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City Councilors Approve Bernalillo County’s Improvement Special Assessment Program for City of Albuquerque

The State Program funds access to long-term, fixed rate loans for clean energy updates for commercial property owners.
June 03, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE – City Councilors voted unanimously to allow Bernalillo County’s Improvement Special Assessment program to operate inside the City of Albuquerque. The Improvement Special Assessment Act is a state program that incentivizes commercial property owners to make needed - and sometimes costly - updates and improvements to their properties and buildings.

The City Council resolution (R-24-57) allows owners of eligible commercial properties to obtain long-term financing from private capital providers to make qualifying energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and resiliency improvements for qualifying buildings. Upon successful application to the State Economic Development Department and Bernalillo County, Special Assessment financing is secured by a senior lien on the qualifying property, to be repaid to the lender through a levy of a voluntary assessment via property tax bills. The loans are property specific, meaning that the loan responsibility transfers automatically to the next owner if the property is sold.

“The special assessment program fills the void that often leaves sustainability projects short of the total funds needed to make these important property improvements,” said District 7 City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn, co-sponsor of the bill. “The program helps commercial property owners cover 100% of the cost of a sustainability project. These clean energy building improvements will create jobs and increase local building values without using public funds or public credit.”

Eligible properties are privately-owned commercial, agricultural, industrial, or multifamily real property of five or more dwellings located within the City and includes not-for-profit organizations.

The resolution’s co-sponsor, District 5 Councilor and Council President Dan Lewis believes the program will greatly benefit the City as the Improvement Special Assessment Act allows owners of eligible commercial property to obtain long-term financing from private capital providers for qualifying projects, the Improvement Special Assessment program encourages more efficient and resilient building projects to be funded and completed faster.

Eligible improvements are defined as permanent improvements affixed to the real property and must meet one of the following criteria:
• Energy Efficiency Improvements
• Renewable Energy Improvements
• Water Conservation Improvements
• Resiliency Improvements

The resolution will take effect upon passage or the inception date of the Bernalillo County Program, whichever is later