Oregon City Council has established the city as an energy special improvement district, a move that will enable businesses to draw on a federal grant to make energy efficiency improvements and repay the money as a special assessment with property taxes.
"We want to make it easier for Oregon businesses to invest in energy upgrades," Administrator Mike Beazley explained.
Council OK'd the district at its regular meeting last week. A state law adopted in June, 2010, permits this action on the part of municipalities and townships. No business in the district is required to participate.
Oregon itself will launch the first energy efficiency project in the new district at Fire Station No. 3. The city's preliminary plan calls for the installation of a geothermal heat pump system at a cost of $35,000.
Mr. Beazley said the new system will replace the propane gas furnace in the fire station. The city has spent $16,000 for propane in the last two years and projects an annual saving of $6,685 from the new heating system, for a payback period of 5.2 years.
The administrator said the city has engaged the SSOE Group to perform an energy audit on the municipal building to effect similar energy-saving improvements.
Businesses taking advantage of the district can get financing for their improvements from a $15 million U.S. Department of Energy Better Building Program grant awarded to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the city of Toledo in 2010.
The following year, Toledo City Council, acting on a request from the port authority, created an ESID for Toledo in the form of a nonprofit called the Toledo Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement Corporation. Oregon now has joined that entity, which will be called the Northwest Ohio Advanced Energy Improvement Corporation to prevent confusion.
The purpose of the federal grant is to promote energy efficiency and the use of alternative energy technology in commercial, government, and industrial buildings. Other local communities in the process of forming an energy district include Maumee, Sylvania, and Springfield Township.