Despite an outcry from a dozen residents at a meeting in September, the Lodi City Council approved accepting federal grant funds to create a $120,000 climate action plan.
In a 4-1 vote, the council on Wednesday night approved moving forward with the state-mandated plan, and the city will hire a consultant to complete it. It will measure the city's greenhouse gases and offer suggestions on how to reduce emissions.
The document is required as a follow-up to the city's General Plan, which guides growth over the next 20 years. The council approved the General Plan in 2010.
Councilman Alan Nakanishi opposed the plan because he believes Assembly Bill 32 will harm local businesses. The California Global Warming Solutions Act was signed into law in 2006.
"I want clean air, but the measure that was passed in 2006 is too draconian. There needs to be a balance," Nakanishi said.
Lodi resident Greg Goehring was the only one who spoke against the city taking the funds. He urged Lodi to refuse the money and not do the climate action plan until the state forces the city to do it.
"We have a bad law that is based on faulty science. ... We need to take a stand and not implement this bad law," Goehring said.
He is concerned about future costs that will result from the plan, and said that the city needs to remember that federal grant money still comes from taxes.
"This is not free money. This is money that comes from the American taxpayer. It may seem like free money, but it's not," Goehring said.
Councilman Larry Hansen said his concern is that the state will find some way to force the city to do the plan later, and Lodi will be stuck with the tab.
"We do know that the state is good at implementing fines to generate revenue," he said.
While he understands that the grant funds could be taxpayer dollars, Hansen said he would rather keep General Fund money local. It pays for Lodi's police, fire and library services.
"We are going to have to do it, and if we don't do it with the grant funds, then the money will come from the General Fund. The General Fund is absolutely your tax dollars from here in Lodi," Hansen said.
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said the city could do the climate action study and then leave it sitting on the shelf until the state mandates the city to enact it.
She said Lodi should accept the grant funds and do the study now, instead of waiting for the state to mandate it because the city will have more control of the process.
"We can control the outcome. I'd rather have that ability then sit back and wait for the state to decide," Mounce said.