Becoming the first jurisdiction to utilize authority granted by Colorado’s HB 08-1350, in April 2009 Boulder County and partner municipalities launched the ClimateSmart Loan Program, allowing commercial and residential property owners to obtain financing for renewable and/or energy efficiency improvements.
Loans range from a minimum of $3,000 to a maximum 20% of the property’s value or $50,000 (whichever is less). The loan will be paid back via a 15-year assessment on the property owner’s property tax bill. Certain homeowners (those making less than 115% of the area’s median income) can income qualify for loans with a lower interest rate due to the County’s ability to fund them with the sale of tax-exempt bonds. However, there is a $15,000/loan cap for these income-qualified loans.
In November 2008, voters passed Ballot Measure 1A, authorizing $40 million in bonding capacity for the ClimateSmart Loan Program. Of the $40 million, $28 million is set aside for loans to residential properties, with the remaining $12 million for commercial properties. The majority of the bonds issued will be taxable bonds, but as mentioned above, a portion of the bonds issued will be tax exempt.
In order to participate in this program, each municipality in Boulder County needs to pass an ordinance to make properties in its jurisdiction eligible. As of July 2009, every municipality in Boulder County except Ward has done so.
Round One of the program began in May 2009, and had 518 applicants.