With several officials representing Henderson County cities present to support the vote, Commissioners Court established a Property Assessed Clean Energy program Tuesday.
“This is the last step in this process,” County Judge Wade McKinney said. “This has been several months in the making.”
The PACE program provides low-cost, long-term financing for water and energy efficiency and conservation improvements to commercial and industrial properties.
Speaking during the public hearing were Gun Barrel City Councilwoman Linda Rankin, GBC Mayor David Skains, Tool City Councilman Michael Fladmark and Athens Economic Development Director Joanie Ahlers.
Texas PACE Authority President Charlene Heydinger was also present at the meeting. She recently met with Gun Barrel City officials concerning their interest in PACE. She informed them that because GBC did not collect a property tax the program would have to be implemented at the county level.
Ahlers said Athens is an example of a place that could benefit from the program.
“It’s a very valuable tool, especially in a situation like the downtown square of Athens is in where there are a number of old buildings that have been neglected by their property owners and are starting to change hands,” Ahlers said.
The program could help some of those new owners as the upgrade the properties and bring them up to the current code.
“This financing, because it attaches to the building is favorable for economic development,” Ahlers said.
According to the Texas Comptroller’s Office, under a PACE arrangement, private property owners evaluate measures that achieve energy savings and obtain financing, repaid as an assessment on the building. The assessment mechanism allows access to low-cost, long-term capital to finance improvements to the property.
Navarro County has already adopted the program.