Livingston Township Council Considers Working with PACE

Credits: Aaron Snyder

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The Livingston Township Council addressed the New Jersey Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) non-profit financing consultant group, which is seeking to open shop in Livingston, at Monday night's meeting.

PACE, according to Mayor Rudy Fernandez, “is an organization that would provide infrastructure improvements for the mall,” which, as of now, is their current project.

“This is a way for the mall to finance it …  it involves the municipality in that we are collecting a special assessment and paying over that special assessment … handling the money … (but) having no cost to the township,” the mayor said.

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According to PACE representative Jonathon Cloud, PACE will be able to finance infrastructure improvements, such as LED lighting and solar technology to decrease costs over the long run and to almost immediately be “cash positive” right from the get-go for the mall or any other business.

The benefit of going through this non-profit, instead of a more usual form of lending, is that this is done through a “private investor.” In addition, the improvement is already assessed into the value of the property—immediately improving it. The way this is funded, according to the presentation, allows the loan to be paid back through the municipality along with tax collection.

According to Cloud’s presentation, “The whole point of PACE’s projects is to create incentive to improve facilities without ‘added liability on (the) balance sheet.’”

The council said it was interested in going forward with the project, but said it wanted to do their research on how well it has done in other states before making a commitment. If Livingston allows PACE to finance in the township, it will be the first New Jersey township to do so.

In other news, the council discussed the award of the contract for an auditor— the same person as the previous year, for which there was only one bid. “It seems odd that we only have one,” remarked Deputy Mayor Michael Rieber.

Also discussed were the Labor Counsel Services for 2014. Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro said that she did “not agree with the increase in rate” that will be more than last year. Fernandez said that these figures were agreed upon last year, and that an increase was promised.

The council also said that a change order for the final payment for the West McClellan Avenue road construction had occurred. They said that it will save the township some money because it is less than the previous assessment. Councilwoman Shapiro stated, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away,” because a change order for the construction of Mountain Ridge Booster Station, and 2012 improvements of various roadways, turned out to cost more than previous assessments. However, according to Russ Jones, “A few streets now have ‘much better drainage systems,’ and less flooding should occur as a result in some areas that had seen street flooding in the past.”

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