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February 2, 2010

Re:  Sustainable Jersey Action Update

Dear Mayor:

We are pleased to present our interim program update for 2010 with new features, new and improved actions, and a refined point structure. We hope to finalize the points, new actions, and structure, by February 26, 2010, and we welcome your comments and feedback until February 17, 2010.  Municipalities working on their applications will be unable to update your profile until March 1, but your files and progress to date will not be impacted.

Points and Program Structure

Given that 2009 was the first year of the program, some tweaks to the structure were necessary. However, we have endeavored to keep the fundamental elements of the program consistent so that municipalities already working on their certifications would not be interrupted. We are also very pleased to release a slate of new actions that will score points.

The biggest change for 2010 is that we have made the program more flexible. The most common complaint we had was from municipalities with more than 100 points that could not get certified because they did not have two of the four "priority actions". This year municipalities will be able to select two out of six priority actions. A second issue was that the points available for many types of actions were capped. For example, even if you had five amazing recycling advancements, you could only get credit for two. We have lifted those caps so you can get credit for more of the things you do.

We also adjusted the point system to keep the level of effort required to achieve certification similar to the first year of the program.  Since it is now easier to score points, and there are more points available, we have adjusted the minimum points for the bronze or fist level of certification to 150 for new applications. Going forward, as we refine the program we expect to be able to limit program changes and emphasize consistency.

Finally, we added a new level of certification, Sustainable Jersey Silver.  Current certified communities are certified at the Bronze level. Certified communities can now apply for Silver certification if they fulfill the requirements detailed on the website, and un-certified communities can apply for either Bronze or Silver. Bronze Certification means that a municipality has made a commitment to sustainability and taken the first significant steps. Silver Certification means that a municipality has made significant progress toward sustainability and is a statewide leader.

New Features

Municipal Profiles: All certified communities now have a public profile on the website showcasing their efforts that led to certification. This will include descriptions of their efforts, and most importantly allow you to see and learn from the actual documents they submitted to become certified.

Search Feature: A new function will allow you to search all participating communities by county, certification status, and the specific Sustainable Jersey actions that have been completed or planned by registered or certified municipalities.

Grants Portal (coming soon): Key financial incentives and grants, from public and private sources, that will help your community implement specific Sustainable Jersey actions will now be searchable through a customizable grants portal. Users will be able to search by category
and keyword, or create a profile that will generate, and automatically update, a list of grants for which they are eligible.

Training and Green Team Support

We understand that it takes a lot of effort for your community to successfully become a certified municipality in the Sustainable Jersey program. Over the next year we will be offering a wide range of support to assist you in navigating the process. Some of the ways we hope to support your work include Training that focuses on "How To Implement" specific actions, Green Team capacity building support and training; monthly webinars and conference calls where you can have your questions answered will be some of the ways we hope to support your work.

We have also heard that you would like the opportunity to meet informally with other communities involved in the program. To facilitate that we will be organizing Sustainable Jersey gatherings to help the great volunteers and municipal staff meet, collaborate and learn from each other's successes and challenges. We are midway through our first series of "How To" trainings on Community Energy Outreach that was offered through morning, evening webinar and full day formats throughout the State. Stay on the lookout for email announcements and posting on the Sustainable Jersey website under Training for the latest offerings.

For further information contact Medea Villere at 732-932-5475 x660.

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director



 

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