LISBON, Ohio – On the pretext that it will be another tool for economic development for the region, the Columbiana County Port Authority Board of Directors on Monday took steps to establish a fundraising program for the region. clean energy rated by property, or PACE.
PACE programs allow homeowners to finance the initial costs of energy or other improvements on a property, paying off the cost over time through a tax assessment on the property rather than the individual.
At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, the board participated in a Program Focus presentation, explained by Colvin Kalvas of Bricker & Eckler Attorneys at Law, and Donald J. Hart and Amanda Kozak of GAX Capital Group.
Some of the energy efficiency improvements eligible under the PACE program include clean energy projects such as HVAC, lighting, roofs, windows and insulation. Other eligible alternative energy upgrades could include solar PV, solar thermal and geothermal systems, as well as customer-generated projects such as biomass and micro-wind.
To apply for PACE funding, a property owner submits a petition to the local government identifying the proposed project, appraisals, and other aspects. The local government then passes several pieces of legislation, including resolutions of necessity and ordinances to conduct and enforce the assessments.
The last step requires the local government to enter into agreements for each transaction and agree to transfer any assessments actually received to the PACE lender.
Upgrades and renovations to existing buildings, new construction and “gut” rehabilitations, and refinancing-eligible upgrades are all ways of using CAPC. While residential property is eligible, Port Authority Executive Director Penny Traina said the program is likely to be more attractive to owners of commercial properties.
In order to establish a PACE neighborhood, a local government must first have a clean energy project underway, explained Traina. The Port Authority has just such a project at its Cherry Fork Industrial Park in Leetonia, where high-efficiency LED lighting and HVAC upgrades and replacements, among other upgrades, are underway, she said. .
Landowners from other Columbiana County communities interested in submitting a project for consideration in the PACE program will make these submissions through the newly created entity.
The Board of Directors was informed that the Port Authority can provide administrative and management services, use its existing relationships and skills, provide capital for PACE transactions in the form of direct or intermediary loans, bond fund loans improved or loan funds and may provide additional incentives or enter into structuring expertise agreements to a project involving PACE, including exemption from sales tax, other forms of financing or connection to other incentives.
In the absence of council chairman Charlie Presley, council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution authorizing the submission of a petition to Leetonia Village Council requesting the establishment of a Special Improvement District of energy in conjunction with the county to be licensed to do business under the registered trade name of Columbiana County Special Energy Improvement District.
The petition asks the village to approve the creation of the district, add the project site to the territory of the district and levy special contributions at the project site to pay part of the costs of the current energy project at the site of Cherry Fork.
The board of directors also voted to hire Bricker & Eckler as legal counsel, at a total cost of $ 2,750, to establish the PACE funding program through the establishment of the Special Improvement District of the energy.
In other areas, Traina reported to the Board of Directors that the Port Authority’s request for $ 250,000 in funding through the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Appalachian Governor’s Office has been approved for the project. Global Investment Hub in Leetonia.
The project is a partnership with Youngstown State University Export Assistance and SBDC. Traina said the hub will be used to attract foreign and new businesses to invest in the county, especially in 3D printing, tech and petrochemicals clusters.
With the Ohio General Assembly earmarked an additional $ 23 million for the marine assistance program, Traina said letters had been sent to the 18 terminals in Columbiana County soliciting potential projects.
The Port Authority successfully completed the first round of funding, securing approximately $ 1.7 million in funding for three river terminals. Traina said applications will go out on August 16 for projects, which will be funded 50% in grants and 50% in local matching funds.
Finally, Traina said, the agency’s economic stimulus program will be launched on August 2, with economic stimulus coordinators who will contact local and regional businesses, visit employers to determine their needs, develop growth opportunities and develop. programs around entrepreneurship.
“This program will allow us to create workforce development programs and promote the growth of all businesses in Columbiana County,” Traina predicted.
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.