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Chapter 267-14 THE HARDSHIP GRANT PROGRAM FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES

Rule 267-14-.01 Purpose

In compliance with the "Fair and Open Grants" Article of the "Budget Accountability and Planning Act of 1993," following is the information on a grant program being implemented in the year of 2000.

Rule 267-14-.02 The Name of the Grant Program

The Hardship Grant Program for Rural Communities.

Rule 267-14-.03 The Citation to Statutory Basis for the Grant Program in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated or Other General Law of the State of Georgia

Funded from a national $50 million grant program of which Georgia received $1.892 million contained in the Omnibus Consolidated Rescission and Appropriations Act of 1996 (Pub. L. 104-134) administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Rule 267-14-.04 The General Scope and Purpose of the Grant Program

To provide assistance to publicly-owned wastewater systems to finance the cost of infrastructure needs of poor rural communities to achieve or maintain compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Rule 267-14-.05 General Terms and Conditions of the Grant

The community lacks centralized wastewater treatment or collection system or needs improvements to onsite wastewater treatment and the State Environmental Protection Division determines that assistance will improve public health or reduce an environmental risk. Eligible cost include planning, design, construction and contingency of publicly owned treatment works and alternative wastewater treatment systems. Eligible project activities include rehabilitation or expansion of existing wastewater treatment plants; sewer line replacement and repairs; infiltration/inflow correction; and other transport system water quality problems. Qualifying communities may receive a maximum grant assistance amount of $500,000 to be combined with a 3% interest loan for at least 15% of the project cost.

Rule 267-14-.06 Eligible Recipients of the Grant

Local governments as defined in O.C.G.A. 50-23-4(7).

Rule 267-14-.07 The Criteria for the Award of the Grant

Projects must be 1) on the Clean Water SRF Priority List of Potential Loan Recipients; 2) undergo an environmental review and meet the facilities planning requirements, along with other SRF requirements, i.e. compliance with cross-cutting Federal environmental authorities; 3) per capital income of residents by the project does not exceed $13,244, which is 80 percent of the national, per capital annual income of $16,555; on the date the community applies for assistance; 4) the local unemployment rate exceeds by one percentage point or more the most recently reported, average yearly national unemployment rate; 5) the community size must be 3,000 or less that are not served by any sewage collection or wastewater treatment system; 6) without hardship assistance, the average annual wastewater treatment cost per household would exceed affordability criteria established by GEFA.

Rule 267-14-.08 Directions and Deadlines for Applying for Such Grant

Funding from the HGRCP is very limited, eligible communities with viable projects will be evaluated and awarded on a first come first served basis. We encourage you to contact your consulting engineer or the State EPD Engineering and Technical Support Program at 404/675-6236 for further information. Local governments interested in applying for hardship grant/loan funds are encouraged to request a loan application package from GEFA by calling 404/ 656-0938. The deadline for submitting an application is April 7, 2000.