal property.  A needs assessment was conducted for the most suitable sites.  It is envisioned that these sites may serve as a pilot program to determine community engagement and program success.  It is anticipated that an agenda item will be submitted for the March 23, 2010 Board meeting. 


Civic Engagement and Community Partnership  

As a key resource for sustainable actions, both internally and in the community, the Office of Sustainability serves as a liaison to local, state, federal, and nonprofit groups.  The Office partners with government entities, businesses, and individual citizens on a routine basis. 


·         Sustainable Communities Summit 2010 – A status report on the Summit was provided to the Board on December 8, 2009.  Since the last status report, many efforts continue to take place.  To assist with the content and planning for the County’s event, a Leadership Team has been established (Attachment #8).  The purpose of the Leadership Team is to provide input and expertise regarding speakers and breakout sessions.  Additionally, Team members will help to garner community support and sponsorships. 


Staff has begun efforts to reach out to potential community partners to explore opportunities for assistance through sponsorship, publicity, and staff assistance.  A sponsorship packet has been created and will continue to be circulated among potential sponsors (Attachment #9). 

The food vendor has been secured and efforts are being made to extend the sustainable quality of the food selection to the extent feasible.  An example includes connecting the vendor to additional sources for local ingredients.


·         Joint Anti-Litter Campaign – During the October 27, 2009 Board meeting, Commissioner Desloge shared that he would like to partner with the City on an anti-litter program.  Together City and County staff have identified two areas for partnership, 1) Tarp It!, and 2) Enhanced Adopt-A-Road.  Board direction of such a partnership is requested.


Tarp It!: This program would remind truck drivers that state law requires them to place a cover over (or otherwise secure) the beds of their trucks when the haul loads of trash or debris that can be blown out of the truck bed.  The program is intended to target non-commercial loads due to the fact that commercial haulers are currently held to a stricter scrutiny and appear to be broadly compliant with tarping regulations.  Anecdotally, there seems to be greater opportunity for education and awareness among drivers of non-commercial pickup trucks. 


The Tarp It! Program will undertake various activities and events to educate drivers on the need to use tarps or truck covers for loads in transport.  A consistent message will be communicated though brochures and signage reminding the public of the necessity to cover debris while in transport.  It is envisioned that targeted outreach will be focused at the Rural Waste Centers and key private sector waste collection sites throughout Leon County.  In addition, to promote the use of tarps, the City and County in conjunction with a local hardware store would plan to hold an event in March 2010 where a limited number of tarps will be given away to the public along with educational materials. 


Enhanced Adopt-A-Road: The Public Works staff administers the County’s Adopt-A-Road program.  The goal of the program is to keep public rights-of-way free of litter by soliciting the participation of community organizations and individuals in cleaning up litter.  Currently over 40 groups have adopted segments of county road and pledge to conduct routine litter pickups of their adopted segments. 


At this time, staffs of the City and County are examining ways to enhance community interest and participation in the program.  Together the programs are being reviewed for opportunities to coordinate efforts and gain greater efficiencies or outcomes.  Additionally a joint communication campaign would likely occur.


The progress of these initiatives will continue to be highlighted through quarterly status reports to the Board. 


1.      Accept the FY09 fourth quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.

2.      Adopt the proposed Enabling Resolution establishing the Sustainability Task Force in accordance with Board Policy No. 03-15, Board-Appointed Advisory Committees: Establishment, Appointment, Function, Operation,

3.      Approve the Forest Carbon Offset Project Development Agreement, and authorize staff to proceed with the development of the project.

4.      Direct staff to pursue a joint anti-litter partnership with the City of Tallahassee, focusing on the Tarp It! Program and an enhanced Adopt-A-Road Program.

5.      Do not accept the FY09 fourth quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.

6.      Board Direction.  



Options #1, #2, #3, and #4. 


1.                  Environmental Benefits of Desktop Virtualization
2.                  Summary of Minutes: Mayor/Chair Meeting December 10, 2009
3.                  Enabling Resolution and Advisory Committee Request Form
4.                  News Release of Proposed Federal Weatherization Incentive Program
5.                  Summary of Proposed Federal HomeStar (aka Cash for Caulkers) Program
6.                  Forestry Carbon Credit Project Summary and Projected Revenue
7.                  Forest Carbon Offset Project Development Agreement
8.                  Leadership Team – Sustainable Communities Summit 2010
9.                  Summit Sponsorship Packet