Whitehall-Coplay Press

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Lehigh County commissioners approve C-PACE Program

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Local News

At the Dec. 11 meeting, Lehigh County Board of Commissioners approved 8-1 the Lehigh County Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, which had its first reading at the last meeting.

The program will apply to building owners within Lehigh County and be known as the Lehigh County Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, or C-PACE Program.

The C-PACE Program is designed to “facilitate low-cost, long-term financing to owners of agricultural, commercial and industrial properties for energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy projects.” These include energy-efficient equipment, low-flow plumbing products and renewable energy projects.

Brad Osborne, outgoing commissioner, voted against the measure. He said he was concerned that since it “requires followup work from a committee,” the C-PACE Program should be approved by the next board of commissioners.

Osborne also expressed concern the program “expands the role of county government.”

The county is authorized to seek a third party to administer the program.

Commissioners appointed Heidi Baer as a member of the board of directors for the Lehigh County Housing Authority, a nonpaid position. Baer is a resident of North Whitehall Township.

Commissioners also approved 9-0 the distribution of a $309,507 grant from Pennsylvania’s Emergency Solutions Grant Program that funds street outreach, renovation or rehabilitation of buildings used as emergency shelters, rapid rehousing and homelessness prevention assistance, homeless management information system reporting and administration costs.

Distribution of money approved by commissioners is as follows:

• Catholic Charities — $25,216 for homelessness prevention

• Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley — $40,000 for rapid rehousing

• Lehigh Conference of Churches — $25,000 for street outreach

• New Bethany Ministries — $20,555 for homelessness prevention

• Salvation Army — $45,000 for emergency shelter and $60,000 for rapid rehousing

• Third Street Alliance for Women and Children — $65,000 for rapid rehousing and $17,130 for homelessness prevention

• Lehigh County — $11,606 to administer the program

Commissioners approved a contract with Etowah Dialysis LLC, a subsidiary of DaVita Inc., to provide hemodialysis services to Cedarbrook Senior Care & Rehabilitation’s residents.

The Lehigh County Historical Society will continue its professional services agreement with the county to provide management for three county museums or historical sites. Commissioners approved a $96,000 payment to the historical society, which will be paid in monthly increments.

The three historical sites are the Saylor Cement Museum, Coplay; the Lockridge Furnace Museum, Alburtis; and the Haines Mill Museum, Allentown.

Commissioners agreed to a four-year lease for space in Coopersburg for use as a senior center. The lease amount is $300 per month for a 1,300-square-foot space in St. John’s United Church of Christ of Coopersburg, 538 Thomas St.

Since the appeal by Lehigh County regarding the suit seeking to remove the Christian cross from the county seal was ruled in the county’s favor, the $100,000 was set aside in the 2020 budget for expenses.

The commissioners heard a first reading to release the money to go back in the stabilization fund balance. The final vote was expected at the Dec. 18 meeting.