Bank loan

Winsted joins CT Green Bank loan program

WINSTED — Business owners can now apply for Connecticut Green Bank loans, offered through the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or C-Pace.

City Manager Josh Kelly on Tuesday asked the Board of Selectmen to approve participation in the fundraising effort to give local retail, industrial and manufacturing businesses the opportunity to apply.

Money from the CT Green Bank program helps fund “green” energy projects, ranging from installing solar panels to upgrading HVAC systems or improving air quality.

“The only way for C-Pace to offer financing to its industrial or commercial customers is for the municipality to sign an agreement,” Kelly said. “There is an element in the agreement that involves the tax collector.”

In a loan agreement between CT Green Bank and a borrower, applicants are required to have appraisals of their properties from the municipal tax collector.

CT Green Bank provides one-on-one assistance to local tax collectors to understand the assessment and loan process.

“There will be voluntary property assessments (for applicants) that will require tax collector time,” Kelly said. “So we are obligated to do that. I personally saw the implementation of this C-Pace program when I worked in Bolton, and it took less than two hours for the tax collector to get this funding opportunity available.

Of the 169 cities in Connecticut, 140 are already involved in the C-Pace program, offered since 2012.

“Torrington, Barkhamsted, New Hartford and Norfolk are cities that are already using this program,” Kelly said. “It’s a positive program that allows business owners to access this type of financing.

Coach Linda Groppo said she wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the opportunity.

“How are cities going to get information about this? ” she asked. “It’s really the first step.”

Kelly said he plans to update all companies signed up for his monthly emails and include them in the monthly Winchester Wire, a newsletter he developed a few months ago.

“About once a month I send out email updates with information on how to enroll in economic development programs,” he said. “I will ensure that this information is published on social media and the next Winchester Wire.”

Kelly pointed out that the company interested in funding from CT Green Bank is responsible for its own application process.

“The city is in no way part of the loan process,” he said. “The person or company must apply for the loan themselves. But we have to approve that, because voluntary property assessments are part of that, and that involves our tax collector.

Winsted recently unveiled several loan and grant programs for local businesses, using money from the American Rescue Plan Act. A facade improvement program and a business loan program were announced on 14 January. At a press conference that day, Kelly and a number of business owners shared details about the funding.

The Board of Selectmen approved these programs in December, which are among 17 projects using ARPA funding. Winsted receives more than $3 million from the bailout.