House panel approves innovative energy program

The House Energy and Utilities Policy Committee on Wednesday voted to introduce a bill that would allow local governments to finance individual renewable-energy, conservation and wind-resistance projects at homes and businesses.

Committee Republicans and Democrats alike praised the idea of the proposed “Property Assessed Clean Energy” program (PACE). Under the program, local governments can finance programs that allow property owners to borrow money and then repay as part of a non-ad valorem assessment on their property tax bills.

The program would be self-supporting and would not cost anything for taxpayers who do not participate, said Mayor Paul Vrooman of Cutler Bay, which supports the PACE concept.

The bill could go before the committee for a vote at its next meeting scheduled meeting on March 25.

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