Recovery Zone Bonds

The Recovery Bond allocation was split between two types of bonds: Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds (RZEDB) and Recovery Zone Facility Bonds (RZFB). Michigan received authorization for approximately $773 million of RZEDB, out of a national allocation of $10 billion. We have also received approximately $1.16 billion of RZFB volume allocation from a national allocation of $15 billion.

RZEDBs are to be issued as taxable Build America Bonds, eligible for a 45% interest subsidy paid to the issuer. Economic development bonds are intended to allow state and local governments to finance projects such as infrastructure improvements and job-training programs.

RZFBs are private activity bonds issued on behalf of private companies. These bonds are similar to Private Activity Bonds, but have more flexibility. RZFBs allow tax-exempt financing for projects which historically would not qualify either due to type or size of project (large manufacturing plants, distribution centers, hotels, research parks, etc.). Tourism and redevelopment of Brownfields are two major areas that might be targeted for this financing.
It should be noted that this allocation authorizes the issuance of reduced interest rate bonds, it does not provide guarantees. Bonds must be marketable, meaning that an identified and secure source of repayment must be identified.

A presentation on this program is available online: http://mediasite.mihealth.org/mediasite/Viewer/?peid=a220a72d6a8e4cd693cc1fa74ca8a73a

Contact us for a list of allocations by county for the State of Michigan.

Recovery Zone Bonds

Broadband Grants, Deadline March 15

The agencies announced the rules for this funding round in two separate but complementary Notices of Funds Availability (NOFAs) that promote each agency’s distinct objectives.

NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)

NTIA’s NOFA allocates approximately $2.6 billion in this funding round of which approximately $2.35 billion will be made available for infrastructure projects. In this round, NTIA is adopting a “comprehensive communities” approach as its top priority in awarding infrastructure grants, focusing on middle mile broadband projects that connect key community anchor institutions – such as libraries, hospitals, community colleges, universities, and public safety institutions. Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects maximize the benefits of BTOP by leveraging resources, promoting sustainable community growth, and ultimately laying the foundation for reasonably priced broadband service to consumers and businesses.

In addition, NTIA plans to award at least $150 million of the funding for Public Computer Center projects, which will expand access to broadband service and enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges, and other institutions that service the general public. NTIA also plans to award at least $100 million for Sustainable Broadband Adoption projects, which include projects to provide broadband education, training, and equipment, particularly to vulnerable population groups where broadband technology has traditionally been underutilized.

RUS’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP)

RUS’s NOFA allocates approximately $2.2 billion in this funding round for broadband infrastructure projects. A second funding window will open later which will provide grants for satellite service for premises that remain unserved after all other Recovery Act broadband funding is awarded, make Technical Assistance grants for developing plans using broadband for regional economic development, and grants to provide broadband service to rural libraries funded by USDA under the Recovery Act.

RUS will focus this round on last mile projects, which are anticipated to receive the vast majority of funding. RUS will also fund middle mile projects involving current RUS program participants. The first NOFA had two funding options – grants up to 100 percent in remote rural areas, and 50/50 loan/grant combinations in non-remote rural areas. In the second NOFA, RUS has eliminated this distinction and adopted a base 75/25 grant/loan combination for all projects. The new approach provides RUS with flexibility to seek a waiver if additional grant resources are needed for areas that are difficult to serve, and priority for those who seek lower grant levels. RUS believes this simplified and flexible funding strategy will promote rural economic development.

Separate NOFAs will allow applicants to apply directly to either program. RUS also eliminates the two-step process for BIP applicants to improve program efficiency. These changes will also add valuable time for applicants to focus on one specific program in preparing a more solid application.

Incorporated into the RUS NOFA is an opportunity for the reconsideration of BIP requests to provide viable applications with every chance for funding. There is also a second application review process during which RUS would allow an applicant to adjust its application to better meet program objectives and for the Administrator to provide discretionary points or to increase a grant component to meet rural economic objectives.

Public Workshops

Also today, NTIA and RUS announced a series of public workshops to review the application process and answer questions from prospective applicants. The workshops will be held in Portland, Ore.; Reno, Nev.; Denver, Colo.; San Antonio, Tex.; Eureka, Mo.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Detroit, Mich.; Blacksburg, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; and Atlanta, Ga. Interested parties can register for the workshops at www.broadbandusa.gov.

The agencies plan to accept applications from February 16, 2010, to March 15, 2010, and announce all awards by September 30, 2010.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and RUS to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will use $2.5 billion in budget authority to support grants and loans to facilitate broadband deployment in primarily rural communities.

Broadband Grants, Deadline March 15

Recreation Grant Workshops

Recreation Grant Workshops Scheduled Around the State in January and February

The Department of Natural Resources announced today that informationalworkshops for communities interested in applying for grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will take place around the state in January andFebruary. The MNRTF provides funding assistance for state and local outdoorrecreation needs, including land acquisition and development of outdoor recreation facilities. The MNRTF is a state program supported by revenues from the development of state-owned mineral resources, in particular oil and gas. The LWCF program also provides funding assistance for state and local outdoor recreation needs but is limited to development only of outdoor recreation facilities. The LWCF program is a federal program administered by the National Park Service. The MNRTF and LWCF programs are directed at creating and improving outdoor recreational opportunities and providing protection to valuable natural resources.

Both local units of government and the DNR are eligible for MNRTF and LWCF assistance.Workshops scheduled for 2010 are:

Iron Mountain: Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at America’s Best Inn located at 1609 S. Stephenson Ave. in IronMountain.

Inkster: Thursday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Inkster Parks and Recreation Department’s Games Room located at 2025 Middlebelt in Inkster.

Grand Rapids: Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m at the Amway Grand Plaza located at 187 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids. Note: Must be registered for MRPA Conference to attend these two sessions.

Grayling: Wednesday, Feb. 10, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ramada Inn located at 2650 S. I-75 Business Loop in Grayling.

Lansing: Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Michigan Library and Historical Center Forum located at 702 West Kalamazoo St. in Lansing.

The workshops are free and open to the public, and reservations are not necessary to attend. Topics for all of the workshops will include applicant and project eligibility, distribution of funds, application and attachment preparation, project selection and grantee obligations. The grant application deadline is Thursday, April 1, 2010. Grant application materials will be available from the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants, click on “Grant Programs” under Overview or by contacting Grants Management at the DNR at 517-373-9125.

Application materials also will be available at the workshops. The DNR is committed to conservation, protection, management, accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s natural resources for current and future generations.

Recreation Grant Workshops

Fish Habitat Grants, Due Feb 12

US Fish & Wildlife has announced that the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership (Partnership) received funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to complete on-the-ground fish habitat projects. The Partnership recognizes that most work to protect, restore and enhance fish habitat will be done at the local level by local watershed associations, municipalities, tribes, states and non-governmental organizations. The Partnership will work with organizations to encourage local conservation actions that fit within the Partnership’s Strategic Plan priorities. Up to $1 million will be available for habitat projects. A “project” is defined as an action that will protect, restore or enhance Great Lakes fish habitat. Project proposals will be compiled, ranked by a subcommittee of the Partnership and submitted to the Partnership’s Steering Committee for review. These funds are available through a portion of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative allocation, so the Service will be responsible for making final funding decisions.

Focus areas for 2010 funding are:

1) Fish habitat protection and restoration, specific to one or more of the following: a) Tributary stream restoration or protection to improve fish and aquatic species passage, riparian habitat, large woody debris, water temperatures, natural stream flow functions, or natural stream channel form; b) Coastal and connecting channel wetland restoration, enhancement and protection; c) Connecting channel restoration or protection to improve fish and aquatic species passage and/or riparian habitat.

2) Inventory and assessment of habitats in local watersheds that will lead directly to future on-the-ground projects. We will limit funding for the second focus area to no more than 25 percent of available project funds.

Eligible applicants include:

State governments

County governments

City or township governments

Public and State controlled institutions of higher education

Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)

Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments) Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education Private institutions of higher education Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)

Expected Number of Awards:
12
Estimated Total Program Funding:
$1,000,000
Award Ceiling:
$500,000
Award Floor:
$10,000

There is no cost sharing or matching requirement. Contact us for more information!
Fish Habitat Grants, Due Feb 12