Taft city officials considering eliminating PACE program after community concerns

Posted at 11:31 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 02:37:33-04

The Taft City Council held a public meeting Monday night to hear from residents over concerns with PACE programs. 

The Property Assessment Clean Energy, or PACE, allows homeowners to fund energy upgrades to their home, and funds "green appliances" such as solar panels or energy-efficient air conditioning.

But PACE has been an issue with county supervisors recently, with Kern County and Bakersfield stopping the program last month after raised concerns.

On Tuesday, Taft city officials started to take a second look at PACE programs after a resident said a PACE loan on her home doubled her mortgage payment.

Taft Mayor Dave Noerr said the loans can be predatory and risky, with interest rates of up to 18%, which is higher than standard lending.

And under California law, homeowners go into default when they miss two consecutive payments. When that balance isn't paid, a home can go into foreclosure, or worse, auctioned off at a tax sale.

"There are people who should take a hard look at what the long-term effect if going to be upon them," Noerr said.

In an article published on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, 42 people in Kern County as of June 30 are at risk of losing their homes from the PACE loans.

Taft city officials will take more public comment on the program until they make a final decision at the next city council meeting.