Energy district plan moves forward in Pitkin County |

Energy district plan moves forward in Pitkin County

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado – Pitkin County commissioners expressed their intention Wednesday to give final approval next week to a November ballot measure proposing funding for what’s being called an Energy Smart Local Improvement District.

The matter will be before commissioners on Tuesday – their final chance to approve ballot language that will ask voters to authorize funding for the special district. It will set up a loan fund that allows property owners to borrow money for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.

Eagle County is considering to putting such a fund on its November ballot.

The district will be able to issue up to $7 million worth of bonds – up from $5 million that was initially discussed – at an interest rate not to exceed 9 percent. Commissioners agreed to up the bond limit in anticipation of public interest in the program.

Though the county issues the bonds, the debt is not general county debt – the repayment obligation is attached to individual properties as owners voluntarily opt into the district.

Property owners can choose to borrow funds that will be repaid over time through annual property tax payments. The general idea is that the savings resulting from the energy upgrades will offset the added debt on the tax bill. If a property changes hands, the debt remains with the property.

The city of Aspen and towns of Basalt and Snowmass Village, all located within the county, have expressed interest in adopting ordinances that will allow their residents to take part in the program, as well, said Dylan Hoffman, the county’s energy program manager.

Eagle and Gunnison counties are also pursuing ballot questions to set up energy districts.

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