Residents will be able to pay off home improvements on tax bill.
Longboat Key residents will now have the option to take part in the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, a statewide program that helps homeowners finance and make energy-related improvements to their homes.
The Florida PACE program provides funding specifically for renewable energy, energy efficiency and wind resistance improvements. The loans, in turn, would be paid back on the property owner’s annual tax bill.
Items that would be covered could include HVAC systems, insulation installation and even a charging station for an electric vehicle.
“Air conditioning is the most common improvement in Florida,” Jacob Erickson, Manatee County Services Procurement Team Leader, told town commissioners during a Sept. 11 meeting.
PACE has been designed to encourage local governments to subscribe to its statewide financing program rather than pursue funding on their own. The end goal is for local governments to get access to a pool of funds without individually seeking capital for constituents.
The value of the PACE improvement would need to be paid back over time, along with any interest or fees charged by the service provider. The annual payment, which carries interest rates between 6% to 9%, would be included as a non-ad valorem assessment on annual property tax bills, according to Sarasota County.
In Manatee County, PACE is in operation only in unincorporated areas and does not include Longboat homeowners yet.
The value of the improvement and the obligation to repay the PACE debt stays with the property. For example, if the property is sold, the debt stays with the property, not the former owner.
Commissioners felt it made sense for the town to participate.
“We have many older homes that need to be renovated,” Commissioner Randy Clair said.
Added Commissioner Jack Daly: “There are no downsides going forward.”
Sarasota County Commission adopted a framework for setting up a PACE program last year, but it is still not available to county homeowners. Additional agreements need to be signed and workshops will be scheduled by the county to explain how PACE works.