Oregon City Council at a meeting earlier this month established the city as an Energy Special Improvement District (ESID).
In June, 2010, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill that allows for the establishment of ESIDs. Property owners within the district can pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on their properties by way of special assessments. The process is voluntary. Property owners are not required to participate.
“We want to make it easier for Oregon businesses to invest in energy upgrades for their businesses without having to borrow money to do it,” said Administrator Mike Beazley at a Sept. 10 council meeting. “In this case, it would allow them to invest in such things as a high efficiency furnace, windows and insulation, alternative energy devices, and allow that improvement to run with the property taxes as an assessment over a period of years.”
The other objective of establishing the ESID is that it will help the city to lower the costs of heating, cooling and lighting in city owned buildings, added Beazley.
“To that end, we’ve worked with the Port and done energy assessments on our major water-sewer plants on this core campus, and on our No. 3 fire station,” said Beazley.
Oregon joins Toledo, which created its own ESID last year. Other government entities may join the non-profit district, called the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement Corporation.
In 2010, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the City of Toledo were awarded a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy Better Building Program grant, which aims to implement the wide-scale use of energy efficiency and alternative energy practices and solutions in commercial, governmental and industrial facilities throughout the region. The following year, the Port petitioned Toledo to create an ESID.
On July 19, 2012, the corporation’s board of directors approved adding Oregon to the district and agreed to jointly petition the city to approve an expansion of the district to encompass the geographical boundaries of the city.
Each municipality that is a member of the ESID appoints two individuals to the board of the corporation, one made by the mayor and one by council.
Oregon’s first project is to make efficiency improvements to Fire Station No. 3. The preliminary plan calls for the installation of a ground source closed-loop geothermal heat pump system with an estimated annual savings of $6,685, an installed cost of $35,000 and a simple payback of 5.2 years.
Detailed plans and specifications for the project will be developed to determine the amount and length of the special assessments that will be levied to pay for the project. A second petition will then be presented to council to levy the special assessments for the project.
“The contract itself will be handled in the normal course of the city awarding contracts at a future council meeting,” said Beazley.
“I feel good about this project,” added Beazley. “Fire Station 3 is dependent on propane. Just in the last two years, we’ve spent $20,000 on a combination of propane and maintenance for the boilers and facilities at that station. We paid about $14,000 - $16,000 just in propane alone in a two year period at that station. So there’s a considerable opportunity for savings by moving ahead in this fashion.”
The Port is actively promoting the expansion of the district in Maumee, Perrysburg, Sylvania and Sylvania Township.
To date, the district has undertaken projects involving voluntary assessments for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s Martin Luther King, Jr. train station, its headquarters building at One Maritime Plaza, Port Authority parking garages, approximately 40 City of Toledo buildings and facilities, and the United Autoworker’s building at 2300 Ashland Avenue in Toledo.