Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16) to help small business owners secure financing to ensure their property is energy-efficient and prepared for severe weather events was advanced by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
“By allowing municipalities to engage in the private financing outlined in the PACE special assessment, we can empower more small business owners to make energy-efficiency improvements and recover from or prepare for future storms,” Senator Bateman said. “As we embark on hurricane season, this bill is essential to ensuring business owners can make vital improvements, such as raising the property to prevent flood damage.”
Senator Bateman’s S-1570 would authorize municipalities to facilitate private financing of conservation and storm recovery and preparedness projects through use of voluntary special assessments. The bill expands a current municipal financing program to help businesses prepare for future extreme weather events and become more energy efficient. The bill would also assist businesses still struggling to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
Under current law, municipalities may only issue clean energy assessments to finance the purchase of renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements made by property owners. Senator Bateman’s bill would improve this effort by establishing the New Jersey Property Assessment Clean Energy (NJ PACE) Municipal Financing Program. This program would also allow business owners to obtain financing for storm shelter construction, and flood and hurricane resistance projects, in addition to the projects allowed under current law.
“As a longtime representative of communities that run along the Raritan River, I have seen firsthand the devastation caused by severe flooding,” Senator Bateman, a sponsor of the Hunterdon-Somerset Flood Advisory Task Force bill, said. “We can and must do more to empower business owners to prepare for severe weather events. More than 32 states have instituted successful PACE programs. It’s time for New Jersey to join the fold.”