LOCAL IMPROVEMENT CHARGES

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1 LOCAL IMPROVEMENT CHARGES Sonja Persram, BSc., MBA, LEED AP Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc. Presentation for the Sustainable Housing Foundation June 26, 2014

2 Tatamagouche, NS Photo by Doug Kerr Local Improvement Charges Easy for municipalities to facilitate Delivered at no net cost to municipalities

3 Agenda Background on LICs Why are municipalities engaging in LIC programs Why are higher level governments supporting LIC programs Successes: LIC/PACE program examples Keys to success: addressing default risk to owners Keys to success: Best Practices to mitigate stakeholder risk

4 Background: LICs: Pembina Institute reports: Roger Peters et al. [1] [2] Analysis & multi-sector collaboration in Canada & US developed by Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc. for the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF) 28 municipalities engaged + 22 more interested Wrote 3 reports published by DSF including best practices: Strategic Recommendations for an Optimal PAPER Program Consulted to Nova Scotia DOE on residential LIC program Advised Halifax Regional Municipality on LIC solar thermal program: finance, legal, policy Project manager of an LIC ICI initiative 4

5 LICs: Financing Features & Benefits longer terms recourse security lower rates not debt: not a loan (re: MMAH) municipality lower rates if property sold before financing repaid, new owner assumes payments & benefits general obligation bond $ adjusted from municipal debt repaid on property tax bill 5

6 Why are municipalities engaging in energy/water efficiency upgrade LIC programs Easy to administer Zero net cost to municipality Only municipalities can provide mechanism & benefits Achieving municipal goals: targets energy use, GHGs increase quality of housing stock job creation, economic stimulus, local economic multiplier protection of homeowners from energy poverty reducing pressure on energy infrastructure plant and distribution systems beyond energy efficiency of municipal buildings health benefits

7 Benefits to municipalities & businesses Quality of life: indoor/outdoor air quality; comfort Equity, property taxes same Economy: individual & business profits: Local green-collar jobs $1 million invested in energy efficiency employment for 14.2 person-years Saving $ on energy bills: owners disposable income affordability of mortgage payments Import substitution Industry development: EE/RE Reduces climate change risk levels Environmental & social governance Green Jobs Philly Used with permission * Demerse, Clare, reducing pollution, creating jobs: The Employment Effects of Climate Change and Environmental Policies, Pembina Institute,

8 Why are higher level governments supporting LIC programs Savings on: externalized costs to taxpayers energy infrastructure health care: from non-renewable energy generation environmental impacts unemployment Increases in income tax revenues Mitigation of climate change 8

9 Successes HRM s Solar City $8.3 million Solar thermal & water efficiency 300 installations currently; targeting 1000 installations Council approved program December

10 Program Success at Scale: Long Island Green Homes Source: Dorian Dale, April Used with permission 830 projects, 3,934 tons of CO 2e emissions saved annually Maximum: $12,000; $15,000 with special permission Interest rate 3% 12% admin costs (2009), 10% (2010); $0 muni cost (estimated) Savings > payments on annualized basis; 1.80 SIR 10

11 Impacts of Priority lien Vary with municipal risk focus Amount of LIC subject to a priority lien, and when: Nova Scotia: on entire LIC, up front Ontario: on amount of LIC that is in default, if in default Addresses risk to municipality on default Impact: risk to homeowners of losing home if LIC in default & home goes to tax sale Municipalities may focus on risk to municipality on default and less on risk to property owners on default Especially if LIC default rate low & reserve finances LICs Risk to homeowner is independent of source of municipal LIC financing (reserve or investor) Risk to homeowner varies with external factors and program factors

12 Keys to Success: Addressing default risk to homeowners from external and LIC program factors Risk to homeowners from factors external to LIC program: Homeowner job/industry insecurity Homeowner emergency scenarios Geographic area (e.g. home prices declined; many homes under water) Homeowner fiscal responsibility and % equity

13 Keys to Success: Best Practices in LIC program design How default risks are addressed by program design: Eligibility criteria: stringent (fiscal responsibility) vs relaxed (e.g. encourages uptake) Focus: energy savings (LICs affordable on annual basis): Energy evaluation Access to highly skilled energy evaluators, contractors, installers: Homeowners incentive program risk in case higher efficiency is not achieved is loss of incentive; homeowners /investors /municipal LIC risk in case higher efficiency is not achieved is lower savings on energy bills and reduced affordability of the installations Turnkey program: fewer steps increases uptake Cost-effective measures Quality Control/Quality Assurance In-depth measurement, monitoring and verification becomes rationale for scaling up Reserve fund/insurance product protects home in default

14 The program is a winner for citizens, governments, and future generations. Bill Johnston Director, Canadian Real Estate Association & Past President, Toronto Real Estate Board Bizarro Cartoon by Dan Piraro Used with permission 14

15 Thank you! Sonja Persram, BSc., MBA, LEED AP Sustainable Alternatives Consulting Inc. T:

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