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RICHMOND, Va. – In the weeks following his election as the third-highest office holders in government, Mayor Dwight Jones has been busy filling in the details of his agenda, but the first item on his list of priorities has been a lot easier to achieve than most people might think.
In late March, Jones and the city council voted unanimously to create city code that would require the city manager to develop a climate and energy action strategy.
“I feel like I stepped out in the backyard and threw the first ball,” Jones said this week on a conference call with reporters to discuss his first 100 days.
The idea for the city’s climate and energy action plan was sparked by an effort launched by the Sierra Club this spring that pushed the city council to take its own action. The club used the same energy model the city is using to craft its own plan to reduce energy use and create jobs.
The city manager created a five-point action plan on energy, climate and community development. He was required to develop a plan to reduce energy use in city buildings that will include goals for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The city was also required to develop a climate and energy action plan to reduce the city’s energy use and generate community development.
“I’ve said over and over I know the climate action plan could’ve been done a year ago,” Jones said. “I’ve said a year ago I would’ve been very specific and I’ve said a year ago I would have used the energy code. But I think we’ve pulled that off for the first time in the history of the city of Richmond.”
Jones said the city’s plan is an important milestone on the road to reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In September, the city council voted unanimously to reduce its operating deficit by about $500,000, which makes the city