The Fort Collins based group, Community for Sustainable Energy (CSE), was disappointed when the Larimer County Commissioners turned down their request to put a question on the November ballot to create an energy improvement district. Their goal was ask voters to allow the County to issue bonds, creating a funding source for residential energy efficiency loans.
The loan would be added to an owner’s property tax bill and herein lies the problem. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently prohibit financing of properties with assessments for any energy efficiency/renewable energy improvements. Since loans can, and are routinely sold, this means any residential loan secured by a mortgage could be subject to the GSE rules at some point, which has been the kiss of death for these programs. Boulder County’s ClimateSmart Loan Program is a case in point.
The Larimer County Commissioners declined to support the proposed ballot measure because of the related administrative costs the program would create. In addition, although media coverage did not mention it, the Commissioners are aware of the GSE prohibition against energy loans said Commissioner Steve Johnson. CSE is undeterred, and may gather signatures to force the issue next year.