LIMA — Lima City Council will vote on approving the recent creation of an Energy Special Improvement District for the city, a move which is designed to help businesses make utility and energy efficiency improvements.
The district was created last week under the lead of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce.
“To do an energy improvement district, you have to have a lead organization to take that on, which means that a lead organization has to do the energy audit and has to commit to doing the energy upgrades,” Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jed Metzger said. “So the Lima Area Chamber Foundation, with our building, decided we would try to be a lead organization with that to form the energy district.”
The district would work with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to secure funds for small businesses to improve such areas as lighting and heat as well as energy efficiency improvements, such as new windows or even roof work. The Port Authority will guarantee the funds thanks to a grant of more than $5 million to use for these projects.
“We can work with them to do an energy audit,” Metzger said. “If they don’t have the upfront cash to do it right away, what this does is sort of like an assessment that’s put on your tax that City Council has to approve. You can go up to 15 years to pay it back.”
Having the funds guaranteed by the Port Authority means that the city would not be on the hook for lost taxes should that business go bankrupt and close, Metzger said. Any assessments would go with the building should it change ownership.
Currently, the district board includes Metzger as the president, Dave Stratton from Allen Economic Development Group, Aubree Kaye from Downtown Lima Inc., Lima Community Development Director Susan Crotty, and 2nd Ward Councilman Sam McLean.