Town of Bethel, ME
Oxford County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Bethel 6-13-2012. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish a municipal program to enable its citizens to participate in a Property Assessed Clean Energy ("PACE") program, in conformity with applicable federal and state laws, so that owners of qualifying property can access financing for energy saving improvements to their properties located in the Town of Bethel.
A. 
Authority and title.
(1) 
This chapter is adopted pursuant to 35-A M.R.S.A. § 10151 et seq.
(2) 
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Assessed Clean Energy ordinance" of the Town of Bethel, adopted and effective by vote of the Town Meeting.
B. 
Administration. Pursuant to 35-A M.R.S.A. § 10154(2)(A)(2) and (B), the Efficiency Maine Trust and/or its agents, if any, shall administer this chapter pursuant to a contract between the Town of Bethel and the Efficiency Maine Trust.
Except as specifically defined below, words and phrases used in this chapter shall have their customary meanings; as used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings indicated:
ENERGY SAVING IMPROVEMENT
An improvement to qualifying property that is new and permanently affixed to qualifying property and that:
A. 
Will result in increased energy efficiency and substantially reduced energy use and:
(1) 
Meets or exceeds applicable United States Environmental Protection Agency and United States Department of Energy ENERGY STAR® program or similar energy efficiency standards established or approved by the Trust; or
(2) 
Involves air sealing, insulating, and other energy efficiency improvements of residential, commercial, or industrial property in a manner approved by the Trust; or
B. 
Involves a renewable energy installation or an electric thermal storage system that meets or exceeds standards established or approved by the Trust.
MUNICIPALITY
The Town of Bethel.
PACE AGREEMENT
An agreement between the owner of qualifying property and the Trust that authorizes the creation of a PACE mortgage on qualifying property and that is approved, in writing, by all owners of the qualifying property at the time of the agreement, other than mortgage holders.
PACE ASSESSMENT
An assessment made against qualifying property to repay a PACE loan.
PACE DISTRICT
The area within which the municipality establishes a PACE program hereunder, which is all that area within the municipality's boundaries.
PACE LOAN
A loan, secured by a PACE mortgage, made to the owner(s) of a qualifying property pursuant to a PACE program to fund energy saving improvements.
PACE MORTGAGE
A mortgage securing a loan made pursuant to a PACE program to fund energy saving improvements on qualifying property.
PACE PROGRAM
A program established under state statute by the Trust or a municipality under which property owners can finance energy saving improvements on qualifying property.
QUALIFYING PROPERTY
Real property located in the PACE district of the municipality.
RENEWABLE ENERGY INSTALLATION
A fixture, product, system, device or interacting group of devices installed behind the meter at a qualifying property, or on contiguous property under common ownership, that produces energy or heat from renewable sources, including, but not limited to, photovoltaic systems, solar thermal systems, biomass systems, landfill gas to energy systems, geothermal systems, wind systems, wood pellet systems and any other systems eligible for funding under federal qualified energy conservation bonds or federal clean renewable energy bonds.
TRUST
The Efficiency Maine Trust established in 35-A M.R.S.A. § 10103 and/or its agent(s), if any.
The municipality hereby establishes a PACE program allowing owners of qualifying property located in the PACE district who so choose to access financing for energy saving improvements to their property through PACE loans administered by the Trust or its agent.
Pursuant to 35-A M.R.S.A § 10154(A)(2) and (B), the Board of Selectman, on behalf of the Municipality, will enter into a PAC administration contract with the Trust to administer the functions of the PACE program for the municipality. The PACE administration contract with the Trust will establish the administration of the PACE program, including, without limitation, that:
A. 
The Trust will enter into PACE agreements with owners of qualifying property in the municipality's PACE district.
B. 
The Trust, or its agent, will create and record a notice of the PACE agreement in the appropriate County Registry of Deeds to create a PACE mortgage.
C. 
The Trust, or its agent, will disburse the PACE loan to the property owner.
D. 
The Trust, or its agent, will send PACE assessment statements with payment deadlines to the property owner.
E. 
The Trust, or its agent, will be responsible for the collection of the PACE assessments.
F. 
The Trust, or its agent, will record any lien, if needed, due to nonpayment of the assessment.
G. 
The Trust, or its agent on behalf of the municipality, promptly shall record the discharges of PACE mortgages upon full payment of the PACE loan.
In conjunction with adopting this chapter, the municipality shall adopt and implement an education and outreach program so that citizens of the municipality are made aware of home energy saving opportunities, including the opportunity to finance energy saving improvements with a PACE loan.
The municipality desires and intends to assist and cooperate with the Trust in its administration of the municipality's PACE program.
PACE assessments do not constitute a tax but may be assessed and collected by the Trust in any manner determined by the Trust and consistent with applicable law.
A. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, municipal officers and municipal officials, including, without limitation, tax assessors and tax collectors, are not personally liable to the Trust or to any other person for claims, of whatever kind or nature, under or related to a PACE program, including, without limitation, claims for or related to uncollected PACE assessments.
B. 
Other than the fulfillment of its obligations specified in a PACE administration contract with the Trust entered into pursuant to this chapter, a municipality has no liability to a property owner for or related to energy saving improvements financed under a PACE program.