Fiscal Court splits 3-2 to allow special energy efficiency financing district

Nelson Fiscal Court

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 — Nelson Fiscal Court narrowly approved a measure that will allow sdevelopers of large construction projects to tap into additional funding to help improve the project’s energy efficiency.

The court approved by a 3-2 vote an ordinance that would allow special financing option for projects that utilize energy savings technology.

The ordinance creates a special tax district, though it would not levy taxes against any property owners automatically. Property owners who have a large building project would have to apply to Nelson Fiscal Court to be authorized to apply for special financing based on the ordinance guidelines. The money that is borrowed through the special financing would be repaid from the assessment on the property through the annual property tax bill.

The special district would allow Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, otherwise known as PACE. The magistrates discussed why they supported or opposed the measure prior to thed final vote. Judge Executive Dean Watts made it clear that he wanted the court’s vote either way at today’s meeting.

Magistrate Eric Shelburne was one of two “nay” votes on an ordinance that would allow builders in the county to apply for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing. The debt stays with the property when it is sold. An assessment on the annual property tax bill pays the loan off over a period of years.

Magistrates Keith Metcalfe and Eric Shelburne voted against the ordinance. Both had specific questions and concerns about the ordinance.

Shelburne pointed to objections raised by his financial advisors and concerns voiced by his constiuents over the creation of a new taxing district as some of reasons he couldn’t support the ordinance.

Metcalfe said he researched the PACE financing and found that not much was known about it locally.

Magistrate Jeff Lear said that after reviewing the ordinance he saw nothing in it that would affect county residents or the county’s finances. The measure allows the project builder to seek additional financing to fund energy savings technology.

Watts said the tax district would require the property owner to have a construction project that would qualify for special financing the district creates. No county tax dollars would be involved in the financing, Watts said.

Only properties who quality and receive PACE financing are assessed a higher tax rate, which generates funds to help pay off the PACE debt. If you aren’t a PACE participant, your tax rate and assessment remains the same.

ABOUT PACE. PACE financing isn’t secured by the developer’s credit, but is secured by the property itself. The improvements that are financed are repaid via the annual assessment that will appear on the property taxes on that specific property, and stay with the property once it is transferred or sold.

Only a handful of counties in Kentucky have approved ordinances to allow PACE financing to be an option. PACE is available in 35 states and is being developed in several others — including Kentucky.

In some states, residential property owners who wish to make improvements on the energy efficiency of their homes can make use of the PACE financing option. This can include additional insulation, installing solar panels, and other energy efficient or “green” technology.

One of the controversial aspects of the PACE tax districts is that on residential properties, the PACE lender has priority ahead of any other lienholder. As such, residential property with PACE loans do not qualify for FHA insured financing.

From left, Magistrates Eric Shelburne, Gary Coulter and Jeff Lear review documents prior to the start of Tuesday’s meeting of Nelson Fiscal Court.

WICKLAND. After some discussion, the court approved a contract for repair and painting of the window shutters on the front of Wickland.

The 20 shutters currently hang on the mansion’s 10 front windows. The shutters are in need of restoration and painting.

The bid by Tony Lanham Inc. came to $17,750 to remove, repair, paint and reinstall the shutters.

Magistrate Eric Shelburne thought the price was high, and questioned Watts if he had sought bids from other people who might have cost less.

Watts said it would be cheaper to replace the shutters with new units, but the goal is to repair the historic shutters rather than replace them. Though the county isn’t required to follow the guidelines of the city’s historic district, the county is required to have such work approved by the Kentucky Heritage Council. The council’s guidelines are the same as those that direct the city’s Historic Review Board.

Magistrates Bernard Ice and Gary Coulter discuss an issue prior to the start of Tuesday’s Nelson Fiscal Court meeting.

MATERIALS BIDS. The court approved a list of vendors for materials the county road department will need for the coming fiscal year beginning July 1, 2019.

The asphalt bid was awarded to Mago, the only bidder, with a bid of asphalt delivered and placed at $76 per ton.

Road salt was the only material that was cheaper this year, with Compass Minerals America’s bid of $88 per ton.

Other bids and their recipents included Cedar Creek Quarries for rock; D&R Oil Co. for motor fuel; Asphalt Materials of Elizabethtown for Road Oils; Contech Engineering Solutions for corrugated metal, and Hayes Pipe Supply of Louisville for plastic pipe.

In other business, the court:

  • Approved the appointment of Alex Kirsch to the Northeast Nelson Fire District Board.
  • approved the appointment of Terry Welshans to the Bardstown-Nelson County Air Board.


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