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Mayor Kelly Girtz Signs Clean Energy Pledge


Mayor Kelly Girtz has signed on to the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Initiative, the first step toward committing Athens-Clarke County to 100 percent clean and sustainable energy by 2035 in an effort to fight climate change.

Girtz joined about 100 other mayors when he signed the pledge last Monday, Feb. 4. The next step, he said, is for the Athens-Clarke County Commission to approve a proclamation officially setting the goal, then to discuss ways to meet it.

A group called 100% Athens has submitted a request for $17 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funding to improve energy efficiency in government buildings, add to the county’s electric fleet and build renewable energy infrastructure at affordable housing sites.

“Obviously, it’s a tacit endorsement of the SPLOST proposal,” Girtz said. There are other potential funding sources, like the county’s capital budget that pays for ordinary maintenance and equipment purchases, but SPLOST “would certainly be a big shot in the arm,” he said.

A citizens’ advisory committee is currently vetting 88 potential SPLOST projects. Ultimately, the commission will make the final decision on which projects to put before voters in November.