TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Florida Supreme Court released final opinions on the two remaining matters relating to an innovative energy financing solution known as property assessed clean energy ("PACE"). Last week's decisions are part of the Court's need to resolve four separate appeals challenging PACE programs for Leon County, Clean Energy Coastal Corridor, and the Florida Development Finance Corporation and were precursors to affirm the constitutionality of the PACE statute in Florida.
As with the earlier two rulings, the Court directed the Florida Development Finance Corporation to modify their financing documents to only use existing non-ad valorem tax bill collection methods. And, in a big win affirming city and county Home Rule powers, the Court clarified that the Florida Development Finance Corporation as an entity created by the State as a funding source for public projects does not have the local government power to assess.
The much-anticipated ruling on the Florida Bankers Association's challenge on the constitutionality of PACE was dismissed by the Court. The Court cited the Association's lack of standing to challenge. Concurring with the ruling in result only, Justice Lewis affirmed the overall outcome of the ruling as in accordance with prevailing Florida Law.
PACE programs allow property owners in participating cities and counties to add energy efficiency, renewable energy, or wind hardening improvements to their property, paid back through a voluntary special assessment.
"Mr. Reynolds has always maintained that the PACE Act is constitutional and sound public policy, and the Supreme Court's ruling in these cases has done nothing to disturb that," said James C. Dinkins, of Mark G. Lawson, P.A., who argued two of the four cases on behalf of the challengers. "Questions arise when programs fail to comply with the carefully constructed statute, and the court has now confirmed that the law must be followed," continued Dinkins, who argued that two of the programs challenged should be disapproved because they did not comply with the law.
"We are pleased the Court's opinions validated our funding and origination platform and we are looking forward to continued growth of our program," said Jonathan Schaefer, Program Manager for the Florida PACE Funding Agency. "We believe the rulings will result in cities and counties, previously hesitant, now proceeding quickly to implement the Agency's PACE Program (EVEST Florida)."
About The Florida PACE Funding Agency
The Florida PACE Funding Agency is a single purpose local government formed by the collaborative efforts of Flagler County and the City of Kissimmee, Florida. The Agency provides its innovative financing program for energy efficiency, renewable generation and wind-hardening improvements benefiting property owners and increasing construction jobs statewide. The Agency was set up as a public service for the benefit of participating counties and cities throughout the state. For additional information about the Agency, visit www.FloridaPACE.gov, or to apply to the EVEST Florida program, visit www.EvestFlorida.com.
The Florida PACE Funding Agency's program was validated by the Court's opinions and is allowed to continue offering their PACE program across the state without any modifications.
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SOURCE Florida PACE Funding Agency