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Arkansas: The City of North Little Rock became the state’s second energy improvement district

North Little Rock Becomes 2nd Arkansas City with a PACE District

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – The City of North Little Rock became the state’s second energy improvement district under provisions of the State Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act after the city council unanimously approved a proposed ordinance during its regular meeting Monday night.

Mayor Joe Smith announced the ordinance approval after a brief discussion and unanimous vote by the council and several supportive comments from business and industry representatives, mostly members of AAEA.

In his comments to the council, NLR City Attorney Jason Carter called the PACE ordinance an “economic development opportunity” for the city and explained that without the Council’s action, “there will be no energy improvement district in North Little Rock.”

A similar PACE ordinance was adopted by the City of Fayetteville last October and a newly-appointed Board of Directors is working this year toward an official launch of the program by summer.

The PACE Act was a major policy priority for AAEA during last year’s Arkansas General Assembly.  It enables local communities to create energy improvement districts to allow private financing of energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy projects and water conservation improvements.  Property owners may qualify for 100%, low-interest loans that are secured by real property assessments.  PACE is strictly voluntary and in communities that adopt PACE, assessments are only paid by participating property owners and only for their respective projects.

The NLR City Council heard supportive comments from Heather Nelson, President and COO of SEAL Energy Solutions; Ron McCarty with Powers of Arkansas; Lisa Meyer, Manager of McCain Mall; and Steve Patterson, Executive Director, AAEA.

Meyer indicated that McCain Mall owner Simon Properties is prepared to utilize PACE financing to implement various energy savings improvements at the facility.   Both Nelson and McCarty agreed that by enabling low-cost, private financing for property owners to pay for energy improvements, the City Council will help create jobs.  They said commercial property owners can be more competitive by reducing energy costs.

“We congratulate the property owners of North Little Rock who, thanks to their City Council, will soon have access to this modern and innovative energy improvement financing mechanism to improve their properties,” Patterson said.  “PACE is a job creator.  There is a very good reason it is rapidly expanding across the country as a practical way for property owners to save energy costs and improve cash flow.”

The proposed ordinance would establish the “North Little Rock Energy Improvement District” under terms of the state’s new Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act.   The City of Fayetteville became the first Arkansas city to create a district last October. Read more.

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