DETROIT — Lean & Green Michigan announced Wednesday that Antrim, Delta and Leelanau County all joined the statewide PACE partnership this month.
On Nov. 3, the county commission in the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County voted 5-0 to join the program. Lean & Green Michigan officials say they are already discussing potential PACE projects there and hope to announce the first one in the first half of 2016.
The county commission in Antrim County, in northwest Lower Michigan, followed suit with an 8-0 vote Nov. 12. While many Antrim County businesses could benefit from PACE, it was the support of a brewery (Short’s), a ski and golf resort (Shanty Creek), and a multifamily property company (PK Housing) that ultimately showed the county just how valuable PACE could be.
Finally, on Nov. 17, Leelanau County, also in northwest Lower Michigan, made it three counties in three weeks on a 6-1 vote. Leelanau staff and elected officials worked hard with the Levin Energy Partners team to make this program available for Leelanau County businesses and nonprofits like Leelanau Studios, Blackstar Farms, and Thomas & Milliken Millwork Inc. These and other organizations are hitting the ground running and in no time Leelanau should join the ranks of counties that have completed a PACE project.
All told, the PACE public-private partnership now includes 18 counties and six cities and townships, which together represent 52 percent of Michigan’s population. For a map of PACE counties and municipalities, visit http://leanandgreenmi.com/index.
Under PACE financing law, counties, cities and townships may form a PACE district that allows a property owner to use the property tax mechanism to finance energy improvements. The property owner voluntarily takes on a Special Assessment, which it pays off over as long as 20 years, as part of its property tax bill.
Since the PACE loan is a special assessment obligation, it is senior to any mortgage – and hence very secure for a lender. Because of this, if the property owner has a preexisting mortgage, he or she must get the mortgage bank’s consent to the PACE financing. Also, up to 100 percent of the project’s cost can be covered under a PACE special assessment. And the PACE special assessment “runs with the land” – the owner can sell the property and the new owner simply picks up the payments (and energy savings), just as it picks up the obligation to pay property tax.