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Port authority board votes to finance home energy improvements

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    The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will partner with a national contractor to offer homeowners efficiency improvements, such as furnaces and windows, that can be financed through property tax assessments, the board of directors voted Thursday.

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    Paul Toth

    The Blade
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The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will partner with a national contractor to offer homeowners efficiency improvements, such as furnaces and windows, that can be financed through property tax assessments, after a board of directors vote Thursday.

The port authority will administer the Ohio Home Energy Renovation Agreement, which would allow homeowners to get new energy-efficient furnaces, insulation, water heaters, windows, and doors, while putting the cost on their property taxes.

The board intends to partner with Renovate America Inc., which currently runs “property-assessed clean energy” programs in California, Missouri, and Florida.

Port Authority President Paul Toth, Jr., said the company, operating through contractors, expects to renovate about 4,000 homes a year in Ohio, with about 400 or 500 likely to be in the Toledo area.

Issuing low-risk bonds for Renovate America is expected to generate about $200,000 to $250,000 a year in new revenue for the port authority.

Port authority spokesman Holly Kemler said there are a lot of steps to go before the program is fully launched. She said it should be available no later than third quarter next year.

In other activity, the board approved an additional grant of $20,000 to a local nonprofit group, City Hope Toledo Inc., that will run a business, the Plank Factory in North Toledo, to train local residents in making wood products out of recovered materials, in this case wooden pallets.

A year ago, the board gave the Plank Factory a grant of $15,000, of which about $12,000 has been spent, on acquiring and renovating a building at 923 Elm St. In its action Thursday the board voted to increase the grant to $35,000, and to loan the group another $27,000.

Board member Bernard “Pete” Culp said the program will help people get valuable skills, and will benefit ex-offenders.

“These adults have an opportunity for a second chance. Through this training that can go on to other jobs — it addresses the recidivism,” Mr. Culp said.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com419-724-6058 or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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