Town Council approves energy efficiency by-law

Town Council approves energy efficiency by-law

Pincher Creek residents who wanted to make their properties more environmentally friendly but didn’t have financing options now have an opportunity to go a little greener in 2023.

Town Council successfully improved its Clean Energy Improvement Program on 22 August, which sets out the rules for residents to register with CEIP to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties.

Administered by Alberta Municipalities, CEIP allows municipalities to finance projects through banks or other institutions such as the Confederation of Canadian Municipalities.

The program provides contractors to complete the upgrades and lays out the framework for residents to pay back the cost of the project through smaller installments applied to their property taxes. Possible projects include solar installations, indoor and outdoor lighting controls, water heating and building envelope improvements.

Because the loan is tied to the property and not the owner, payments would continue even if the original owner sold the property.

Bylaw 1634-22 sets forth the rules for projects to qualify under the program.

Residents must be current on their property tax payments for up to five years before applying for the CEIP and must never have had a property in collections. Owners who purchased their property within the last five years may be subject to an additional financial review, such as submitting a tax verification record from a property previously owned in another municipality.

The town reserves the right to refuse applications for properties where the amount of the mortgage exceeds the assessed property value. CEIP applicants must be current with their mortgage payments.

An individual property owner can be approved for a maximum of three CEIP project agreements. A property owner can only submit one CEIP application per year. Projects must be permanent and must improve energy efficiency or the use of renewable energy on the property; they must also cost more than $3,000.

Because the total maximum amount available for CEIP loans is $300,000 for residential projects and $500,000 for commercial, the cost of a proposed residential project must be under $50,000, with commercial projects less than $500,000.

The interest rate will be set for the amount the property owner will borrow at the time of signing the agreement and will not exceed 10 percent. The maximum term of the loans is 25 years.

If the owner wishes to pay off the loan earlier than the agreed term, the amount due will be calculated at the time of application, based on the remaining principal and interest and the financing terms.

The town has the ability to raise property taxes where the owner fails to pay the agreed CEIP installment.

The town’s administration expects the program to be open for applications sometime next year.

Sean Oliver, Reporter on Local Journalism Initiative, Shootin’ the Breeze

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