By most accounts, the ClimateSmart Loan Program administered by Colorado’s Boulder County has been popular.
In 2008, voters authorized county commissioners to sell up to $40 million in bonds to finance energy efficiency improvements by residential and commercial property owners. As a recent story in the Longmont Times-Call notes, the county has already sold $12.9 million in ClimateSmart Loan Program bonds, has extended loans to 612 residential property owners for energy efficiency projects.
But on Tuesday, the county’s voters, apparently wary of any mechanism that might incur further debt on a relatively large scale, decided against allowing the county to raise another $85 million through bond issues intended to expand the program. (A ballot measure authorizing $50 million in bond issues for acquisition of open space also failed, although a measure that would allow the county to issue $6.1 million in bonds to improve energy efficiency in county buildings was headed for approval.)
The ClimateSmart Loan Program – which has been emulated by communities in other state and was spawned by Boulder County’s adoption in 2006 of its Climate Action Plan (PDF) and, in 2008, its Sustainable Energy Plan (PDF) – is slowed but certainly not disabled by the bond measure’s loss at the ballot box. As part of the bond authorization approved in 2008, the county still can issue another $27 million in bonds to help finance more energy efficiency improvement projects.