Commercial properties to possibly get help through county PACE program

·3 min read
Grayson County commissioners Tuesday approved a Property Assessed Clean Energy program in the county and picked a company to administer the program in the county.
Grayson County commissioners Tuesday approved a Property Assessed Clean Energy program in the county and picked a company to administer the program in the county.

A Property Assessed Clean Energy program will be allowed longer term loans on the refurbishment of older commercial properties throughout the county. A contract with Texas PACE Authority to administer the Grayson County PACE program was approved by the Grayson County commissioners Tuesday.

The program will not cost the county a lot of money to administer, and there is not expected to be liability to the county.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said each individual city in the county could set up its own PACE program but some of them are so small that it would be a burden on staff. By the county handling it, cities can all have access to the program under a larger umbrella.

What the program does is allow a lender to attach as security for their loan the value of the commercial property itself rather than just the improvements being sought. For instance if someone wants replace an air conditioning or heating system, instead of just being able to attach that machinery which may devalue over time, the lender gets to attach the loan to that dollar amount of the actual value of the real property. That, Magers explained, allows lenders to feel more secure about making longer loans for these types of upgrades to older buildings which makes such upgrades more affordable to those trying to rehab older buildings.

Janet Gott
Janet Gott

While both Sherman and Denison mayors spoke in favor of the plan on Tuesday with Denison Mayor Janet Gott saying, "It is just one more tool on our belt," to get older buildings back in working order and on the tax rolls, not everyone on the commissioners court was impressed with the idea of the county leading the way.

Commissioner Phyllis James, Precinct 3, did not think the county should take on the program for the cities.

"From where I sit each and every day, here's what I hear a lot of and probably a lot of you do too is 'less government, less government, less government, get out of my private business' that is what I hear all of the time," James continued saying this is just another layer of the county getting into people's business.

"I think that this far reaching for Grayson County to step off into this with a 501c3. I mean we need to stay out of private business. ... This is a brand new thing. This is not Grayson County's business, we don't do this. We don't do this."

2019 file photo of Phyllis James, commissioner Precinct 3
2019 file photo of Phyllis James, commissioner Precinct 3

She compared the loans to someone extending a car note from three months to ten years knowing that the car might not hold its value for that entire ten years.

"This is why our country is in the debt it is in today because we just don't pay off our bills. .... If you want to buy the Denison Hotel and you want to red do it, have the investors, have the funding ... don't rely on your government to help you out. We need to pull our boot straps up people and we need to take America back."

Magers said having the county implement the program cuts red tape for the smaller cities and gives them a chance to take part in the program's benefit of getting older buildings back on the tax roll.

It was moved to pass the resolution to create the Grayson County PACE program and it passed with commissioners Jeff Whitmire and Bart Lawrence supporting it and James voting against it.

Grayson County Commissioner David Whitlock was not at the meeting on Tuesday and did not vote.

The vote broke the same way when Magers moved that the county enter into a management contract with Texas PACE Authority, a 501c3 program, to administer the Grayson County PACE program.

Jerrie Whiteley is the Criminal Justice Editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at JWhiteley@HeraldDemocrat.com.

This article originally appeared on Herald Democrat: Commercial properties to possibly get help through county PACE program

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