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Pound Ridge Considers Energy Loans For Businesses

The Pound Ridge Town Board will hold a public hearing on a local law that will set up a loan program for commercial buildings to help make them more energy efficient. From left, Dick Lyman, Supervisor Gary Warshauer, Ali Boak and Dan Paschkes.
The Pound Ridge Town Board will hold a public hearing on a local law that will set up a loan program for commercial buildings to help make them more energy efficient. From left, Dick Lyman, Supervisor Gary Warshauer, Ali Boak and Dan Paschkes. Photo Credit: Bob Dumas

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – The Pound Ridge Town Board is considering adopting a local law that would establish a sustainable energy loan program designed to provide low-interest loans for energy improvements to commercial buildings.

The program is being supported by the Northern Westchester Energy Action Coalition (NWEAC), of which Pound Ridge is a member.

“It’s an initiative out of the Energy Action Coalition led by the town of Bedford, which started Energize Bedford,” Supervisor Gary Warshauer said. “We signed on to that and created Energize Pound Ridge.”

The town already has a NWEAC-supported program in place through Energize Pound Ridge in which homeowners can sign up for energy audits of their homes and then receive recommendations on how to make their buildings more energy-efficient.

“This new program goes one step further and provides loans for the commercial business. The residential program doesn’t involve loans,” Warshauer explained. “These loans would be secured through a tax lien. If a business in Pound Ridge wants to take advantage, they would have an energy audit which would identify the things they can do to reduce energy costs. The loans are just like any other loans and [business owners] have to meet requirements such as having the right loan-to-debt ratio.”

Warshauer said that while he likes the program in principle, there are some things the town needs to address before moving forward.

“We need to limit the town’s exposure because if the business defaults on the loan the town would have to step up and make the payment,” he said. “It’s like school taxes; we collect those and if someone doesn’t pay, then we have to. So, there would be some cash flow exposure. We want to try to cap the town’s exposure. That is the one thing we are trying to tweak and fix in the local law. We will get into all those things at the public hearing.”

Warshauer said he believes the board will be able to resolve those issues.

“I am optimistic we can work it out to the point where I would be comfortable supporting it,” he said. “I think becoming more energy efficient is good, and it makes their businesses more affordable to run.”

The Town Board will hold the public hearing on adopting the local law at its Jan. 10 meeting.

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