Meadville City Council this week gave final approval for the creation of an Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC).
The 4-1 vote means the order will go into effect on August 10. Councilor Jim Roha voted against the ordinance, as he had in two preliminary approval votes.
Councilor Autumn Vogel, the ordinance’s strongest supporter, said the city could accept applications from those interested in serving on the seven-member committee before the ordinance takes effect.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Deputy City Manager Katie Wickert said the city would issue a press release when it was ready to accept applications. Several details, such as when the committee will meet, need to be determined before this happens.
The EAC will be made up of volunteers, like other authorities, boards and committees (ABCs) appointed by the city council, such as the Zoning Hearing Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission. Some of these ABC organizations are limited to city residents, but the EAC will be open to general city residents, property owners and ratepayers, according to City Manager Maryann Menanno. The goal was to create a wider pool of potential candidates to serve on the committee, she said.
Potential applications will be reviewed and applicants interviewed by a panel likely including one or two council members and a city staff member.
The mission of the EAC will be to determine how best to prioritize and implement the objectives set out in the climate action plan adopted by the city council last month.
“The EAC is making sure our climate action plan doesn’t sit on a shelf,” Vogel said after the committee’s preliminary approval earlier this month.
As its name suggests, the role of the EAC is advisory. While it may recommend policies and request funding, the board will be responsible for following up on those recommendations.
The ordinance approved Wednesday includes a specific clause noting that it “does not commit the city in any way to make any appropriations or payments to or for the benefit of the EAC, in furtherance of the climate action plan or similar initiatives”.
Mike Crowley can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected]