Bill encourages renewable energy use


By Sherri Lightner

Councilwoman, 1st District

I’m pleased to announce that early next year, the City of San Diego will introduce an innovative new program that will provide incentives to homeowners who make energy and water efficiency upgrades to their homes.

Under California Assembly Bill 811, homeowners can finance the installation of renewable energy sources and other energy and water efficiency improvements through low-interest loans that are repaid as an item on their property tax bill.

The program will help create local clean and green jobs and encourage more people to install energy improvements in their homes, including solar panels, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, insulation, hot water heaters, drought-tolerant plants, reclaimed water systems, and water-efficient irrigation. These improvements should lead to significant energy and water cost savings for homeowners.

The program itself is designed to be cost neutral, as the participants will pay for the program through the interest on their loans. Informational meetings are being held this month throughout the city about the program. For more information, please visit our Web site, www. /cd1.

As we continue to make strides in energy efficiency, the city is also facing a projected budget shortfall of $179 million to $200 million next fiscal year. The mayor hopes to reduce the amount to be cut from next year’s budget by making mid-year reductions starting on Jan. 1, 2010. He will release his list of proposed budget reductions on Nov. 24. The City Council will discuss the reductions on Dec. 7 and take a vote on Dec. 14 for implementation on Jan. 1.

We’ve received many interesting budget suggestions in the past and encourage you to continue to submit your ideas to our office before Dec. 7, or participate in the “San Diego Speaks” Budget meetings during the coming weeks. We hope to see you at the District 1 budget meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. at Cathedral Catholic High School Assissi Hall, Building 4, 5555 Del Mar Heights Road, San Diego. A listing of all budget meetings is on our Web site.

We look forward to hearing from you! Please call us at (619) 236-6611 or e-mail sherri