Miamidade Green Tax Optin Plan Gets Energy
Written by Risa Polansky on January 28, 2010
By Risa Polansky
New opt-in taxing districts could pop up in Miami-Dade to help "green" the county, a trend that’s taken off in California.
Under proposed alternative-financing schemes, local governments would lend volunteer property owners money to finance costly energy-efficient improvements like solar panels. Borrowers would pay down the debt over time through a special assessment on their property tax bill.
Governments would probably issue bonds to make the loans, securing them with the new tax revenue.
The idea is to green Miami-Dade by making it easier to enhance energy efficiency in homes and businesses.
County Commissioner Katy Sorenson is exploring a voluntary "Energy Finance District."
Down south, Cutler Bay Mayor Paul Vrooman is shopping to area municipalities a "green corridor" program that would allow governments to team up to offer residents financing for major energy projects.
The Sorenson proposal, which commissioners OK’d at a committee meeting this month, directs the county administration to prepare legislation "regarding the establishment of a voluntary Energy Finance District" and to outline an "Energy Savings Program" that would lay out details and logistics.
Mr. Vrooman already has pitched his idea to Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest and South Miami.
Now, Florida has no specific legislation allowing for such voluntary taxing districts.
But since 2008, 16 states have passed "property assessed clean energy" legislation allowing local governments to make loans to property owners to finance energy-efficiency improvements, according to firm Public Financial Management, which has developed such programs in other states.