EL CENTRO â€“ Barbara Spoonhour presented the California HERO Program to the County Board Tuesday, a program that offers a turnkey program to individual homes and businesses that saves significant time, cost, and local resources by using their home as a way to bypass a down payment and that qualifies one for an energy loan.
Spoonhour, director of Environmental Programs for Western Riverside Council of Governments, said the program is expanding because of its success in allowing more people to retrofit their homes with energy saving updates from solar panels to high efficiency air conditioners, and window and glass doors, plus many more options.
According to Spoonhour, the benefits to property owners include access to financing that might not be available through traditional means, a no-money-down approach, and the repayment stays with the property.
The other benefit falls on the jurisdictionâ€™s local contractors who would reap the additional work, keeping local dollars local. This creates and maintains construction related jobs, according to Spoonhour.
Property owners can choose to participate in the program at their discretion, but improvements and properties must meet eligibility criteria in order to qualify for financing.
The county benefits by becoming a jurisdiction and seeing increased property values and an increase in sales, payroll and property tax revenue.
According to the presenter, property owners, individuals, associations, business entities, cooperatives, and non-profits who have a clear title to property, are current on property taxes, current on mortgage payments, and have some equity in the property are eligible.
The homeowner or business would eventually pay lower electrical bills from the energy upgrades.
There are more than 1300 contractors participating in the program. All contractors must have an active California State License Board bond and workersâ€™ compensation insurance requirements.
Brawley is participating in the program, and El Centro will soon be a jurisdiction, also.
For further information go to http://www.wrcog.cog.ca.us/content/eewc_home.asp