PACE comes to Citrus County

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PACE comes to Citrus County

A program born in the Florida Legislature has finally reached into Citrus County.

The program is known as PACE, an acronym for Property Assessed Clean Energy is a way that helps homeowners and businesses get financing for things such as new roofs, solar power and wind-mitigation products such as storm windows.

Under this plan, the PACE program managers will help homeowners and businesses with those areas, and at no cost to the county, program administrators told Citrus County Commissioners at their Jan. 9 meeting in Inverness. The program will also use local contractors to do the jobs growing out of the implementation of the program, be it commercial or residential, and will also train contractors how to perform the various associated installation and other tasks.

The idea was first floated by the League of Women Voters of Citrus County, a couple of commission meetings ago, toward the end of 2017.

One PACE representative said, PACE is a voluntary tool to do things to increase energy efficiency. It’s not just just solar, but would also encompass roofs impact windows and solar. “Local contractors have been involved in 160,000-plus properties across the nation. “More than 24 counties involved in Florida and a number of municipalities” she said.

Under the plan, a home or business owners would pay for the cost of the product they want by way of a special assessment, payable on the yearly property tax bill. Other property owners would not be assessed, since they did not engage of PACE project, unless they, too wanted something done under the program.

Another PACE representative from Why Green, a part of the PACE program spoke to the commissioners and said PACE has the public in mind. He said the benefits to residents and business owners include lower utility bills, insurance, no up-front out-of-pocket cash required to do improvements, pay-back times match the type of improvements (solar being the longest) … and more.

A representative from Renovate America, also part of the PACE program, said PACE Florida has a PACE statute, and that PACE will benefit business and residential sectors.

He said PACE will train local contractors, and reiterated that PACE projects are at no risk and no cost to local governments.

CJ DeSantis, Florida PACE district representative. BOCC a regulation would authorize PACE to service residents. And it would be  non-advarolem tax assessment type of arrangement.

Commissioner Jeff Kinnard told the PACE representatives his biggest concern is that PACE might be a deterrent to lenders, who might view such a process as being a lending risk factor. A PACE representative said there is no empirical evidence that it is so.

County Attorney Denisa A. Dymond-Lyn asked what would happen if a home were sold before the PACE project was paid off. One PACE representative said that it would be part of the agreement between a seller and buyer.

The county commission decided that it would have the staff draft up a resolution, which will be presented at a future meeting of the Board of County Commissioners for a vote.