PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Two landlords are improving their properties’ heat pumps with help from the new Winterization and Rental Modernization loans awarded to them from the city.
The first round of loan applications for the winterization loans have been awarded to Kevin Thorstenson for Thor Enterprises LLC and pending for Chad Graham for Fieldstone Leasing. Thorstenson received $33,750 to make improvements to his rentals on Skyway Street and Academy Street, while Graham is asking for $68,000 for 20 heat pumps to improve two properties on Second Street, plus one on Exchange and one on Academy streets.
The winterization loan is like filing a loan application with a bank that explains your intentions, along with estimates from legitimate contractors to determine your expenses and have the proof you can pay back the loan, according to Thorstenson.
Winterization loans are traditional loans given through the city of Presque Isle that cannot exceed 10 years with interest rates as low as 1 percent. They are not forgivable.
“It’s eight buildings in total but nine boilers from running off oil to propane, so essentially getting away from the commodity of oil that has been fluctuating and uncontrollable at this point in time,” Thorstenson said. “Budget is basically hard to determine as [oil] has jumped up and down so much over the last year to a much more stable price with less fluctuation.”
Thorstenson said the loan will help upgrade his nine boilers located on eight of his properties in Presque Isle so they are running on propane gas and not oil. It allows Thorstenson to run his boilers off cleaner energy with less maintenance needed on the boilers.
The winterization loan allowed Thorstenson to reduce and stabilize his cost for his properties this year, but he doesn’t know what the costs will be later.
The timing of the loan wasn’t announced soon enough with winter fast approaching for Aroostook County, despite the extra time given with the recent surge of warm temperatures.
The process wasn’t hard but Thorstenson had to wait for the next board meeting with the Presque Isle Development Fund Trustees for the loan program and go to the city council meeting after for approval, which took a month from the time of submitting the application. The time Thorstenson needs to get his boilers switched over is around eight weeks.
The winterization loan application is done at the Presque Isle’s Department of Economic & Community Development. After approval from the Fund Trustees and City Council, applicants for the winterization loans need to finalize a Commitment Letter and close on the loan.
Graham is in the process of getting his winterization loan, but couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.
The city of Presque Isle established the winterization loan program to allow for up to $20,000 to be used within the city limits and administered by the city’s Department of Economic and Community Development. The winterization loans are held in trusteeship by appointment of residents and business owners in Presque Isle.