Blog Post: Pinellas County Commissioner Vocalizes Her Support for PACE
November 13, 2018
By Ben Taube, Ygrene Managing Director for National Policy and Legislative Affairs
In a special column to the Tampa Bay Times, entitled “Finding ways for homeowners to afford hurricane upgrades” Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard expressed her ardent support for approving Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to provide homeowners in Pinellas County, Florida with affordable options to make hurricane and storm preparedness upgrades to their properties. PACE financing has seen widespread growth across Florida since 2013. In fact, more than 50% of all homeowners in the state now have access to PACE financing. Unfortunately, homeowners in Pinellas County are among the millions of Floridians that still do not.
On November 20, the Pinellas County Commission will introduce an ordinance for consideration to allow homeowners to have access to PACE. The process will continue into December at the Commission’s final meeting. As Commissioner Gerard tells the readers of Tampa Bay Times,the time is now to move forward with residential PACE, helping to build a more sustainable, resilient future for Pinellas County.
According to Commissioner Gerard, mitigating Pinellas County’s exposure to severe storms and rising sea levels at an affordable cost to homeowners is an issue of growing concern among her constituents. Pinellas County currently allows commercial property owners to utilize PACE financing for storm resiliency and energy efficiency upgrades, but it has not yet approved PACE for use by homeowners. Gerard says she’s in favor of her commission expanding PACE access to homeowners, proclaiming, “the benefits are numerous.”
“When a homeowner decides that PACE financing is right for them, a private PACE financing provider covers the total upfront costs of upgrades like new impact-resistant windows, or other approved measures related to wind mitigation, energy efficiency or renewable energy,” Gerard explains. “The homeowner then pays for the improvements over time on their property tax bill. PACE interest rates are fixed, and repayment periods can be as long as 25 years, making PACE an attractive and affordable option for many homeowners.”
As Commissioner Gerard puts it simply, “PACE has been, and will continue to be, a success for homeowners and communities in our state.” Gerard’s position on PACE is one that’s supported by thousands across the state – elected officials, property owners, realtor associations, and industry executives alike continue to take notice of the invaluable way that PACE financing is helping improve resiliency and energy solutions in Florida’s residential housing sector.
As one of the leading PACE providers in Florida, Ygrene shares Commissioner Gerard’s commitment to improving the resiliency of Florida’s communities for years to come, and we applaud her for acknowledging PACE as a valuable tool for achieving this goal. The ongoing support of Commissioner Gerard and others will continue to propel the PACE industry forward.