Pinellas is considering a clean loan program to attract affordable housing

In a bid to attract developers for affordable housing, Pinellas County could expand a program that encourages builders to invest in energy-saving features or features that improve resilience to climate change. the price

The commissioners of the District on Thursday instructed the staff to bring back more information about the changes that may be made to the Property Assessed Clean Energy program. Companies are now allowed to finance improvements such as air quality and solar energy through an assessment on annual property tax bills instead of a loan. common.

The residency program, in Florida and elsewhere in the country, is renowned for Unexpected homeowners saddled with insurmountable property tax billsas a 2020 Tampa Bay Times study documented.

Pinellas, concerned about the implications for homeowners, declined to introduce a residential program when an ordinance was enacted in 2017. But There has been a commercial campaign since then – very quietly, in five years, no one has used it, said Assistant District Manager Kevin Knutson in a job at the last week.

Knutson and county commissioners said they’ve heard from developers that expanding the program could be a boon for affordable housing because the funding would allow contractors to pay more quickly for potential installation projects. saving money in the long run. Affordable housing developers cannot afford these property evaluation loans under the current provincial laws, which consider even large, multi-family houses as residential buildings.

The Commissioners were impressed but said they had to make sure there were no incidents, because of the resident’s reputation.

“I really want the staff to do their homework and do a proper investigation, because I know bad things happened in the houses,” said Commissioner Kathleen Peters. in an interview. “I think we need to look closely at the options we have to help make sure people can live here.”

Property Analysis Pure Energy is a state program, but can be used in districts that are authorized by ordinance. The district plays a role in the collection process, since the loans are paid with property tax bills. Apart from that, the district only publishes a report for all loans under the program.

The money comes from a borrower, two of whom have been approved for the program in Pinellas, Knutson said. While payment is ultimately up to the property owner, the expansion of the program will benefit contractors and subcontractors, said Steve Cona III, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida. Gulf Coast chapter. Funding means that they will be paid immediately for the features they install, rather than waiting until the project is finished, which will make them more powerful. able to perform those tasks.

“Typically, contractors help with most of the construction, because they have to pay for things in advance,” he said. The example of the loan is “to lighten their burden.”

Read inspirational stories about everyday life

Subscribe to our free How They Lived newsletter

You’ll find a tribute to Tampa Bay’s lost people, including heartwarming and entertaining stories about their lives, every Tuesday.

You are already registered!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s begin.

Explore all your options

The district must carefully draw a line, said Commissioner René Flowers, so the program cannot be found in one family with a garage, for example. According to District Attorney Jewel White, the district should find out if the loans, considered under the property, can be a burden to the low-cost renters rather than the owners of the property.

And the workers still have to think about how the business programs work in other places, if they all worked, said Knutson in an interview. While other Florida counties have commercial programs, he hasn’t found any examples of them being used. for apartments. This may be because entrepreneurs have access to other sources of capital.

But the developers’ specialized legal and financial resources will reduce the problem with the type of consumer loans that wiped out Pinellas in 2017 and led Hillsborough County to eliminate its loan program in 2020.

“Let’s protect people who don’t have resources and may take advantage, but allow the program to move forward with people who have those resources,” he said.

Leave a Comment