Chowchilla Mayor Discusses Rural Communities Cap-And-Trade Funds with Governor
By Patty Mandrell

Chowchilla Mayor Pro-tem Waseem Ahmed attended a League of California Cities API Caucus event in Sacramento recently. Gov. Jerry Brown was also in attendance at the meeting. Ahmed had the opportunity to speak to the governor about the cap-and-trade funds and water concerns in Madera County.

Ahmed had some questions for the governor regarding his recent proposed revised budget dealing with cap-and-trade funds, which Ahmed noted were originally expected to generate in excess of $1 billion a year and now are estimated to be more than $2 billion.

In talking to the governor, Ahmed suggested that the San Joaquin Valley should get its fair share and that the funds should not be distributed on population formulas but be regional funding allocations. “We have 23 out of the top 30 most disadvantaged communities here in the Central Valley,” Ahmed said. “These funds can bring significant improvement to desperately needed areas in California.”

Ahmed said that community’s service and development has been allocated $75 million. “It should be increase for low income residential solar water heating and HVAC programs,” he stated.

Another area he touched on was water conservation. “Water conservation has been allocated $30 million. Ahmed said it should be increased for water efficiency –programs or projects that also reduce water and energy use.

“Food and agriculture currently has been allocated $25 million; it should be increased for agricultural irrigation pump efficiency, drip irrigation and other measures,” Ahmed said.

According to Ahmed, sustainable agriculture land conservation is currently allocated $10 million. His recommendation was to fund more projects that support the protection and management of California agricultural land through easements.

He said high speed rail has currently been allocated $250 million and through revised proposals, it has been recommended to be $500 million. Ahmed said that difference should be allocated to the Valley’s most disadvantaged community’s infrastructure, roads, air quality, education, small business start-up loan/grants and by streamlining the industrial development approval process which can in return create jobs, along with low carbon transportation planning. - Chowchilla News

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