August 2018: An overview of the Local Investment Program by Beth Pearce
Investing locally is a win-win-win: leveraging State resources, we get a guaranteed competitive rate while supporting local investment, economic development, and job creation while assisting in meeting the affordable housing, energy goals, and other important areas of policy adopted by the Legislature.
In the State Treasurer ʼs Office, we partner with cities and towns, nonprofits, State authorities, citizen groups, the Governor and the Legislature to provide finance solutions that look to the future. Beginning in 2012, I convened a Local Investment Working Group that met regularly to explore opportunities for local investment. Since 2012, over $33 million has been obligated and invested in local investment projects across the State. Investment in family daycare, sustainable food production, affordable housing, energy efficiency, reducing the cost of post-secondary education, and renewable energy investments provide examples of the breadth of the program.
I would like to highlight some of these initiatives.
The Treasurer’s Office extended $10 million in 2014 to enable VEDA to make loans and provide other forms of financing for projects that stimulate and encourage development and deployment of clean energy or energy efficiency technologies in the State of Vermont. Since the initial $10 million investment made by the Treasurer’s’ Office, VEDA has used these and other paired resources to complete nearly 80 loans to over 60 companies totaling over $45 million in local investment. The aggregate energy projects VEDA participated in totals over $100 million since the initial Treasurer’s Office loan to VEDA.
By investing in Neighborworks of Western Vermont we have assisted in expanding a successful residential energy efficiency program. Since 2013, the Treasurer’s Office has loaned $3.75 million to Neighborworks of Western Vermont for landlord rehabilitation loans, homeowner rehabilitation loans, landlord energy loans, homeowner energy loans, and down payment assistance. To date, over 200 families have received loans through local investment dollars provided by the local investment program in the Treasurer’s Office.
An investment of $2.8 million by the Treasurer’s Office with the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) has been used to support energy improvements in multi-family housing projects throughout Vermont. We also put the State’s moral obligation behind a $15 million bond refunding issue to lower the cost of a number of multi-family affordable housing projects.
In 2014 we worked with Efficiency Vermont, the Governor, and legislative leadership to propose legislation to permit the Treasurer’s Office to invest up to $8 million in a revolving fund to make energy improvements/investments in State buildings.
The Treasurer’s Office provides ongoing investments of up to $1 million with the Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF). In 2016, we doubled our lending capacity with VCLF (from $500,000 to $1 million) to provide further assistance in new investments that will increase access to capital for businesses working to improve local food production, small farms, sustainable forestry, and affordable housing programs.
In 2016 a $2 million agreement was reached with Champlain Housing Trust that provided financing for the Local Investment Financing Trust program. This program supports the preservation, acquisition, and stabilizing of multifamily and single-family housing for the benefit of low, moderate, and media income families and individuals in Vermont.
$4 million agreement was reached with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and the Treasurer’s Office in the spring of 2016 that directed local investment dollars towards lowering the fixed rates on Vermont Advantage loans for parents and students, starting at 4.8 percent, the lowest rates ever offered in Vermont.
I am committed to investing locally while maintaining the highest quality due diligence as a fiduciary to taxpayer dollars.
As we move forward on these and other efforts, I am grateful for your support and partnership. After all, that’s how we get things done in Vermont – through partnership, collaboration and commitment to our shared values.