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Subject 110-7-2 REGIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Rule 110-7-2-.01 Purpose

The purpose of the Regional Assistance Program is to support the development of multi-county and regional economic development projects. Regional economic development projects include, but are not limited to the construction and/or acquisition of regional facilities and multi-county non-construction activities important to regional economic development. Projects must demonstrate significant impact on a region's job growth, job growth potential, regional cooperation, or retention and increased competitiveness of existing industry. Projects should demonstrate significant financial commitment by local governments participating in the project. One or more local governments must demonstrate commitment by each participating unit of local government to improve the level of services related to economic development activities. Private sector participation is encouraged.

Rule 110-7-2-.02 Eligible Applicants

(1) Eligible applicants and recipients of grant funds awarded under this program shall be general purpose local governments (municipalities and counties), local government authorities, joint development authorities, and regional development centers. All applicants must be in compliance, where applicable, with the requirements regarding the Service Delivery Strategy Act (H.B. 489), comprehensive planning, solid waste management planning and reporting, report of local government finances, report of government management indicators and where appropriate, local government authority registration. Any eligible applicant may apply on behalf of a regional cooperative or other regional entity where the applicant agrees to serve as the grantee and fund manager on behalf of the regional entity.
(2) Eligible applicants must apply for grants under this program in a format and manner prescribed by the Department. Grant applications must be submitted in writing to the Department of Community Affairs at:

Department of Community Affairs

Regional Assistance Program

Business & Financial Assistance Division

60 Executive Park South, NE

Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231

(3) The forms provided will include guidelines and information outlining deadlines for submission, mailing addresses, phone numbers of contact persons and other necessary information.

Rule 110-7-2-.03 Fund Availability

(1) Grant funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Community Affairs for this program will be available throughout the fiscal year or until such time as funds are expended. Applicants must meet or exceed established review criteria to be considered for funding.
(2) The Department will establish and announce fund availability. Application guidance and technical assistance will be provided in a manner and form decided by the Department. Applications will be reviewed by the Department in accordance with the criteria as set forth in Section 110-7-2-.05.

Rule 110-7-2-.04 Eligible Activities

(1) All applicants for multi-county or regional economic development projects must submit an application to the Department, in a format prescribed by the Department. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a viable multi-county or regional community or economic development implementation project and clearly identify the proposed use of the funding.
(2) Eligible uses of funds include, but are not limited to, regional facilities including industrial parks, business parks, conference centers, convention centers, or other similar or related economic development parks, centers, or facilities or any combination thereof; regional water and sewer treatment facilities; regional transportation and communication facilities; integral to the advancement of economic development efforts; consolidation activities for government services integral to the advancement of economic development efforts; regional development planning, studies, marketing and recruitment programs; or any other economic development and business assistance multi-county activity important to regional economic development.
(3) In order to qualify as a multi-county or regional facility, the construction or acquisition project must a) be owned by at least two local governments with the participation of at least two counties, or b) be owned by a joint development authority involving two or more counties. All facilities must operate under a revenue sharing agreement among two or more local governments.
(4) Multi-county or regional activities that do not involve construction such as studies, marketing, professional services, contracts, and other economic development activities must demonstrate service to a multi-county area.
(5) Funds will be available to provide incentives for consolidation activities integral to the advancement of economic development efforts. Consolidation activities include a) assessments of the need and desirability of consolidation of local government services (including privatization of such services); b) planning grants for the consolidation of local government services (including privatization of such services) when it has been determined that such consolidation is needed and desirable; and c) implementation grants for the purpose of carrying out consolidation of local government services (including privatization of such services) where it has been determined that such consolidation is needed and desirable.

Rule 110-7-2-.05 Review of Grant Applications

(1) All applications received from applicants will be reviewed to determine the merit of the applications and the proposed use of funds. In determining whether an eligible applicant shall receive a grant award, the following criteria will be considered:

Project applications will be reviewed based upon enhancement of multi-county or regional economic development opportunities including, but not limited to, numbers and types of jobs to be retained and/or created; impact on the state, regional and community tax base; likelihood of success in leading to the retention of jobs within the multi-county or regional area or enhanced job creation; improved regional competitiveness, long-term economic viability, or other regional impacts identified by the applicant; degree of local commitment and financial support; total private capital investment; level of need evidenced by regional poverty and unemployment rates, fiscal capacity of participating governments, and other demographic factors; consistency with the region's economic development goals and objectives; capacity of the implementing organization; project readiness; project feasibility; and reasonableness of cost estimates.

(2) All applications for funding from this program must provide written certification from the applicant, addressed to the Department, to the effect that the applicant is authorized under the laws of the State to carry out the project and activities that are the subject of the application and that the proposed expenditure of funds is in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.
(3) In its review of applications, the Department may, at its discretion, consult with other individuals or agencies as appropriate for the purpose of receiving advice.
(4) These guidelines are designed to assist the Department in making its decision and only constitute minimum standards. Additional factors may be considered depending on the nature of particular projects, their relative merit and the availability of funding at the time of application. For certain consolidation proposals, funding limits, match requirements, and applicant eligibility requirements may be waived upon recommendation by the Commissioner of Community Affairs. The decision that the Department makes shall be final and conclusive.

Rule 110-7-2-.06 Awarding of Grant Funds

(1) Grants will be available up to $500,000 per multi-county or regional economic development project per year.
(2) Additional public and/or private sector matching funds are required to receive a RAP award based on the following:
(A) Applicants for facilities and construction grants in local governments within:
(i) Tier 1 counties or for joint development authorities including a Tier 1 county are not required to match the requested grant amount;
(ii) Tier 2 counties or for joint development authorities including a Tier 2 county must demonstrate that at least one half (50%) of the grant amount requested will be contributed to the total project cost by other sources;
(iii) Tier 3 counties must demonstrate that an equal or greater amount of the grant amount requested will be contributed to the total project cost by other sources.
(B) All applicants for grants for regional, multi-county activities that do not involve construction must demonstrate that at least one half (50%) of the grant amount requested will be contributed to the total project cost by other sources.
(3) Match is defined as public or private funds contributed or committed to the project for which the applicant is requesting assistance. Commitments of funds contingent upon the receipt of grant funds under this program may be counted toward the match requirement.
(4) Once selected for funding, grant funds will be made available by the Department through a grant award statement incorporating by reference the approved final application and adding any conditions that may be necessary or appropriate. As part of the grant award conditions, recipients must file quarterly progress reports on the performance of the project, in a format prescribed by the Department, for future use by the Department.
(5) The Department may approve a grant subject to certain general or special conditions that will be incorporated into the grant award document. The Department reserves the right to change General Conditions from time to time as appropriate. Because of the limited amount of funds available, the Department may also award an amount less than the amount requested in the application. Applicants will have thirty (30) days from the date of award to accept the special conditions and/or the reduced grant amount. The Department reserves the right to shorten this period during the last quarter of each fiscal year. If the applicant fails to accept the General Conditions, special conditions or lower grant amount within the required period, the grant award may be unilaterally withdrawn by the Department.
(6) The Department will provide recipients with application guidelines, specific instructions, and forms to be used for drawdown of funds under the grant award.

Rule 110-7-2-.07 Terminated