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PACE moving forward in VT! Get it on your Town Warning!

PACE – the Property Assessed Clean Energy program – is ready to move forward in Vermont. Many of you are already working hard to make that happen. We want to help ensure you have access to the support and resources you need to do that.

There have been several forums and workshops that have occurred as of late on PACE (the forum at the Vermont Law School in October as well as the workshop that took place recently at the annual ‘Vermont Energy and Climate Action Conference.’) This email is a follow up to those events, as well as simply ensuring that those of you who have expressed an interest in PACE or who are actively moving the program forward are aware of some important resources available to support your efforts. This email summarizes some of those resources as well as notes some potential follow-up items for your consideration, including:

2012 Town Meeting:  If your town has not approved establishing a PACE district, we encourage you to organize now to get an item on the 2012 Town Warning.  We have developed some sample language for you to include on your Town Warning, which can be found on the WIKI site at http://pacevermont.wikispaces.com/. We have also developed a guidance document to help you understand the steps in approving a PACE district for your town. That document is attached, though it can also be found on the WIKI site. This has to happen quickly though! January 26th is the last day to get an article on the Town Meeting Day warning…

The WIKI Site:  VEIC has established a PACE “WIKI” site that contains a number of important guidance documents and information about implementing PACE in Vermont.  [A “WIKI” site is merely a webpage that is designed to provide easy access to information for a targeted audience.]  On this site, you will find:

•       On-line forum: Do you have a question about PACE?  Check out the WIKI site to get your questions answered or see what other questions have been raised and addressed.

•      Guidance documents:  We have a number of guidance documents posted on the WIKI site, including a step-by-step guide on “How to Implement PACE in Your Community.

•      Sample ballot language: If your town has not already approved the establishment of a PACE district, we have posted two versions of sample language for your consideration to place on your Town Warning for the 2012 Town Meeting Day.

A Letter of Support for the Program from Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce: The State Treasurer has been a great supporter of the PACE program. At the October forum Treasurer Pearce outlined the economic and environmental benefits she believes the PACE program can bring to Vermont. To offer her perspective both on the benefits she believes the program will bring as well as the safety mechanisms in place to protect Vermont communities, Treasurer Pearce has also put together a general letter of support of the program. Find that letter on the WIKI site as well and please share it with local officials and other community members to offer that important perspective.

NOTE: All communities that have signed up for the Quick Start Program are granted access to the WIKI site and should have received guidance on how to gain access. To gain access to the WIKI site, click on http://pacevermont.wikispaces.com and enter your ID and password. If you haven’t already set up an account, you will first need to go to http://pacevermont.wikispaces.com/space/join and set one up. You will then receive an e-mail authorizing you. Please contact Peter Adamczyk at VEIC (802-540-7631 or padamczyk@veic.org) if you have any questions about gaining access to the WIKI site.

New PACE law:  As many of you are aware, the Vermont Legislature made changes in 2011 to the PACE program and strengthened the law.  In light of this new legislation, it is unclear whether towns that had previously approved the establishment of a PACE district need to re-submit new language again at their 2012 Town Meeting. In light of this new legislation, towns that had previously approved the establishment of a PACE district may wish to consider whether to re-submit new language again at their 2012 Town Meeting. If so, please use the language we have provided on the WIKI site.

Moving Ahead with PACE implementation: If your town has already approved establishing a PACE district, you are ready to move ahead with implementation. There are series of questions that you will need to answer and then have approved by your selectboard.  These are all spelled out on the “PACE Program Description and Guidelines.” This can be found on the WIKI site in the “Sample Documents” section.

Again, we hope the “Guide to Implementing PACE Districts in Vermont Communities” serves as a useful step-by-step resource for helping those interested in moving a PACE program forward. If you have any questions, please go to the WIKI forum as the first step in getting those questions answered or feel free to contact me at 802-223-2328 ext. 112 or jmiller@vnrc.org or reach Peter Adamczyk at VEIC at 802-540-7631 or padamczyk@veic.org.

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