Berwick town councillors started the process of establishing a Clean Energy Program bylaw recently.
The initiative will offer low-cost loans to property owners through a local improvement charge to make energy efficient improvements to their homes.
Despite some concerns around the council table that the program will cast Berwick in the role of a bank, councillors were satisfied with assurances by chief administrative officer Don Regan that the program “is no risk to the town on the financial side.”
Finance director Greg Towne confirmed a local improvement tax is a first lien on the property.
If adopted by council, the bylaw would allow Berwick to offer loans to homeowners for the installation of heat pumps and for making insulation upgrades. Loans would be payable over a period of up to 10 years.
A motion to send the draft bylaw to council’s committee of the whole was approved unanimously. Regan says the process of ratifying the bylaw will take two months.