City financing homeowners’ ‘green’ upgrades

The City is moving forward with the launch of a program to help property owners pay for green upgrades of their buildings. The idea is to reduce San Francisco’s carbon emissions.

The Board of Supervisors' Budget and Finance Committee voted Wednesday in support of the program. It now requires approval by the full board.

Supervisor Eric Mar, working in collaboration with the mayor’s office, introduced the legislation that would create the program. Projects envisioned include window replacements, efficient lighting installation, solar installations and rainwater capture.

“The program is intended to assist property owners in the City with financing and refinancing the acquisition, installation and improvement of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects attached to their buildings,” according to memo from Nadia Sesay, director of public finance. “Individual property owners will contract directly with qualified installers and contractors for energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects on their buildings.”

Property owners not participating in the program will not be impacted. Nor will The City’s own operating budget.

“The City will facilitate the financing for the projects. Projects will be funded from proceeds derived from the issuance and sale of special tax bonds that are repaid solely from and secured solely by special taxes assessed on participating property owners’ property tax bills over approximately 20 years,” the memo said.

Such districts are allowable under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982, which allows local governments in California to finance community facilities and services through the levy of special taxes.

In August 2008, The City adopted a special tax financing code that allows the formation of a special tax district. The code allows The City to create an “opt in” special tax financing district to fund energy improvements to local buildings.

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