Seb City Council with Marc Levine's big check

Assemblymember Marc Levine dropped off a check for the city of Sebastopol at the June 16 city council meeting. Above, Sarah Gurney, Una Glass, Neysa Hinton, Marc Levine, Patrick Slayter and Michael Carnacchi.

At its meeting on July 16, the Sebastopol City Council voted to switch the city’s utility accounts over to Evergreen, a 100% local and renewable energy program from Sonoma Clean Power. The switch will cost the city an additional $41,500 a year.

“This is the single most important thing we can do that will have the largest effect on our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Council­member and Sonoma Clean Power Board Member Patrick Slayter.

The council rejected Councilmember Michael Carnacchi’s suggestion that they examine other options, such as PG&E’s renewable energy programs, instead arguing for the advantages of local energy sourcing and local control that Sonoma Clean Power provides.

Mayor Neysa Hinton initially suggested that the council start out by switching 50% of the city’s utility accounts to the Evergreen program, but in the end she went along with the majority and voted to go whole hog.

Carnacchi, who expressed his support for some kind of 100% renewable option, abstained.

The council also voted to strike a blow for zero waste by voting to go paperless, moving from paper documentation to electronic. They approved a resolution to provide councilmembers with city-owned iPads to be used exclusively for city business or, alternatively, give councilmembers a $600 stipend to buy their own tablet, which could be used for both city and personal business. Councilmembers could still request paper versions if they wanted. The council said financially this would be a wash — the money the city saves in paper costs would pay for the cost of tablets.

At the beginning of the evening, councilmembers accepted a giant check for $1.5 million from District 10 Assemblymember Marc Levine to pay for damage caused by the February flooding.

“All of the sudden we have a little more money,” said Councilmember Una Glass, noting that now the city could shift some of the money originally slated for flood repair to other programs, including perhaps a city grant writer or a green energy incentive program for citizens. The council agreed to re-examine the budget in light of these changes at its mid-year review.

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