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Thursday, June 10, 2010

City Wins EfficientGovNow Competition


June 10, 2010

City of Lakewood, First Suburbs Development Council and City of Cleveland Win $100,000 from the Fund for Our Economic Future

Yesterday, the Fund for Our Economic Future announced the winners of their EfficientGovNow competition. A consortium including the City of Lakewood, the First Suburbs Development Council and the City of Cleveland were among the winners that received funding.

The funds will be used to help establish Ohio’s first Renewable Energy Special Improvement District, or RE-SID. Just this week, the City of Lakewood introduced legislation to establish the RE-SID after declaring intent to pursue an advanced energy improvement district in November of 2009. Seventeen communities have been invited to participate in this first-of-its-kind consortium.

A RE-SID has been called “pay as you go for energy improvements,” because it will establish a mechanism to finance energy improvements and all but eliminate up front installation costs. By participating in a RE-SID, property owners finance energy improvements at special rates, and pay for the improvements via a special voluntary assessment on their tax bills. The energy cost savings will outweigh the payments.

“Lakewood has been a leader in building this strong and diverse coalition of cities working together to be more efficient. Our proposal was the only one that builds a public sector mechanism to help the private sector. These funds are going to be used to help property owners in Lakewood save money and use less non-renewable energy,” said Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald.

The Fund for Our Economic Future sponsored the competition to encourage greater citizen advocacy for more collaborative, efficient local government. Residents were asked to vote for their three favorite government collaborations from 10 finalists chosen by the Fund, a collaboration of philanthropic institutions and individuals throughout Northeast Ohio that works to strengthen the region’s economic competitiveness.

The goal of the RE-SID is to enable property owners to cut their utility bills and benefit from renewable energy. It is a self-financing program where the energy cost savings will be greater than the costs of the solar improvements. Without the RE-SID, energy efficiency projects have significant up-front costs; it takes a property owner several years to recoup their investment in energy efficiency. The Renewable Energy Special Improvement District changes that.

Lakewood City Council will consider the legislation in the coming weeks. Other cities and the City of Cleveland are expected to propose similar legislation in the coming months. Property owners will be invited to participate in a pilot program in autumn 2010, with full scale implementation expected in 2011.

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For more information, contact Nathan Kelly, Director of Planning and Development at (216) 529-6635.

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