Showing posts with label PACE program. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PACE program. Show all posts

Monday, August 3, 2020

FM #320 Town Council - PACE Program - 7/29/20 (audio)

FM #320 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 320 in the series.

This session shares a key segment of the Franklin, MA Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The meeting was conducted via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Chair Tom Mercer opened the meeting on schedule. The agenda eventually gets to the second item for presentation, the PACE Program. Wendy Lee O’Malley, Vice-President of MassDevelopment provides the overview of this newly released program. This is an opportunity for business and nonprofit property owners to get advantageous financing for energy improvements.

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to the individual documents referenced.

This meeting segment runs just about 21 minutes, so let’s listen to the presentation and discussion on the PACE Program.

Audio file:


Town Council agenda

PACE Program doc and presentation

My notes from the meeting

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FM #320 Town Council - PACE Program - 7/29/20 (audio)
FM #320 Town Council - PACE Program - 7/29/20 (audio)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Town Council Recap: reluctantly approves water rate increase

  • The Town Council heard a presentation on the Market Study performed by MAPC. Details of the study will be picked up for action by the Economic Development Subcommittee (beginning July 30 6:00 PM).
  • The Town Council heard a presentation on the PACE Program and voted to enroll in it so businesses (for profit or non-profit) can take advantage of this opportunity.
  • The Town Council 'reluctantly' voted for the final time to approve the water rate increase which has been planned for years and most recently (March 2020) was also cause of much discussion around the 'poor timing.' Poor timing because we are in the middle of a pandemic, folks are economically stressed or hurting, and we are also in the middle of construction to fix the water treatment for wells 3 & 6 which if we didn't would result in a default on contracts and likely larger legal fees that the water rate increase will raise. Oh, and by fixing the wells we get access to over 700,000 gallons of water which we need.
  • The meeting was the first conducted with Zoom installed in the Council Chambers for the Council to be physically together in person. The meeting technically was a success broadcast via Zoom, the cable channels, and live streamed via Franklin TV.

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online #tc0729

The full agenda doc (162 pages) can be found here

This was shared from the Town of Franklin page

  • Real time reporting underway for #tc0729 meeting
  • Motion for approval mins may 6 meeting passed with 1 abstain; motion for may 20 passed, Jun 3 passed, June 17 passed #tc0729
  • Appt for Ag comm, motion made, passed ; conservation comm, motion made, passed cultural council 2 individuals, motion made separately for each, both passed #tc0729
Market Study
  • Next up MAPC market analysis #tc0729 good starting point to help recover from whatever is needed post COVID. EDC will pick up the details to be worked going forward.
  • Data gathering all done before COVID-19, some things may change but the info should be good. Slides to be posted later #tc0729
  • Full market analysis doc is posted to ToF page good reading / study material #tc0729
  • BTW this meeting is hosted on Zoom in the Council chambers, live streamed via Franklin TV (via Town of franklin page) as well as broadcast to the two cable channels. A first !!! #tc0729 currently about 18 via Zoom but that includes the council etc in Chambers
  • Chandler comment/question on how to get workers to turn right into town rather than taking the left from the industrial parks and head home #tc0729 Kelly, affordability of Franklin is an issue, commuter housing is needed
  • #tc0729 Jones, thanks for the work putting the report together, push to EDC for further review (it is scheduled to do so) Hamblen, looking to complete streets and extend the rail trail downtown, how to recruit minority businesses to here?
  • Bissanti, thanks, read just about all of it, not all doom and gloom on housing, need to explore the banking avenues, it is a great investment for a home owner #tc0729 Dellorco, thanks, what scares me is the COVID issue. No one wants to ride mass transit today
  • Mercer, COVID has changed what the future will look like. Is there any funding to relook at the study for a COVID recap? #tc0729 Raul will look to see if there are any options
  • Will go to the EDC for further action, next meeting 7/30 6 PM agenda and virtual link posted
PACE Program
  • Next up PACE program up for discussion and vote later. Council does need to approve of the community entry to this program. #tc0729
  • An important economic development tool to reduce energy costs
  • Property Assess Clean Energy (PACE) finance for energy improvement. #tc0729 betterment assessment aligned with the property, 22 states offer this program. Wendy is the program director
  • Municipal opt in a one time requirement, hence the vote by TC tonight #tc0729 energy cost savings must be cost positive, 3rd party capital provider. Property placed on a lien if approved.
  • #tc0729 Hamblen, is there a downside? Financing facilitated between parties, should work out.
  • Pellegri, no fee to participate in program. Because of payment via betterment assessment need the municipal approval, just launched this week
  • #tc0729 Bissanti, property owner gets energy audit or Mass development? Property owner does and then comes to us to help facilitate the financing agreement. Advantage is long term, 20 years. Assessment secured by a lien
Subcommittee reports
  • Next up subcommittee reports: capital no meeting, EDC Thursday as noted, budget, nothing from the state yet. #tc0729
Legislation for Action Water Rate
  • #tc0729 water rate increase up for second approval, already heard once, required to fund the water treatment plant under construction, not seeking sewer rate increase this or next year.
  • #tc0729 question on water ban, would like to lift but given the weather is a consideration each week; Beaver St interceptor up for presentation Sep/Oct, difference between ban and conservation measures, wells regulations by State, Kelly concerned about the timing of this.
  • #tc0729 drought condition a cause of ban, wells 3 & 6 need to be fixed to give us more water and water quality, hence the rate now is needed, 726000 gallons of capacity for water and fire safety, about half built, if we can't pay it with this increase how?
  • #tc0729 is there any place we could take for this? $500,000 a year. About 40/unit. Water conservation is the annual useage with limit of once per week allowance; the water ban eliminates the once a week allowance due to drought this year and in 2016? And last year's fire
  • #tc0729 it is a utility and a use, this fixes and pays for our infrastructure. Yes it is an expense. Gallon costs less than a tenth of a cent from Franklin (not the Poland spring rate) where would we find a half million to finish the projects, if we don't find it, we default
  • #tc0729 people can regulate the water being used to a sense, if we don't approve we're in trouble. We're pigeon holed, for funding this. What have we done with the usage year over year, how much is there a change? What about the dual water meter option? Bring someone in
  • #tc0729 Kelly, I guess I need to be a yes as our lawsuit will cost us more. Jones, a lot of families will struggle with this, this is painful. It is a far greater cost if we don't. Where can we roll back some rates down the line? Bissanti, This all came out in March
  • #tc0729 we have to think of the greater good for Franklin. Chandler, this is the hardest thing we need to do. Vote on the motion (finally) 9-0 reluctantly by a few!
Town Administrator's report through to closing
  • #tc0729 3 active cases of Covid in Community currently, editorial slightly, phase 3, this Community has done very well, the rest of the country is scary. Keep it up.
  • Re-opening, inspections resuming! Assessor inspections resumed, recreation bball started one of few
  • #tc0729 concerts on the common started last week, good to see, check the schedule, food trucks coming, do the right thing, we can continue to expand, coordination with Farmers market; about $100k through a grant process for businesses locally details coming by end of month
  • #tc0729 FY 2020 revenue came in at 102% so we did cover all our bills. Thanks to fire dept for the pinning date; thanks for Pete and Franklin TV to be back here in Chambers, feels good to be here
  • #tc0729 question on accept of private roads; people are happy with the nets at the high school; thanks to Franklin TV; thanks to chief McLaughlin for the ceremony last week, hybrid meeting tonight, almost normal; first class event last week, made a good decision last year
  • #tc0729 masks are important, we can't fall back per Pellegri, just wear it, trying to help you. Etc. etc. Thanks to the SchComm and department for handling things in this trying time. Apologies to the town for last week's non-meeting, was a technical challenge and we did it now
  • #tc0729 thanks to Pete and his crew for their work to bring this to fruition, we should be able to continue this, allows citizens to speak from their homes via the Zoom call. Being under 10 is great, thanks to the community for masks, social distance, etc
  • motion to adjourn, catch you next time folks #tc0729
Chair Tom Mercer opens meeting
Chair Tom Mercer opens meeting

Raul (on left) Bryan (on right) on the Market Study
Raul (on left) Bryan (on right) on the Market Study

Wendy leads the PACE Program
Wendy leads the PACE Program

summary work flow of PACE Program
summary work flow of PACE Program

Town Administrator Jamie Hellen caution the Council on default of contract if water rate isn't passed
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen cautions the Council on default of contract if water rate isn't passed

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Proposal on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts for Franklin

TO:                Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator
FROM:         Bryan W. Taberner, AICP, Director
RE:               Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts
CC:               Mark G. Cerel, Town Attorney; Christopher Sandini, Finance Director; Kerri Bertone, Collector/Treasurer; Kevin W. Doyle, Director Of Assessing; Amy Love, Town Planner; Chrissy Whelton, Assistant To The Town Administrator
DATE:           JULY 14, 2020

As you know on April 10, 2020 representatives from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment) met with Town of Franklin staff to introduce the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts program, and discuss potential benefits to property owners, and requirements of the Town.

PACE is a tax based financing mechanism that enables low-cost, long-term funding for energy improvements, such as energy-efficiency projects and renewable systems, on existing Commercial and Industrial properties in Massachusetts. To finance the improvements, a property owner agrees to a betterment assessment on their property, enabling property owners to undertake more comprehensive energy upgrades with longer payback periods (up to 20 years). At property sale the lien stays with the property and is transferred to subsequent property owners.

MassDevelopment’s PACE Program Manager Wendy Lee O’Malley will be attending the July 22nd Town Council Meeting remotely to outline the PACE program and its benefits, and answer questions. MassDevelopment acts as the Lead Program Administrator for PACE Massachusetts. In order for the community to participate in PACE Massachusetts it must opt-in through passage of a Town Council Resolution.

Attached for review and consideration is Resolution 20-42, a two page PACE Massachusetts flyer, a short presentation, and a couple examples of PACE projects in other communities.

PACE is an economic development tool for Massachusetts communities that help to create a more competitive environment for attracting and retaining businesses through lower energy costs. DPCD highly recommends the Town participate in this new economic development incentive program. I look forward to discussing PACE at the July 22nd Town Council meeting.

The memo and associated documents can be found at the Town of Franklin page

The full agenda and documents released for the Town Council meeting July 22, 2020

Proposal on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts for Franklin
Proposal on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts for Franklin