NORTHFIELD – The village may join the Akron-Summit County Energy Special Improvement District, and if it does, commercial, industrial and institutional properties would be eligible to take advantage of an energy efficiency revolving loan fund.
Chris Burnham, president of the Development Finance Authority (DFA) of Summit County, and Jason Dodson of the Roetzel & Andress law firm outlined the financing program at Village Council’s Jan. 11 meeting.
According to Burnham, the revolving loan fund is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program managed by the DFA.
Before a community can seek financing, it must create or be part of an Energy Special Improvement District, or ESID. And the Development Finance Authority – in collaboration with Summit County – is the administrator of the Akron-Summit County ESID, which has about 21 member communities.
Property owners in ESID communities can voluntarily assess property to pay for the cost of energy efficiency improvements. The mechanism levies a semiannual special assessment tax against a property, thus not creating debt for the end user.
Loan terms can be up to 20 years, with fixed interest rates competitive with market rates. Eligible properties include commercial, industrial, office, senior living, hospitality and multifamily housing with a loan amount of between $250,000 and $1 million.
Burnham explained for a community such as Northfield Village to join the ESID, it must first initiate a small energy efficiency improvement project through the DFA. The project would benefit the village and be worth a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Once the community becomes an ESID member, property owners can apply for a loan for projects such as replacing or improving lighting, roofs, windows, HVAC or electrical systems, resulting in reduced energy consumption and cost.
The DFA’s website says as its president, Burnham has guided numerous development and redevelopment projects in Greater Akron and Northeast Ohio.
During Burnham’s tenure, the DFA has issued more than $1.5 billion in economic development bonds and leveraged more than $1.7 billion in investment to support community and economic development activity in the region.
In 2011, DFA created the Development Fund of the Western Reserve to be eligible for New Market Tax Credits, and has since allocated more than $110 million federal tax credits, plus $21 million Ohio tax credits.
The authority has financed 145 projects in 17 Ohio counties, enabling the DFA and DFWR to directly or indirectly be associated with the retention and creation of 32,981 jobs, including thousands of construction jobs.
Mayor Jennifer Domzalski said a local business owner approached her about whether financing aid such as the revolving loan fund is available in the village, and that has led to her seeking more information about the program.
“We will talk about this and decide whether we want to pursue membership in the ESID,” she said.
The mayor was authorized to renew an agreement with the Summit County Legal Defenders office to represent indigent people charged with violations of the village’s criminal code in 2023. The village will pay $170 per case.
Council enacted a new section of the administrative code establishing a charge for dishonored checks/payments. A $25 fee will be levied for each check/payment made to the village that is dishonored or returned because of insufficient funds or other reasons.
Alan Hipps was elected president of council for 2023 and also as its representative to the planning commission, a post he has held for the last few years.
A representative of the Historical Society of Olde Northfield appealed to council for an annual contribution to support the society’s operations. Domzalski said she has proposed that a line item for that purpose be included in this year’s budget.
Domzalski reported the village has received a $1,500 Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council grant for this year, applications for the veterans’ banner program are due March 31 and Sgt. Brian Zambach soon will retire from the police department.
Police Chief John Zolgus announced he will retire in the next couple of months after 29 years with the department, and Village Engineer Daniel Collins said bids will be opened Feb. 23 for the fire station expansion project.
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