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C-PACE is What? By Kristie Melendez

April 4, 2020

My frustration today is only climbing, as it is apparent from Commissioner Freeman’s statement printed below, that he simply doesn’t understand C-PACE financing nor the magnitude of this project and the problem the recent BOCC decision to terminate the program has caused – potentially killing 1,500 jobs, eliminating gross revenues in excess of $50,000,000, tax revenues in excess of seven-digit numbers, and 600,000+ annual visitors to the area.

First here is what C-PACE really is – not in my words, but how the state defines the program on their website. C-PACE enables business owners to finance up to 100% of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation eligible improvements. Financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive Kristie Melendezrates with repayment terms up to 25 years.C-PACE financing repayment is facilitated through a County property tax assessment process. A voluntary assessment (similar to other district assessments- Weld County already does this for dozens of schools, the library and metro districts) placed on the building owner’s property tax bill. The assessment is repaid over the financing term (up to 25 years) and the annual energy cost savings will, in most cases, exceed the annual assessment payment. Simply put, this is a program that makes it easier for local businesses to reduce their energy consumption while allowing them to borrow money for energy efficiency/renewable energy projects and repay the loan via an assessment on their property tax bills. The loan remains with the property even if it is sold, facilitating long-term investments in building performance. C-PACE loans are more attractive than traditional bank loans because no down payment is required and these loans are typically repaid over a longer time period, which results in lower monthly payments.

2,000 successful C-PACE programs have completed to date in the US with 63 of those being in Colorado. If C-PACE was such bad policy, then why was it passed unanimously in 2017, sat on the county and state books for almost three years and only terminated after the application from a Windsor development was submitted? If the County was contemplating this termination since January, then why didn’t the Town of Windsor get a courtesy call to hear the concerns and have an opportunity to address them? Funny that they didn’t involve us in conversation, but then have the audacity to point out in the letter below their disappointment in Windsor because they were not brought into discussions that involved the project. A project, by the way, that has lots of evolving and highly confidential and sensitive players engaged who have NDA’s attached to them.  Their statement about no formal presentation is not for lack of trying as Windsor and the developer were prepared to provide a presentation as recently as March 25, but Commissioners stated they did not want to see it at this time. There have been and still stands this opportunity if they would oblige.

I find it funny that Freeman states here as a conservative he stands against this economic development tool (a privately funded tool by the way) and instead in the letter below endorses a URA which now would require and involve public funding for this project.  Does that make any sense to go from a 100% privately funded project to one that seeks public funding? With C-PACE no public funds are required for the program and no county liabilities are created.

By the way, the developer did offer to have a third party step in to take the place of the County, which is allowed, and would completely remove Weld County out of this process except for them granting this authority to the third party and agree the project was submitted before the program was terminated.

“Freeman insinuates I used town resources for our press release. You bet I did, and I was backed by my town board, the town economic development office, and town management to do so. I’m a fighter and intimidation and threats don’t work with me.  I’m fighting for this project for my community and for all in Northern Colorado. When you have a player at this time, under these conditions, still willing to move forward, you better count yourself very fortunate and do everything it takes to make sure that the project comes to fruition. I’m fighting for jobs and a chance at economic recovery right now.”

The lack of Freeman’s support and understanding of the C-PACE program puts this project at a high risk of terminating and becoming a dead dream. It’s a job killer and an economy crusher that once gone, we will never get back nor do we have anything of its kind to replace it with.

This is short-sightedness and bad policy. Policies made like this, without notice to appropriate parties is not transparent, efficient or effective governance. This move complicates and burdens the process, which by the way in the Weld County charter preamble, states it will not do any of these things.

I believe that the people of Weld County deserve a sincere, transparent, effective government that is responsive and not reactive to their people. Decisions should be made by collecting data and facts and collaborating and having a conversation with those it will affect. Hopefully, this change is coming and coming soon, as today more than ever before we all need to work together not against each other!

-Kristie Melendez 

Candidate for Weld County Commissioner District 1


 

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