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Polk Files Motion for Relief from Leon County Order in Florida PACE Bond Validation Proceeding

Published: October 6, 2023

Bartow, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2023) — Polk County Tax Collector, Joe Tedder and Polk County Board of County Commissioners, on October 5, 2023, filed a joint motion with the Palm Beach County Tax Collector, Anne M. Gannon and Palm Beach Board of County Commissioners, requesting relief from a bond validation proceeding brought by the Florida PACE Funding Agency (Florida PACE) in Leon County. Florida Pace was created under Florida Statute 163.08 by interlocal agreement between Flagler County and the City of Kissimmee to administer a PACE program. A PACE program is a means to finance certain improvements for residential and commercial property. The PACE loan is recouped through a special assessment placed on the borrower’s property tax bill.

The final judgement at issue was issued by the Leon County Court, and even though Polk County and the Polk County Tax Collector were not parties to the proceeding, Florida PACE has taken the position that the final judgment allows it to impose special assessments in all Florida counties, including Polk County, without having the counties’ approval, and without complying with any ordinances or consumer protection requirements enacted by the counties. The Polk County Board of Commissioners and Tax Collector disagree with Florida PACE’s interpretation, as do many other Florida counties and Tax Collectors, and believe that Florida PACE is not permitted to operate in Polk County unless authorized by the county. The Polk County Commission has not approved Florida Pace operations because of risk to property owners and erosion of Polk County’s constitutional and home rule authority. Further, the county passed a resolution in support of the Tax Collector’s position that special assessments imposed by Florida PACE should not be placed on a property tax bill without Polk County’s approval.

For this reason, Polk County and the Polk County Tax Collector, along with many other Florida counties and Tax Collectors, have filed a motion asking the Leon County Court to amend its judgment to confirm that Florida PACE must comply with Polk County’s requirements to operate within the county.

Also, in June, Mr. Tedder urged homeowners to proceed with caution when approached with offers to make home improvements by taking out a loan that is paid back by collecting loan payments via your annual property tax bill and cautioned that many property owners may not understand how these loans work.

“I want to warn people of the financial risk of this type of loan, when such large payments come due at the same time as their tax bills,” Tedder said. “I hate telling people there is nothing that can be done to save their property from being sold for unpaid taxes.”

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