City seeks new funding opportunity for green projects

SOLANA BEACH — In an effort to pay for energy-saving upgrades at more of its facilities, the city of Solana Beach has found a potential solution, allowing the upgrades to be done without using money from the city’s general fund.
Areas where upgrades can be made have already been identified in previous audits. Although minor projects were completed, funding has precluded the city from implementing any recommended large-scale changes.
“The city has identified a potential solution to overcome this financial obstacle,” City Engineer Mo Sammak said during an informational presentation at the June 8 meeting.
A new provision in the government code allows cities to fund upgrades with little or no money from their general funds by using performance-based contracting.
That means that if, and when, the city hires an energy services company, that company would be compensated through the savings that are observed as a result of the energy-saving projects, Sammak said.
“The city would not be obligated to allocate general fund money for these projects,” he said.
The Solana Beach request for proposals directs companies to analyze city facility energy consumption, design improvements, secure financing independent from the general fund and implement the improvements.
The upgrades are expected to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, create a better quality work environment for employees and customers, provide cost savings and increase public safety, Sammak said.
If a contract is awarded, a public hearing must be held to consider whether the improvements are in the best interest of the city and if the anticipated cost for the services provided is less than the anticipated savings.
The request for proposals ends June 28. Oral interviews are scheduled for Aug. 11, with council consideration planned for Sept. 14.
A review of City Hall has already been conducted. This proposal includes all other city properties and assets, including streetlights.

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