In light of Earth Day, Woodinville City Council is taking action to identify and investigate city-centric adjustments that will positively and inexpensively impact the local environment.

Councilmembers Rachel Best-Campbell and Mike Millman introduced the Climate Action Subcommittee during the April 6 meeting and returned two weeks later with formulated thoughts on a draft scope. On April 20, council discussed three areas of focus within the subcommittee’s purview.

According to Best-Campbell, the scope of work will be divided into past, present and future. The first task is focused on creating an inventory of past actions that city has taken towards being more “green.” Second, the subcommittee plans to identify easy-to-implement actions that could be taken in next three to six months. And lastly, it hopes to pinpoint longer-term and larger actions that would take more time and might require budget appropriation. 

“The purpose of this committee would be to brainstorm ideas, discuss it with staff and then bring it to council for a full discussion,” Millman said during the April 20 meeting.

He said all potential actions ultimately need council approval. The subcommittee plans to skew toward cheaper expenditures, he added. This means starting small with planting trees, saving water and using less fertilizer. He hopes the city will add more infrastructure for charging stations in the near future as well.

“We need to start thinking about the small things we can do here,” Millman said. “We have a fiscal responsibility as well as a responsibility toward climate.”

Mayor Gary Harris said he’s on-board with the new subcommittee, although he clarified that it would have no budget or statutory authority. The next year will serve as a one-year trial run to determine the effectiveness of the new climate action-oriented group.

According to minutes from an April 13 meeting, full council action will be required before any suggestions from the subcommittee are implemented. Additionally, the group acknowledges its need to remain fiscally conservative when offering recommendations for action. As a result, the subcommittee may need to identify grant opportunities to support certain programs. 

The subcommittee will also need to assess the limitations of staff resources to assist with work or implementation of ideas, the minutes said. 

Best-Campbell suggested the Climate Action Toolkit from King County might have some useful information. However, she argues the toolkit may be beyond the scope or scale of the subcommittee. 

The Climate Action Toolkit, developed in partnership with the King County Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C), is aimed at advancing equitable climate solutions that cities can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, spur the growth of a clean energy economy and protect the natural environment.

The toolkit reflects the commitment to reduce countywide carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The kit will identify resources for cities to conduct emissions inventories, provide strategies for different sectors, and provide clear directions that can be used by any city, even those with limited financial or staff capacity to develop and implement plans.

“The Climate Action Toolkit will help mobilize cities throughout King County, uniting our efforts to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions and prepare our region for climate impacts,” King County Executive Down Constantine said in a statement. “We designed the toolkit to meet the specific needs of all local cities – urban, suburban, and rural – to help them develop customized climate solutions to produce results at a region-wide scale.”

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