Vail Valley Voices: 1A passed. Now what?
Vail, CO, Colorado
A few weeks ago voters approved Referendum 1A, the Energy Smart Loan Program. This gives Eagle County the ability to offer homeowners low-interest loans for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. The homeowner makes loan payments as part of his or her property tax bills, over 15 or 20 years. This is a voluntary program and only affects property owners who choose to participate.
Now that the initiative passed, what happens next? We’ve been receiving calls that go something like this, “Hey I’m going to put in solar panels next week and want to know when you can come by and write my solar guy a check.” Unfortunately, just because the measure passed does not mean the county has an instant pile of cash available to distribute. No bonds will be sold until the county commissioners are satisfied the program makes good financial sense and the public has participated in establishing criteria for the Energy Smart loans.
County staff members are working with representatives from the Governor’s Energy Office and representatives from Pitkin and Gunnison counties, where similar measures passed. The office will hire a program administrator to help the three counties work together to create and administer the loan program.
We are currently refining loan qualifications, underwriting criteria and financing options, including exploring state and federal funding sources that do not require the county to issue bonds. These important details will all be determined over the next months.
If you are planning to participate in the Energy Smart program and make that improvement to your home, we hope funds will be available by summer 2010. We will update all interested on program developments and educational events planned for early next year.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Thank you again to all who voted in this election. We understand and hear the concerns of those who voted against the initiative and can assure you that this process will be fully transparent and will only impact those choosing to participate in the program. We encourage you to participate in the upcoming educational events to determine what improvements to your home might have the best payback, and also look at financing options so that you can decide for yourself what may make the most sense for you.
We also encourage you to consider private financing for green improvements. In Boulder County, roughly 30 percent of projects initially enrolled in the program ultimately took advantage of other financing options to move forward.
Please visit the Eagle County Web site at http://www.eaglecounty.us for more information or call Yuri Kostick at 328-8731 or Adam Palmer at 328-8734 for more information.