Montcalm County creates PACE district

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:26 pm on Friday, February 27, 2015

STANTON — Montcalm County has become the 10th county in Michigan to create a property assessed clean energy (PACE) district.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 9-0 Monday to adopt a resolution creating a PACE district.

Andy Levin, the former director of Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, originally made the proposal to commissioners last December. He is the president of Lean & Green Michigan and managing partner of Levin Energy Partners LLC in Southfield.

Andy Levin

Michigan’s Public Act 270 of 2010 allows local units of government to adopt PACE programs and to create districts to promote the use of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by owners of certain real property. The act also allows for the financing of such programs through voluntary property assessments, commercial lending and other means.

Any property owner living in a PACE district has the option of using the property tax mechanism to finance energy improvements. The property owner would voluntarily take on a special assessment, which they would pay off as part of their own property tax bill. As a property tax, a PACE special assessment would be enforced by the county if payments become delinquent, just like any other property tax.

Commissioners were previously set to vote on the PACE resolution last month, but the tabled the proposal due to remaining uncertainty about financial liability to the county.

Levin attended Monday’s meeting to answer commissioners’ questions — again — and put them at ease.

“The county’s just enforcing property tax obligations across the board,” Levin said. “The county’s putting no taxpayer money into the project. The risk is for the property owner, not the county. If it’s never sold, tough luck for the lender, basically. The county puts no money into this.”

Lean & Green uses Michigan’s PACE statue to take a market-based approach to energy finance and economic development. The initiative aims to help commercial, industrial and multi-family property owners finance energy projects, eliminate waste and save money through financing solutions that make energy projects profitable for all parties involved via a growing tax base.

Nine other counties in Michigan have created PACE districts (Eaton, Genessee, Grand Traverse, Huron, Ingham, Macomb, Saginaw, Washtenaw and Wayne).

Officials from Parker-Arntz Heating & Plumbing in Greenville and PK Housing & Management in Okemos have previously expressed their support for creating a PACE district in Montcalm County, saying it would help them make energy efficient improvements at places such as Cambridge Court Apartments in Greenville.

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