Franklin County Legislature votes to establish energy improvement loan program

MALONE — The Franklin County Legislature voted Thursday to establish a loan program that will make money for energy upgrades and improvements available to local businesses.

The unanimous vote followed a public hearing on the program that drew only one question.

The loan program, known as the Energize NY Open C-PACE Financing program, will “provide access to badly needed capital for renewable energy and efficiency upgrades for commercial building owners,” said Russ Kinyon, director of economic development for the county’s Local Development Corp., who worked for several years to bring the program to Franklin County.

Borrowers participating in the program pay back the cost of the upgrades to the state Energy Improvement Corp., which administers the loans on behalf of the county. The loan will be secured through a lien placed on the “Benefitted Property” by the EIC — a provision that concerned Mike Roesler, the chief financial officer of MCM DevCo, the company that is rehabilitating the former Villa Fiore in downtown Malone that is now known as The River Building.

Roesler asked if the existence of the lien would affect the property owner’s ability to secure additional financing through other sources, notably commercial banks. Mark Thielking, the co-executive director of Energize NY, assured him “typically this is not a concern” and said he would provide a list of lending institutions that have already successfully worked with program participants in other areas.

To qualify for the loan program, property owners must be current on their existing mortgage, if any, and their property taxes.

The program will benefit the county not only by increasing energy efficiency; it will also improve the community’s building stock and make it more attractive to potential investors, Thielking said.