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State legislation would protect homeowners making ‘clean energy’ upgrades, Fasano says

Guest column
Pasco County community news [TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty]
Pasco County community news [TMCCARTY80 | Tara McCarty]
Published Feb. 14

By Mike Fasano, Pasco County Tax Collector

How many times have you been presented with “Terms and Conditions” after you subscribe to something online, and then found yourself hitting “Accept” 10 seconds later?

If you are familiar with the product and the brand, you probably trust that the agreement is covering basic legalities, rather than pulling the rug out from under you. It is not a recommended course of action to gloss over those terms, but sometimes it’s difficult for us to keep up with the legal jargon and uncommon verbiage included in them. Unfortunately, some P.A.C.E. providers have figured out how to use that to their advantage at your expense.

The P.A.C.E. program, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, provides an alternative for those seeking a loan for upgrades to their house, including renewable energy systems and hurricane protections. While a standard bank loan would be paid back through conventional payments, a P.A.C.E. loan is paid back through assessments added to the borrower’s property tax bill.

The program can be beneficial when its business is conducted in an honest manner. However, protections need to be put in place to ensure that future customers of the program don’t have to hold their breath while they search for an honest provider. That is where state House Bill 225 and state Senate Bill 824 answer the call.

The bills were introduced by Rep. Ardian Zika, R-Land O’ Lakes, and Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Palm Harbor, to help prevent predatory practices that thrive on misinformation and lack of disclosure. The bill would require P.A.C.E. providers to abide by stringent customer protections that include providing definitions within the contract, plus a financing estimate and disclosure form.

The bills also require providers to assess whether borrowers will be able to afford an increase in their annual property taxes. And providers would have to allow customers to cancel a P.A.C.E. loan contract, and provide a disclosure statement that says so.

With these protections in place, individuals who want to upgrade their homes with solar panels, hurricane-proof windows or something of the like, and opt for a P.A.C.E. loan, can feel safe in doing so.

They will understand what they are agreeing to and won’t be blindsided by sudden increases in their property tax bills.

Tax collectors do not benefit from the P.A.C.E. program or either of the bills. It is simply about doing what is right and protecting those who trust their elected officials to keep them safe from becoming a victim of malicious business practices.

P.A.C.E. is a program that can be beneficial to the public. The goal of House Bill 225 and Senate Bill 824 is to ensure it remains that way.


  1. A wrong-way driver headed south in the northbound lanes of Interstate 75 in Pasco County caused a crash that resulted in the death of a 45-year-old motorcyclist, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.  Over a three-year period ending in 2018, the county averaged 97 traffic fatalities annually. [Florida Highway Patrol]
  2. New Port Richey City Hall
  3. Pasco School District headquarters in Land O' Lakes
  4. The attendance zones for Northwest, Gulf Highlands and Fox Hollow elementary schools would shift under a proposed rezoning that also includes the closing of Hudson Elementary.
  5. Brian Davison is chief executive officer of Equialt, which bought this Safety Harbor home in a tax deed sale. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission contends in a new lawsuit that EquiAlt is a Ponzi scheme, and Davison has diverted investor funds for his own lavish personal spending. Times (2015)
  6. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  7. The fields are set for the April municipal elections in Pasco County. Times (2012)
  8. The developers of Avalon Park West in Wesley Chapel are planning a $736 million downtown core to accompany nearly 2,700 residences and 355,000 square feet of commercial and office space in a walkable neighborhood. . As part of the deal, Pasco County will consider kicking  in a $33 million 30-year incentive, mostly a tax rebate to help with infrastructure costs.
  9. Pasco County commissioners introduced an ordinance Tuesday governing upkeep of empty property after residents complained about the condition of the Links Golf Club in Hudson, which closed in June 2019.
  10. Pasco County community news
  11. Jacqueline Ortiz and Francisco Medero were the first couple to exchange wedding vows during a special Valentine's Day ceremony held in historic Courtroom 1 at the Hernando County Courthouse in Brooksville. County judges Kristie Healis (pictured) and Kurt Hitzemann took turns officiating the ceremonies that were scheduled at 15-minute intervals throughout the day.
  12. Iriann Paynewhite of Dade City enjoys a ride on a lady bug on opening day at the Pasco County Fair. The fair continues through Feb. 23 at the county fairgrounds in Dade City.