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Tax Collector Joe Tedder Warns of PACE Scam

Contractors Billing Services to Property Taxes Misuse of System

Homeowners should "beware and to proceed with caution" when approached with 'PACE' agreements to pay for energy-efficient and storm-hardening features on their property tax bills, according to Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder.

Some contractors are offering Polk homeowners a variety of home improvements without provisions for billing, saying that all they need to do is sign a "PACE" agreement. Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, offers a loan program to property owners for home and commercial improvements.

The sales pitch is, you don't have to worry about making regular loan payments for the improvements as it will instead be added to your tax bill. The arrangement simply moves the debt to that owner's annual property tax bill, which guarantees that the contractor will always collect. There is no benefit to the property owner.

"There is never a free ride, but PACE and their contractors make it sound as if there is," Tedder said, "and as a believer of small government, I also feel private businesses should not use the property tax bill as an instrument to collect consumer debt."

The PACE arrangements may deal with such improvements as energy conservation, roof improvements, storm shutter installation, and efficiency items such as solar panels.


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