The official committee charge (approved by the Selectboard 6-27-18):
The Norwich Energy Committee (the “NEC”) shall make recommendations to the Selectboard regarding Town policy on energy-related matters. The NEC works with residents, businesses and the Town to promote energy education and awareness, reduce energy consumption, improve the efficiency of energy used, promote renewable energy generation, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on both an absolute and per capita basis. All Committee or Subcommittee work and activities are subject to the VT Open Meeting Law in all respects.
Statement of Purpose
The Norwich Energy Committee advises the Planning Commission on energy-related matters that pertain to the Town Plan and the Selectboard and Town Manager on energy-related matters that affect Town policy.
The Committee identifies opportunities and makes recommendations to the appropriate Town officials and committees regarding energy conservation and efficiency, nonfossil energy sources and pollution reduction that address the environmental and fiscal benefits to the Town’s government, residents and businesses.
The Committee educates the citizens and property owners of the Town about energy conservation, alternative energy sources and other energy sustainability measures, and increases public awareness of energy issues and builds public support for energy efficiency and sustainable energy policies. It devises and implements programs in support of those measures with the assistance of other volunteers.
The Selectboard shall provide guidance from time to time on its policy priorities with respect to energy matters. Current policy priorities that the Selectboard wishes the Committee to support are:
a.Information – Good policy must be informed by good information. The Town, its Departments and our citizens should have high quality information available to understand how we use energy and what types of energy we use. The Committee shall advise the Town Manager, other committees and the Selectboard regarding what information should be developed, when, by whom and for what purpose.
b. Efficiency – avoided energy use saves the Town money and serves the related goals of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Committee shall advise the Town Manager, other committees and the Selectboard regarding opportunities for increasing energy efficiency both in Town consumption and in the consumption patterns of our citizens.
c. Support The State of Vermont’s Comprehensive Energy Plan (the “State Plan”) – The Selectboard endorses the policies contained in the State Plan and wishes to support those policies on the local level. The Committee shall advise the Town Manager, other committees and the Selectboard regarding current and prospective practices that support and hinder the goals of the State Plan.
d. Reduce local Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Policy choices that would increase Town emissions should be discouraged and those that would help to reduce them should be included. Implicit in this policy orientation is the knowledge that the headline “price” of goods and services does not necessarily reflect their true “cost”. The Committee shall advise the Town Manager, other committees and the Selectboard regarding initiatives and policies such as Solarize Norwich and Weatherize Norwich that workd to steadily reduce local emissions in a cost-effective manner.
The Committee shall consist of seven (7) members, who shall be Norwich residents or property owners, appointed by the Selectboard to staggered three-year terms. Members serve without compensation. The members should bring to the Committee diverse interests and expertise.
The Committee shall choose from its membership a chair and other positions as appropriate. The Committee may establish subcommittees and draw on outside expertise to assist in carrying out its work; it may recruit and direct an indefinite number of volunteers to implement its programs.
The Committee’s shall hold regular, standing meetings at a regular time and place, with special meetings convened when appropriate. The time and place of each meeting and draft minutes shall be made available and posted in compliance with Vermont’s Open Meeting Law with support from the Town Manager’s Office. A voting quorum shall be four (4) members. Motions and other actions require a minimum of four (4) votes.
Public Participation and Involvement
Public participation and involvement in the Committee’s work is a high priority and the Committee is invited to support the Selectboard in presenting ideas and receiving feedback through public forums and educational sessions pertaining to energy policy.
The Committee will provide input to the Town Plan as well as to the Selectboard's periodic strategic planning process, both for municipal and community matters pertaining to energy sustainability. The Committee may assist in implementation of the Town Plan and any strategic plans pertaining to energy and sustainability. The Committee may develop and implement plans for community outreach.
The Committee may coordinate with federal, state, and regional entities to share ideas and participate in programs relating to energy and sustainability, however it may not bind the Town in any legal agreement without the consent of the Town Manager and/or the Selectboard as is appropriate given the nature of the commitment.
The Committee may make expenditures, obtain grant money and donantions in support of its programs; these will be deposited in a Town account with the approval of the Town Manager and consistent with the Town’s financial and purchasing policies.
Conflict of Interest
The Town’s Conflict of Interest Policy shall apply to members of this Committee.
The Committee will report to the Selectboard on its activities at least quarterly pursuant to the Selectboard’s policy on committee reporting. Posted minutes of the meetings of the Committee and any subCommittee shall be sufficiently detailed so as to allow the Selectboard and concerned citizens to remain apprised of the Committee’s activities on behalf of the Town.