The Payne County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution at Monday’s meeting approving the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.
The program allows the owner of commercial property to voluntarily enter the program to qualify for financing from private capital providers. The owner will have special property assessments placed on the property to repay the debt.
Local attorney and developer Cory Williams was present at the meeting to encourage passage of the resolution. Williams said that Payne County will be the seventh county to approve the program since county sponsored C-PACE programs were authorized to be created by a resolution in 2020.
The resolution selected the Indian Nations Council of Governments to serve as the program administrator for the program at no cost to the county. Nancy Graham with INCOG and Williams appeared last week before the commissioners to request approval of the C-PACE program.
The program is designed to allow an owner to make property improvements related to energy efficiency, energy sources, water conservation, and building resiliency projects such as storm shelters. The improvements must be permanently affixed to the property.
Williams said that lenders prefer the project because the energy efficiencies help pay for the cost of the loan. He said the program allows the owner to access an interest rate around 5% when other lending options would have an interest rate of between 10% to 15%.
Williams owns two properties that he is considering placing in the program. INCOG will charge the property owner an administrative fee to cover the cost of administering the program. The owner, lender, and county commissioners will all sign a contract allowing the property to be specially assessed for a long term of 20 to 30 years.
If the owner transfers the property or if the lender forecloses on the loan, the assessment follows the property and cannot be discharged before payment. If the county were to sell the property for delinquent taxes, the assessment will not be discharged and remains a lien against the property.