[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 215 (Wednesday, November 5, 2008)]
[Pages 65826-65830]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-26322]



Rural Utilities Service

Announcement of Grant and Loan Application Deadlines and Funding 

AGENCY: Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of solicitation of applications.


SUMMARY: The Rural Utilities Service, an agency delivering the United 
States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Development Utilities 
Programs, hereinafter referred to as Rural Development, announces its 
Revolving Fund Program (RFP) application window for Fiscal Year (FY) 
2009. In addition to announcing the application window, Rural 
Development announces the available funding and maximum amounts for RFP 
competitive grants for the fiscal year. This notice is being issued 
prior to passage of a final appropriations bill, which may or may not 
provide for funding this program, to allow applicants sufficient time 
to leverage financing and submit applications. Rural Development will 
publish a subsequent notice identifying the amount received in the 
appropriations, if any.
    The RFP is authorized under section 306(a) of the Consolidated Farm 
and Rural Development Act (Con Act), 7 U.S.C. 1926(a), as amended by 
section 6001 of the Food, Conservation & Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm 
Bill), Public Law 110-246. Qualified private non-profit organizations 
will receive RFP grant funds to establish a lending program for 
eligible entities. Eligible entities for the revolving loan fund will 
be the same entities eligible to obtain a loan, loan guarantee, or 
grant from the Rural Development Utilities Programs Water and Waste 
Disposal loan and grant programs.

DATES: You may submit completed applications for grants on paper or 
electronically according to the following deadlines:
     Paper copies must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or 
sent overnight no later than May 31, 2009 to be eligible for FY 2009 
grant funding. Late or incomplete applications will not be eligible for 
FY 2009 grant funding.
     Electronic copies must be received by May 31, 2009 to be 
eligible for FY 2009 grant funding. Late or incomplete applications 
will not be eligible for FY 2009 grant funding.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain application guides and materials for the RFP 
program at the Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) Web site: http://www.usda.gov/rus/water/index.htm. You may also request application 
guides and materials by contacting Anita O'Brien at (202) 690-3789.
    Submit completed paper applications for RFP grants to the Rural 
Development Utilities Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 
Independence Ave., SW., Room 2233, STOP 1570, Washington, DC 20250-
1570. Applications should be marked ``Attention: Assistant 
Administrator, Water and Environmental Programs.''
    Submit electronic grant applications at http://www.grants.gov 
(Grants.gov) and follow the instructions you find on that Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anita O'Brien, Loan Specialist, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Rural Development Utilities Programs, Water 
and Environmental Programs; telephone: (202) 690-3789, fax: (202) 690-



    Federal Agency: Rural Utilities Service (RUS).
    Funding Opportunity Title: Grant Program to Establish a Fund for 
Financing Water and Wastewater Projects (Revolving Fund Program (RFP)).
    Announcement Type: Funding Level Announcement, and Solicitation of 
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.864.
    Due Date for Applications: May 31, 2009.
    Reminder of Competitive Grant Application Deadline: Applications

[[Page 65827]]

must be mailed, shipped or submitted electronically through Grants.gov 
no later than May 31, 2009 to be eligible for FY 2009 grant funding.

Items in Supplementary Information

I. Funding Opportunity: Brief introduction to the RFP.
II. Award Information: Available funds, maximum amounts.
III. Eligibility Information: Who is eligible, what kinds of 
projects are eligible, what criteria determine basic eligibility.
IV. Application and Submission Information: Where to get application 
materials, what constitutes a completed application, how and where 
to submit applications, deadlines, items that are eligible.
V. Application Review Information: Considerations and preferences, 
scoring criteria, review standards, selection information.
VI. Award Administration Information: Award notice information, 
award recipient reporting requirements.
VII. Agency Contacts: Web, phone, fax, email, contact name.

I. Funding Opportunity

    Drinking water systems are basic and vital to both health and 
economic development. With dependable water facilities, rural 
communities can attract families and businesses that will invest in the 
community and improve the quality of life for all residents. Without 
dependable water facilities, the communities cannot sustain economic 
    Rural Development provides financial and technical assistance to 
help communities bring safe drinking water and sanitary, 
environmentally sound waste disposal facilities to rural Americans in 
greatest need. It supports the sound development of rural communities 
and the growth of our economy without endangering the environment.
    The Revolving Fund (RFP) Grant Program has been established to 
assist communities with water or wastewater systems. Qualified private 
non-profit organizations will receive RFP grant funds to establish a 
lending program for eligible entities. Eligible entities for the 
revolving loan fund will be the same entities eligible to obtain a 
loan, loan guarantee, or grant from the Water and Waste Disposal loan 
and grant programs administered by Rural Development. As grant 
recipients, the non-profit organizations will set up a revolving loan 
fund to provide loans to finance predevelopment costs of water or 
wastewater projects, or short-term small capital projects not part of 
the regular operation and maintenance of current water and wastewater 
systems. The amount of financing to an eligible entity shall not exceed 
$100,000.00 and shall be repaid in a term not to exceed 10 years. The 
interest rate on loans made under RFP shall be determined in the 
approved grant work plan.

II. Award Information

    Available funds: Rural Development will publish a subsequent notice 
announcing the amount of funds available once a final Appropriations 
bill is enacted for FY 2009.

III. Eligibility Information

A. Who is eligible to apply?

    An applicant is eligible to apply for the RFP grant if it:
    1. Is a private, non-profit organization that has tax-exempt status 
from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS);
    2. Is legally established and located within one of the following:
    (a) A state within the United States;
    (b) The District of Columbia;
    (c) The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; or
    (d) A United States territory;
    3. Has the legal capacity and authority to carry out the grant 
    4. Has a proven record of successfully operating a revolving loan 
fund to rural areas;
    5. Has capitalization acceptable to the Agency, and is composed of 
at least 51 percent of the outstanding interest or membership being 
citizens of the United States or individuals who reside in the United 
States after being legally admitted for permanent residence;
    6. Has no delinquent debt to the Federal Government or no 
outstanding judgments to repay a Federal debt; and
    7. Demonstrates that it possesses the financial, technical, and 
managerial capability to comply with Federal and State laws and 

B. What are the basic eligibility requirements for a project?

    1. The following activities are authorized under the RFP statute:
    (a) Grant funds must be used to capitalize a revolving fund program 
for the purpose of providing direct loan financing to Ultimate 
Recipients for pre-development costs associated with proposed or with 
existing water and wastewater systems, or,
    (b) Short-term costs incurred for equipment replacement, small-
scale extension of services, or other small capital projects that are 
not part of the regular operations and maintenance activities of 
existing water and wastewater systems.
    2. Grant funds may not be used to pay either of the following:
    (a) Payment of the Intermediary's administrative costs or expenses, 
    (b) Delinquent debt owed to the Federal Government.

IV. Application and Submission Information

    A. The grant application guide, copies of necessary forms and 
samples, and the RFP regulation are available from these sources:
    1. The Internet: http://www.usda.gov/rus/water/index.htm or http://www.grants.gov.
    2. For paper copies of these materials telephone (202) 690-3789.
    B. You may file an application in either paper or electronic 
    1. Applications submitted by paper:
    (a) Send or deliver paper applications by the U.S. Postal Service 
(USPS) or courier delivery services to: Assistant Administrator-Water 
and Environmental Programs, Rural Development Utilities Programs, 1400 
Independence Avenue, SW., STOP 1548, Room S-5145, Washington, DC, 
    (b) For paper applications mail or ensure delivery of an original 
paper application (no stamped, photocopied, or initialed signatures) 
and two copies by the deadline date. The application and any materials 
sent with it become Federal records by law and cannot be returned to 
    2. Electronically submitted applications:
    (a) For electronic applications you must file through Grants.gov, 
the official Federal Government Web site at http://www.grants.gov. You 
must be registered with Grants.gov before you can submit a grant 
application. If you have not used Grants.gov before, you will need to 
register with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) and the Credential 
Provider. You will need a DUNS number to access or register at any of 
the services. The registration processes may take several business days 
to complete. Follow the instructions at Grants.gov for registering and 
submitting an electronic application. Rural Development may request 
original signatures on electronically submitted documents later.
    (b) The CCR registers your organization, housing your 
organizational information and allowing Grants.gov to use it to verify 
your identity. You may register for the CCR by calling the CCR 
Assistance Center at 1-888-227-2423 or, you may register online at 
    (c) The Credential Provider gives you or your representative a 
username and password, as part of the Federal Government's e-
Authentication to ensure a secure transaction. You will need the 
username and password when

[[Page 65828]]

you register with Grants.gov or use Grants.gov to submit your 
application. You must register with the Central Provider through 
Grants.gov at the following Web address: https://apply.grants.gov/OrcRegister.
    (d) DUNS Number: Whether you file a paper or an electronic 
application, you will need a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal 
Numbering System (DUNS) number. You must provide your DUNS number on 
the SF-424, ``Application for Federal Assistance.'' To verify that your 
organization has a DUNS number or to receive one at no cost, call the 
dedicated toll-free request line at 1-866-705-5711 or access the Web 
site at http://www.dunandbradstreet.com. The following information is 
needed when requesting a DUNS number:
    (1) Legal Name.
    (2) Headquarters name and address of the organization.
    (3) Doing business as (dba) or other name by which the organization 
is commonly recognized.
    (4) Physical address.
    (5) Mailing address (if separate from headquarters and/or physical 
    (6) Telephone number.
    (7) Contact name and title.
    (8) Number of employees at the physical location.
    (e) Rural Development will not accept applications by fax or e-
    C. A complete application must meet the following requirements:
    1. To be considered for support, you must be an eligible entity and 
must submit a complete application by the deadline date. You should 
consult the cost principles and general administrative requirements for 
grants pertaining to their organizational type in order to prepare the 
budget and complete other parts of the application. You also must 
demonstrate compliance (or intent to comply), through certification or 
other means, with a number of public policy requirements. Applications 
should be prepared in conformance with the provisions in 7 CFR 1783, 
and applicable USDA regulations including 7 CFR parts 3015, 7 CFR parts 
3019, and OMB Circular A-122.
    2. Applicants must complete and submit the following forms to apply 
for a RFP grant:
    (a) Standard Form 424, ``Application for Federal Assistance.''
    (b) Standard Form 424A, ``Budget Information--Non-Construction 
    (c) Standard Form 424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.''
    (d) Standard Form LLL, ``Disclosure of Lobbying Activity.''
    (e) Form RD 400-1, ``Equal Opportunity Agreement.''
    (f) Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement (Under Title VI, Civil 
Rights Act of 1964).''
    3. The project proposal should outline the project in sufficient 
detail to provide a reader with a complete understanding of how the 
loan program will work. Explain what you will accomplish by lending 
funds to eligible entities. Demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed 
loan program in meeting the objectives of this grant program. The 
proposal should cover the following elements:
    (a) Present a brief project overview. Explain the purpose of the 
project, how it relates to Rural Development's purposes, how you will 
carry out the project, what the project will produce, and who will 
direct it.
    (b) Describe why the project is necessary. Demonstrate that 
eligible entities need loan funds. Quantify the number of prospective 
borrowers or provide statistical or narrative evidence that a 
sufficient number of borrowers will exist to justify the grant award. 
Describe the service area. Address community needs.
    (c) Clearly state your project goals. Your objectives should 
clearly describe the goals and be concrete and specific enough to be 
quantitative or observable. They should also be feasible and relate to 
the purpose of the loan program.
    (d) The narrative should cover in more detail the items briefly 
described in the Project Summary. It should establish the basis for any 
claims that you have substantial expertise in promoting the safe and 
productive use of revolving funds. In describing what the project will 
achieve, you should tell the reader if it also will have broader 
influence. The narrative should address the following points:
    (1) Document your ability to administer and service a revolving 
fund in accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 1783.
    (2) Document that, to establish the revolving fund, you can commit 
financial resources your organization controls. This documentation 
should describe the sources of funds other than the RFP grant that will 
be used to pay your operational costs and provide financial assistance 
for projects.
    (3) Demonstrate that you have secured commitments of significant 
financial support from other funding sources, if appropriate.
    (4) List the fees and charges that borrowers will be assessed.
    (e) The work plan must describe the tasks and activities that will 
be accomplished with available resources during the grant period. It 
must show the work you plan to do to achieve the anticipated outcomes, 
goals, and objectives set out for the RFP. The plan must:
    (1) Describe the work to be performed by each person.
    (2) Give a schedule or timetable of work to be done.
    (3) Show evidence of previous experience with the techniques to be 
used or their successful use by others.
    (4) Outline the loan program to include the following: Specific 
loan purposes, a loan application process; priorities, borrower 
eligibility criteria, limitations, fees, interest rates, terms, and 
collateral requirements.
    (5) Provide a marketing plan.
    (6) Explain the mechanics of how you will transfer loan funds to 
the borrowers.
    (7) Describe follow-up or continuing activities that should occur 
after project completion such as monitoring and reporting borrowers' 
    (8) Describe how the results will be evaluated. The evaluation 
criteria should be in line with the project objectives.
    (9) List all personnel responsible for administering this program 
along with a statement of their qualifications and experience.
    (f) The written justification for projected costs should explain 
how budget figures were determined for each category. It should 
indicate which costs are to be covered by grant funds and which costs 
will be met by your organization or other organizations. The 
justification should account for all expenditures discussed in the 
narrative. It should reflect appropriate cost-sharing contributions. 
The budget justification should explain the budget and accounting 
system proposed or in place. The administrative costs for operating the 
budget should be expressed as a percentage of the overall budget. The 
budget justification should provide specific budget figures, rounding 
off figures to the nearest dollar. Applicants should consult OMB 
Circular A-122: ``Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations'' for 
information about appropriate costs for each budget category.
    (g) In addition to completing the standard application forms, you 
must submit:
    1. Supplementary material that demonstrate that your organization 
is legally recognized under state and Federal law. Satisfactory 
documentation includes, but is not limited to, certificates from the 
Secretary of State, or copies of state statutes or laws establishing 
your organization. Letters

[[Page 65829]]

from the IRS awarding tax-exempt status are not considered adequate 
    2. A certified list of directors and officers with their respective 
    3. Evidence of tax exempt status from the IRS.
    4. Debarment and suspension information required in accordance with 
7 CFR, Part 3017, subpart 3017.335, if it applies. The section heading 
is ``What information must I provide before entering into a covered 
transaction with the Department of Agriculture?'' It is part of the 
Department of Agriculture's rules on Government-wide Debarment and 
    5. All of your organization's known workplaces by including the 
actual address of buildings (or parts of buildings) or other sites 
where work under the award takes place. Workplace identification is 
required under the drug-free workplace requirements in accordance with 
7 CFR, Part 3021, subpart 3021.230. The section heading is ``How and 
when must I identify workplaces?'' It is part of the Department of 
Agriculture's rules on Government-wide Requirements for Drug-Free 
Workplace (Financial Assistance).
    6. The most recent audit of your organization.
    7. The following financial statements:
    i. A pro forma balance sheet at start-up and for at least three 
additional years; Balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow 
statements for the last three years.
    ii. If your organization has been formed less than three years, the 
financial statements should be submitted for the periods from inception 
to the present. Projected income and cash flow statements for at least 
three years supported by a list of assumptions showing the basis for 
the projections. The projected income statement and balance sheet must 
include one set of projections that shows the revolving loan fund only 
and a separate set of projections that shows your organization's total 
    8. Additional information to support and describe your plan for 
achieving the grant objectives. The information may be regarded as 
essential for understanding and evaluating the project such as letters 
of support, resolutions, policies, etc. The supplements may be 
presented in appendices to the proposal.

V. Application Review Information

    A. Within 30 days of receiving your application, Rural Development 
will send you a letter of acknowledgment. Your application will be 
reviewed for completeness to determine if you included all of the items 
required. If your application is incomplete or ineligible, Rural 
Development will return it to you with an explanation.
    B. A review team, composed of at least two members, will evaluate 
all applications and proposals. They will make overall recommendations 
based on factors such as eligibility, application completeness, and 
conformity to application requirements. They will score the 
applications based on criteria in the next section.
    C. All applications that are complete and eligible will be ranked 
competitively based on the following scoring criteria:

            Scoring criteria                          Points
1--Degree of expertise and successful    Up to 30 points.
 experience in making and servicing
 commercial loans, with a successful
2--Extent to which the work plan         Up to 40 points.
 demonstrates a well thought out
 comprehensive approach to
 accomplishing objectives; clearly
 defines who will be served by the
 project or program; clearly
 articulates the problem/issues to be
 addressed, identifies the service area
 to be covered by the RFP loans, and
 appears likely to be sustainable.
3--Percentage of applicant
 contributions. Points allowed under
 this paragraph will be based on
 written evidence of the availability
 of funds from sources other than the
 proceeds of a RFP grant to pay part of
 the cost of a loan recipient's
 project. In-kind contributions will
 not be considered. Funds from other
 sources as a percentage of the RFP
 grant and points corresponding to such
 percentages are as follows:
    Less than 20 percent...............  Ineligible.
    At least 20 percent but not more      10 points.
     than 49 percent of the total
     project costs.
    At least 50 percent of the total      20 points.
     project costs.
4--Extent to which the goals and         Up to 15 points.
 objectives are clearly defined, tied
 to the work plan, and are measurable.
5--Lowest ratio of projected             Up to 10 points.
 administrative expenses to loans
6--Evaluation methods for considering    Up to 20 points.
 loan applications and making RFP loans
 are specific to the program, clearly
 defined, measurable, and are
 consistent with program outcomes.
7--Administrator's discretion, taking    Up to 10 points.
 into consideration such factors as:
    Creative outreach ideas for
     marketing RFP loans;.
    Amount of funds requested in
     relation to the amount of needs
     demonstrated in the proposal;.
    Excellent utilization of a previous
     revolving loan fund; and,.
    Optimizing the use of agency

VI. Award Administration Information

    A. Rural Development will rank all qualifying applications by their 
final score. Applications will be selected for funding, based on the 
highest scores and the availability of funding for RFP grants. Each 
applicant will be notified in writing of the score its application 
    B. In making its decision about your application, Rural Development 
may determine that your application is:
    1. Eligible and selected for funding,
    2. Eligible but offered fewer funds than requested,
    3. Eligible but not selected for funding, or
    4. Ineligible for the grant.
    C. In accordance with 7 CFR Part 1900, subpart B, you generally 
have the right to appeal adverse decisions. Some adverse decisions 
cannot be appealed. For example, if you are denied Rural Development 
funding due to a lack of funds available for the grant program, this 
decision cannot be appealed. However, you may make a request to the 
National Appeals Division (NAD) to review the accuracy of our finding 
that the decision cannot be appealed. The appeal must be in writing and 
filed at the appropriate Regional Office, which can be found at http://www.nad.usda.gov/offices.htm or by calling (703) 305-1166.
    D. Applicants selected for funding will complete a grant agreement, 
which outlines the terms and conditions of the grant award.
    E. Grantees will be reimbursed as follows:
    1. SF-270, ``Request for Advance or Reimbursement,'' will be 
completed by the grantee and submitted to either the State or National 
Office not more frequently than monthly.

[[Page 65830]]

    2. Upon receipt of a properly completed SF-270, the funds will be 
requested through the field office terminal system. Ordinarily, payment 
will be made within 30 days after receipt of a proper request for 
    3. Grantees are encouraged to use women- and minority-owned banks 
(a bank which is owned at least 50 percent by women or minority group 
members) for the deposit and disbursement of funds.
    F. Any change in the scope of the project, budget adjustments of 
more than 10 percent of the total budget, or any other significant 
change in the project must be reported to and approved by the approval 
official by written amendment to the grant agreement. Any change not 
approved may be cause for termination of the grant.
    G. Grantees shall constantly monitor performance to ensure that 
time schedules are being met, projected work by time periods is being 
accomplished, and other performance objectives are being achieved. The 
Grantee will provide project reports as follows:
    1. SF-269, ``Financial Status Report (short form),'' and a project 
performance activity report will be required of all grantees on a 
quarterly basis, due 30 days after the end of each quarter.
    2. A final project performance report will be required with the 
last SF-269 due 90 days after the end of the last quarter in which the 
project is completed. The final report may serve as the last quarterly 
    3. All multi-State grantees are to submit an original of each 
report to the National Office. Grantees serving only one State are to 
submit an original of each report to the State Office. The project 
performance reports should detail, preferably in a narrative format, 
activities that have transpired for the specific time period.
    H. The grantee will provide an audit report or financial statements 
as follows:
    1. Grantees expending $500,000 or more Federal funds per fiscal 
year will submit an audit conducted in accordance with OMB Circular A-
133. The audit will be submitted within 9 months after the grantee's 
fiscal year. Additional audits may be required if the project period 
covers more than one fiscal year.
    2. Grantees expending less than $500,000 will provide annual 
financial statements covering the grant period, consisting of the 
organization's statement of income and expense and balance sheet signed 
by an appropriate official of the organization. Financial statements 
will be submitted within 90 days after the grantee's fiscal year.

VII. Agency Contacts

    A. Web site: http://www.usda.gov/rus/water. The Rural Development 
Utilities Programs Web site maintains up-to-date resources and contact 
information for the RFP.
    B. Phone: 202-690-3789.
    C. Fax: 202-690-0649.
    D. E-mail: [email protected].
    E. Main point of contact: Anita O'Brien, Loan Specialist, Water and 
Environmental Programs, Water Programs Division, Rural Development 
Utilities Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    Dated: October 16, 2008.
Curtis M. Anderson,
Deputy Administrator, Rural Utilities Service.
[FR Doc. E8-26322 Filed 11-4-08; 8:45 am]