The Falls Church City Council voted unanimously tonight to submit an ambitious unsolicited bid for $25 million in federal stimulus money to transform the City’s 2.2 square miles and 11,400 citizens into a “learning laboratory” for emerging green technologies, with the goal of becoming a net-zero energy community by 2050. Faced with an imminent July 1 deadline for the submission, the Council debated the measure until 11:15 p.m. until finally voting to approve.
The vote followed a 3-3 tie vote (Mayor Robin Gardner was absent) to postpone the vote until later in the week, with a tie meaning that the motion by Council Nader Baroukh failed. With additional language added to the motion to approve, assuring ongoing City Council oversight as the bid proposal will be considered by the U.S. Department of Energy, the motion then passed 6-0.
While the plan would be to bring $25 million to the City, effective use of “smart” energy conservation technologies, such as providing user-friendly energy meters in all homes in the City that would enable users to measure levels of use, would also save city residents over $9 million a year. The plan would require an additional four “full time equivalent” positions in the City government, and another five “full time equivalent” positions in a non-profit “private public partnership” that would be a major element in the operation of what all on the Council called a bold, innovative program that would put Falls Church “on the map” nationally.