Logo for 2022 Annual Conference

This year, ICMA is hosting a number of conference sessions aimed at educating attendees on different aspects of sustainability, featuring topics from how to craft community sustainability and resiliency plans to a workshop on large-scale solar. These sessions have been put together by ICMA staff and members of ICMA’s Sustainable Communities Committee.

Climate Change: Stories from the Front Line 

September 19, 2022 - 1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

The session will focus on two communities dealing with direct impacts of climate change: What are the impacts, how are they are adapting to those impacts, and what is the longer-term prognosis (including how they are talking to their elected officials about options to deal with the long-term impacts as the impacts get worse).

Sustainability and Resiliency of the Smart Columbus Program 

September 19, 2022 - 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

The Smart Columbus program concluded in May 2021 after over four years, changing circumstances and anticipated and unanticipated challenges. The USDOT program measured the impacts of the program portfolio on six outcomes: safety, mobility, environment, opportunity, agency efficiency, and customer satisfaction; and the Paul G. Allen Foundation measured many metrics but most importantly greenhouse gas emission reductions. This panel includes key staff involved in the program from start to finish. In addition to the specific performance measure outcomes and conclusions related to the USDOT and Vulcan programs, the panel will discuss key themes that emerged from the execution of the program.

Climate Change Doesn't Discriminate, but Your Sustainability Plan Might 

September 17, 2022 - 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

Impacts of climate change are being felt daily by residents throughout communities, and marginalized communities are most at risk. A recent U.S. EPA report showed that people of color are more likely to live in areas that will be the most impacted by climate change. To counter this, equitable sustainability is a call for communities to partner together to make cities stronger for the benefit of all residents. Cities can meet their specific challenges by developing actions that are achievable, measurable, and impact driven. Creating a community sustainability or resiliency plan is a bold, first step toward a collective sustainable future, guided by the ideal that everyone in communities can have the opportunity to thrive, even as they experience new challenges. Hear the nation’s leading voices discuss their communities’ plans and the processes they used for intentional, equitable engagement in areas of sustainability and resiliency.

Investing and Leveraging Resources to Make Your Community More Financially Strong and Environmentally Resilient 

September 18, 2022 - 8:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Most cities say they want to be fiscally solvent, environmentally resilient, and inclusive, yet daily decisions rarely align with these outcomes. Development and infrastructure decisions often prioritize growth and short-term needs without fully considering long-term costs and impacts. As a result, we're left with growing infrastructure funding and affordability gaps, increasing extreme weather events (and the damages as a result), and disconnected residents. To put communities back on a sustainable path, local leaders must think differently about how to build and rebuild neighborhoods and infrastructure, and not waste valuable resources rebuilding the same pattern that created these challenges. The ongoing rollout of ARPA and other federal funding programs offer a great opportunity to invest funds in projects that close resource gaps, improve environmental resilience, and create more inclusive and affordable neighborhoods. Join this session to learn about tools, strategies, and examples of how to align and leverage resources with your community's desired outcomes so that your city can be vibrant and resilient for years to come.

So You Want to Build a Solar Array? 

September 20, 2022 - 8:15 to 9:45 a.m.

The session will help small cities and counties understand the various elements (including financial) that go into siting a solar array. Solar arrays raise a host of questions for local leaders including siting (zoning), financing (debt), and interconnection (ROW/easements/MOUs). This session will explore the practical elements of siting a solar array and provide a glimpse into the future of how solar will work as part of a diverse set of energy products.

Advancing Solar and Equity in Your Community  

September 19, 2022 - 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Despite exponential growth, access to the solar market has escaped many low-income households. It is possible to both grow your local solar market and ensure that access to solar is available to all constituents. This session will encourage local governments to implement equitable strategies that reduce barriers for low-income households to go solar while fostering solar market growth.

Capturing Community Benefits from Large-Scale Solar Development  

September 20, 2022 – 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Community- and utility-scale solar development is necessary to decarbonize the grid. Yet, without careful planning and leadership, there is no guarantee that host communities will receive their fair share of project benefits. This session will prepare city and county leaders to help the jurisdictions they serve capture a greater share of benefits from local large-scale solar development projects. The session will briefly explain how broader solar market conditions, such as state tax incentives and utility business models and regulatory structures, can limit opportunities for host communities to capture the benefits of large-scale solar projects. And it will introduce the concept of a fair share of local benefits. Four distinct types of potential benefits that communities can capture from large-scale solar development will be presented: local economic development; direct payments to local governments for public facilities or services; expanded access to clean energy; and ecological improvements. And it will highlight the most important project features for each potential type of benefit. The session will wrap up by exploring how comprehensive plans can establish policy support for capturing specific benefits from large-scale solar projects. It will explain how local governments can integrate different benefit-capture approaches into zoning regulations and land-use approval processes.



New, Reduced Membership Dues

A new, reduced dues rate is available for CAOs/ACAOs, along with additional discounts for those in smaller communities, has been implemented. Learn more and be sure to join or renew today!