Olmsted County Environmental Commission, Rochester Energy Commission work could take new paths
County commissioners and council members will discuss future of two local commissions during meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
ROCHESTER — A pair of local government commissions could be in their final stages of work.
Olmsted County commissioners will discuss disbanding the county’s Environmental Commission on Tuesday, and the Rochester City Council will have a similar conversation about the city’s Energy Commission on Wednesday.
Citing a shift in Olmsted County Environmental Commission duties since its creation in 1991, county staff is recommending replacing the commission with a task force model in an effort to tackle specific projects individually, rather than an array of environmental issues.
Staff is recommending using different project-based task forces to target areas of concern as needed, which is expected to establish improved timeliness for making recommendations and provide opportunities for broader community involvement.
At least one county commissioner has already voiced concerns about the proposed change.
“I will argue vigorously against task forces,” said Commissioner Dave Senjem during the Feb. 7 county board meeting. “I think they are too come-and-go. Although they are good for specific things, I think this is a bigger topic.”
A day after the county discussion, Rochester City Council members will consider a different type of shift, with the suggestion that the city’s Energy Commission be replaced with a proposed sustainability commission.
The Rochester Energy Commission, which was created in 2009, was key in creating a 2017 Energy Action Plan and supporting the Rochester Public Utilities plan to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
A report to the City Council points out that more recent work on a city Sustainability and Resiliency Community Plan built on the Energy Commission’s efforts and identified new strategies for moving forward.
The community task force that helped create the Sustainability and Resiliency Community Plan recommended establishing an advisory board to oversee the plan's implementation, so city staff is proposing the new commission would fill that role.
Creation of the new commission is expected to take a few months, with a need to select new members and finalize a transition plan.
The fate of the Olmsted County Environmental Commission will be discussed during the commissioners’ meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the city-county Government Center, and the City Council will discuss the Energy Commission during its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers of the Government Center.
Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of Feb. 20 include:
- Public Utility Board, 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Rochester Public Utilities community room, 4000 East River Road NE.
- Park Board study session, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 320 of City Hall, 201 Fourth St. SE.
- City Council study session, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday In council chambers of the city-county Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
- City Council, 7 p.m. Wednesday in council chambers of the Government Center. The meeting will livestream at www.rochestermn.gov/meetings/council-meetings and be available on Spectrum cable channel 180 or 188 and Metronet channel 80.
- Administrative Committee, 1 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 of the Government Center, 151 Fourth St. SE.
- Physical Development Committee, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 of the Government Center.
- Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in conference room 1 of the Government Center.
- Housing and Redevelopment Authority, 4 p.m. Tuesday in board chambers of the Government Center.
- Board of County Commissioners, 6 p.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the Government Center.
- Rochester-Olmsted Council of Governments, noon Wednesday in conference room 186 at 2122 Campus Drive SE in Rochester.
Rochester Public Schools
- School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW.