FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2014
North Little Rock Becomes 2nd Arkansas City with a PACE District
NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The City of North Little Rock became the state’s second energy improvement district under provisions of the State Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act after the city council unanimously approved a proposed ordinance during its regular meeting Monday night.
Mayor Joe Smith announced the ordinance approval after a brief discussion and unanimous vote by the council and several supportive comments from business and industry representatives, mostly members of AAEA.
In his comments to the council, NLR City Attorney Jason Carter called the PACE ordinance an “economic development opportunity” for the city and explained that without the Council’s action, “there will be no energy improvement district in North Little Rock.”
A similar PACE ordinance was adopted by the City of Fayetteville last October and a newly-appointed Board of Directors is working 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 strictly voluntary and in communities that adopt PACE, assessments are only paid by participating property owners and only for their respective projects.
The NLR City Council heard supportive comments from Heather Nelson, President and COO of SEAL Energy Solutions; Ron McCarty with Powers of Arkansas; Lisa Meyer, Manager of McCain Mall; and Steve Patterson, Executive Director, AAEA.
Meyer indicated that McCain Mall owner Simon Properties is prepared to utilize PACE financing to implement various energy savings improvements at the facility. Both Nelson and McCarty agreed that by enabling low-cost, private financing for property owners to pay for energy improvements, the City Council will help create jobs. They said commercial property owners can be more competitive by reducing energy costs.
“We congratulate the property owners of North Little Rock who, thanks to their City Council, will soon have access to this modern and innovative energy improvement financing mechanism to improve their properties,” Patterson said. “PACE is a job creator. There is a very good reason 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.
The next step for the North Little Rock Energy Improvement District is the nomination and appointment of a seven-member board to administer the program.
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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