Renovation

A photo from 2015 of energy renovations being made to the North Branch Library in Denton.

Denton County officials have entered into an agreement with a private company to provide business owners and multi-family households with financial tools to make energy improvements to their aging properties.

Conceived by the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, the program is aimed at property owners in Denton County who have avoided making energy improvements because of the high out-of-pocket costs associated with renovations. The private company, Lone Star PACE, was approved by county commissioners to facilitate the program.

Lee McCormick, the president of the company, said the program will connect property owners with lenders who will finance the property improvements that later will reduce the amount of money the owners pay on their utility bills. Those savings will go toward paying back the loan, he said.

The projects eligible for the program, McCormick said, includes “anything that basically saves electricity or saves water.”

Denton County commissioners unanimously approved the two-year, revolving partnership Tuesday in open court. As part of the resolution, the private company will handle all of the administrative tasks that come with assessing the loan once it has been granted.

Michelle French, the Denton County tax assessor, said the county tax office will be involved only if a borrower’s payments become delinquent. At that point, French said, the tax office will forward the claim to its delinquent tax attorney. Other than that, the county is not involved in the process, she said.

“There is no county financial obligation in any shape or form,” said Kathryn Lynass, Denton County Judge Mary Horn’s director of administration.

Denton is the second county in Texas that has gone into business with Lone Star PACE. McCormick said Hays County also has linked up with his company. About 17 other counties have entered into partnerships with a Lone Star PACE’s competitor company. The effort to install the program in Denton County was led by the office of Commissioner Andy Eads, Lynass said.

DALTON LAFERNEY can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @dalton laferney.

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