FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21, 2014
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – A proposed ordinance to create a PACE energy improvement district within the City of North Little Rock is scheduled for a first reading and public comments during the City Council’s regular meeting Monday, 6:00 pm, at City Hall, 300 Main Street, North Little Rock.
Mayor Joe Smith will introduce the ordinance and the Council could elect to take it up for consideration immediately after the public hearing or at a future council meeting.
AAEA members who are interested in making public comments in support of the PACE district during Monday’s hearing are urged to sign in with the City Clerk before the Council convenes at 6:00 p.m.
“This is a key development that could introduce an innovative energy improvement financing mechanism to property owners in Central Arkansas,” said Steve Patterson, executive director of AAEA. “PACE is a job creator. It is rapidly expanding across the country as a practical way for property owners to save energy costs and improve cash flow.”
The proposed ordinance would establish the “North Little Rock Energy Improvement District” under terms of the state’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act. The City of Fayetteville became the first Arkansas city to create a district last October. Its newly-appointed Board of Directors is working diligently this year toward an official launch of the program by summer.
The PACE Act was a major policy priority for AAEA during last year’s Arkansas General Assembly. It enables local communities to create energy improvement districts to allow private financing of energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy projects and water conservation improvements. Property owners may qualify for 100%, low-interest loans that are secured by real property assessments.
PACE is 100% voluntary and in communities that adopt PACE, assessments are only paid by participating property owners and only for their respective projects.
The North Little Rock ordinance cites the potential to “substantially reduce” energy consumption by homes and businesses by enhancing access to PACE financing. The ordinance calls for appointment of a seven-member Board of Directors and calls for the City Council to “give due consideration to candidates with connections to or relations with local utility companies, lending or bonding institutions and the advanced energy industry.”
The ordinance invites other governmental entities to join the district and stipulates that it is “legally and financially independent of the City. No debt entered into by the District shall ever be construed as an obligation of the City…”
To read a summary of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, click here: http://arkansasadvancedenergy.com/files/dmfile/PACESUMMARY.2.13.pdf
Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies. www.arkansasadvancedenergy.com
The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA. The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future. www.arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org
Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A report released in January 2013 by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. Read the full report here: http://arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org/files/dmfile/AEEIEconomicImpactofAdvancedEnergy-Final.pdf
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