Community Climate Hero – Abe Zambrano, Bedford Comptroller
Written by Clean Energy Intern Laura Cunningham
Bedford 2030 was thrilled to sit down with this month’s Community Climate Hero Abe Zambrano, the Comptroller of the town of Bedford. Abe was instrumental in the recent electric vehicle charger station installations in Bedford Hills and Katonah. Abe was also fundamental in achieving the grants needed to install the two most recent chargers in our community, totaling to nine chargers installed by the town. Abe worked with Bedford 2030, his team, and the town of Bedford to install of the most used charging stations so far, not only promoting the switch to electric but making EV use easier and more accessible in our community.
Abe’s passion for environmental action and his experience, as Comptroller since 2016 and Village Manager of Ossining and Croton-on-Hudson for 14 years prior, made him the perfect man for the job when the installation project was proposed. Through collaboration with the Town Supervisor’s office and Bedford 2030, the town was able to secure two different grants to fund the project and lessen the financial responsibility on the town. The town was awarded a grant from NYS Department of Energy Conservation in 2019 for the purchase of the chargers themselves, but the project came to an unfortunate halt due to COVID-19.
In 2022, newly elected Town Supervisor Ellen Calves was excited to learn about the grants. A fresh emphasis on climate action gave Abe and his team’s project the momentum it needed, and with help from Mariah Okrongly, Bedford 2030’s Energy and Transportation Program Director, the town won another grant from NYSEG to fund the preparation and installation of the charging stations. The project was completed this past Spring upon the installation of the two chargers, facilitated by the NYSEG-appointed contractor group ChargeSmart. Since their completion, the two newest chargers – located at 425 Cherry St in Bedford Hills and Municipal Lot 3 in Katonah – have reported the highest EV charging activity of all existing stations in the area!
Abe’s hard work to secure funding for this project reflects Bedford’s priority of promoting cleaner, healthier modes of transportation, and ensures town residents will have the charger access they need as the demand for electric vehicles rises. And his fight for climate action isn’t stopping here – as the town’s financial plan for 2024 is in its very preliminary stages, Abe is proposing all vehicles purchased by the town going forward be fully electric, citing that the infrastructure for this is already in place given the abundance of charging stations in parks and municipal lots. Additionally, he commends the current considerations of cleaner energy options at municipal buildings like the Town House that are in need of system upgrades and replacements.
His work to incorporate sustainability into the town’s fiscal plans is in part inspired by his experience with renewable energy and electric appliances in his personal life. He’s found great luck with his home’s solar panels, an induction cooktop, and a hybrid plug-in vehicle, and encourages making any sustainable change you can, no matter how small – “If everyone did their part… then there would be a tremendous change.”
We want to thank Abe and the town of Bedford’s efforts to prioritize climate action and improve the accessibility of electric vehicles in the community, and we hope members of the Bedford community and beyond will continue to support sustainable changes and environmental projects the town proposes in the future.