13-3205. Assessment contract; contents; recorded with register of deeds; municipality; duties; annual assessments; copy to county assessor and register of deeds.

(1) After passage of an ordinance or resolution under section 13-3204, a municipality may enter into an assessment contract with the record owner of qualifying property within a clean energy assessment district and, if applicable, with a third-party lender to finance an energy project on the qualifying property. The costs financed under the assessment contract may include the cost of materials and labor necessary for installation, permit fees, inspection fees, application and administrative fees, bank fees, and all other fees that may be incurred by the owner pursuant to the installation. The assessment contract shall provide for the repayment of all such costs through annual assessments upon the qualifying property benefited by the energy project. A municipality may not impose an annual assessment under the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act unless such annual assessment is part of an assessment contract entered into under this section.

(2) Before entering into an assessment contract with an owner and, if applicable, a third-party lender under this section, the municipality shall verify:

(a) In all cases involving qualifying property other than single-family residential property, that the owner has obtained an acknowledged and verified written consent and subordination agreement executed by each mortgage holder or trust deed beneficiary stating that the mortgagee or beneficiary consents to the imposition of the annual assessment and that the priority of the mortgage or trust deed is subordinated to the PACE lien established in section 13-3206. The consent and subordination agreement shall be in a form and substance acceptable to each mortgagee or beneficiary and shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the qualifying property is located;

(b) That there are no delinquent taxes, special assessments, water or sewer charges, or any other assessments levied on the qualifying property; that there are no involuntary liens, including, but not limited to, construction liens, on the qualifying property; and that the owner of the qualifying property is current on all debt secured by a mortgage or trust deed encumbering or otherwise securing the qualifying property;

(c) That there are no delinquent annual assessments on the qualifying property which were imposed to pay for a different energy project under the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act; and

(d) That there are sufficient resources to complete the energy project and that the estimated economic benefit, including, but not limited to, energy cost savings, maintenance cost savings, and other property operating savings expected from the energy project during the financing period, is equal to or greater than the principal cost of the energy project.

(3) Upon completion of the verifications required under subsection (2) of this section, an assessment contract may be executed by the municipality, the owner of the qualifying property, and, if applicable, a third-party lender and shall provide:

(a) A description of the energy project, including the estimated cost of the energy project and a description of the estimated savings prepared in accordance with standards acceptable to the municipality;

(b) A mechanism for:

(i) Verifying the final costs of the energy project upon its completion; and

(ii) Ensuring that any amounts advanced, financed, or otherwise paid by the municipality toward the costs of the energy project will not exceed the final cost of the energy project;

(c) An agreement by the property owner to pay annual assessments for a period not to exceed the weighted average useful life of the energy project;

(d) A statement that the obligations set forth in the assessment contract, including the obligation to pay annual assessments, are a covenant that shall run with the land and be obligations upon future owners of the qualifying property; and

(e) An acknowledgment that no subdivision of qualifying property subject to the assessment contract shall be valid unless the assessment contract or an amendment to such contract divides the total annual assessment due between the newly subdivided parcels pro rata to the special benefit realized by each subdivided parcel.

(4) The total annual assessments levied against qualifying property under an assessment contract shall not exceed the sum of the cost of the energy project, including any energy audits or inspections or portion thereof financed by the municipality, plus such administration fees, interest, and other financing costs reasonably required by the municipality.

(5) Nothing in the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act shall be construed to prevent a municipality from entering into more than one assessment contract with respect to a single parcel of real property so long as each assessment contract relates to a separate energy project and subdivision (2)(c) of this section is not violated.

(6) The municipality shall provide a copy of each signed assessment contract to the county assessor and register of deeds of the county in which the qualifying property is located, and the register of deeds shall record the assessment contract with the qualifying property.

(7) Annual assessments agreed to under an assessment contract shall be levied against the qualifying property and collected at the same time and in the same manner as property taxes are levied and collected, except that an assessment contract for qualifying property other than single-family residential property may allow third-party lenders to collect annual assessments directly from the owner of the qualifying property in a manner prescribed in the assessment contract. Any third-party lender collecting annual assessments directly from the owner of the qualifying property shall notify the municipality within three business days if an annual assessment becomes delinquent.

(8) Collection of annual assessments shall only be sought from the original owners or subsequent purchasers of qualifying property subject to an assessment contract.

Source:Laws 2016, LB1012, § 5; R.S.Supp.,2016, § 18-3205; Laws 2017, LB625, § 5.
Effective Date: April 28, 2017