BARTOW, Fla. — The Tax Collector for Polk County, Joe G. Tedder, is urging homeowners to 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!
Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, offers a loan program to property owners for home and commercial improvements dealing with energy conservation and efficiency on items such as solar panels, roof improvements, storm shutter installation, etc. 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.
“I want to warn people of the financial risk of this type of loan, when such large payments come due at the same time as their tax bills,” said Joe G. Tedder.
This financing option is gaining a reputation in neighboring Florida counties for saddling property owners with debt they cannot afford, while using the power of government to collect the debt. If the debt is not paid, the owner will lose their property.
“I hate telling people there is nothing that can be done to save their property from being sold for unpaid taxes, especially when I feel most property owners are being hoodwinked into these types of loans,” Tedder continued.
“There is never a free ride, but PACE and their contractors make it sound as if there is,” he goes on to say, “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.”
On Tuesday June 6, 2023, the Polk County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) passed a resolution in support of the Tax Collector’s stance that PACE loans should not exist in unincorporated Polk County.
“Don’t be fooled. If an offer seems too good to be true, it usually is. If you are approached by a loaning institution or contractor saying your property improvements will be paid for on the tax bill, be careful. Be very careful,” Tedder cautioned
The Tax Collector is happy to make himself available for media interviews upon request. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com or contact Ashleigh Mills, Public Engagement Specialist, at AshleighMills@PolkTaxes.com, (863) 944-2002.