BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.94.3817 pertaining to the administration of the 2020 Biennium Treasure State Endowment Program – Planning Grants
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On April 26, 2019, the Department of Commerce published MAR Notice No. 8-94-165 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule at page 415 of the 2019 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 8.
2. The department has amended the above-stated rule as proposed.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT NO. 1: Due to the limited amount of time given to communities to apply for Delivering Local Assistance (DLA) funding and the assumption that Commerce will require a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) to have a complete funding proposal we would like you to consider a one-time-only exemption to allow all costs incurred on or after the date Governor Bullock signs HB 11 to be eligible for reimbursement from TSEP planning grant funds. Specifically, Paragraph B of "Eligible and Ineligible Expenses" included in the draft "2021 Biennium Administration Guidelines & Application for Infrastructure Planning Grants" reads:
Costs that have been incurred before a grantee receiving its Notice of Award letter are ineligible for reimbursement with TSEP Infrastructure Planning grant funds. Costs incurred before the date that the Governor signed the bill containing the TSEP Infrastructure Planning funds are ineligible for the match. The costs of preparing TSEP other grant applications, including responding to the statutory priorities, are ineligible for reimbursement but may be counted as match.
We would request Paragraph B be modified to read:
Costs that have been incurred before the date that the Governor signed the bill containing the TSEP Infrastructure Planning funds are ineligible for reimbursement with TSEP Infrastructure Planning grant funds or match. The costs of preparing TSEP other grant applications, including responding to the statutory priorities, are ineligible for reimbursement but may be counted as match.
The modified language would be consistent with the waiver included in the Administrative Rules of the TSEP Infrastructure Planning Grant Program, so there is some precedent. Most importantly, the requested exemption for the 2021 Biennium would allow consultants to begin work on PERs immediately after the Governor signs HB 11 and would improve the quality of the PERs and the DLA funded projects they would support.
Of course, the applicant would assume the risk of being responsible for the proposed TSEP planning grant funds if their application was not successful, in addition to the required one-to-one match. We feel this will be an acceptable risk to many communities to take advantage of the new DLA grant opportunities.
RESPONSE NO. 1: Thank you for your comment. Commerce understands the needs of applicants and will consider changing the allowable timeframe to incur eligible match expenses. This will be finalized in the final draft made available.
/s/ Garrett Norcott /s/ Tara Rice
Garrett Norcott Tara Rice
Rule Reviewer Director
Department of Commerce
Certified to the Secretary of State May 28, 2019.