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Indio takes home gold

The City of Indio has been awarded the gold level Beacon Award from the Institute for Local Government (ILG). This award is a spotlight award that recognizes individual accomplishments of cities and counties participating in the Beacon Program. Over 80 cities applied for awards this year and many of them, including the City of Indio, received awards. 
 
This past September 14, 2017, the awards were presented during the League of California Cities Annual Conference and EXPO in Sacramento. The City of Indio received a gold level spotlight award for “Sustainability Best Practice Activities.” 

Indio was recognized for replacing grass with drought tolerant landscaping throughout the city; expediting the review/permit process for solar projects; enacted a recycling ordinance requiring 65% or more diversion of project waste; reduced greenhouse gas emissions by using local vendors and locally produced goods; placed waste and recycling receptacles in parks and public places; purchased city electric vehicles; installed solar electric vehicle charging stations; installed a parking structure at city hall with solar panels; installed solar lighting at city parks; and participated in regional and local planning efforts to offset carbon emissions. 

At the City Council meeting on October 4, 2017, Sara Toyoda, Environmental Programs Coordinator, was recognized for her outstanding efforts to make Indio sustainable and help the city achieve the gold level Beacon Award. 
 
The Beacon Program is a statewide program that provides a framework to create healthy communities by working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and adopt policies and programs that promote sustainability. The framework offers options for local action in ten areas. They are drawn from practical experiences of cities and counties throughout California. The options vary in complexity and are adaptable to fit the unique needs and circumstances of individual communities. 
 
Spotlight awards are categorized as silver, gold and platinum level. The highest level is a full Beacon Award. In 2015, the City of Indio was awarded a silver level and has held that until its now gold. Communities receive awards based on how they implement the framework and on energy savings.
 
Participating agencies are surveyed and asked to provide a description of completed or ongoing activities undertaken in the ten areas of the Institute’s Sustainability Best Practice Framework. These areas include: energy efficiency and conservation activity, water and wastewater systems activity, green building activity, waste reduction and recycling activity, climate-friendly purchasing activity, efficient transportation activity, renewable energy and low-carbon fuels activity, land use and community design activity, open space and offset carbon emission activity, and promoting community and individual action activity. 
 
The Beacon Program is sponsored by the Institute for Local Government and the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative. The Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) provides support to cities and counties to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy. SEEC is an alliance between three statewide non-profit organizations and California’s four Investor-Owned Utilities. It builds upon the unique resources, expertise and local agency relationships of each partner.
 
The Beacon program is funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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