Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keystone Communities, Public Improvement Grant

Keystone Communities Program Guidelines

Public Improvement Grant

a. Introduction
State financial assistance is available to all Pennsylvania municipalities for a variety of development projects to help eliminate decline, provide gap financing for proposed projects, and assist in a community’s emergency efforts to recover from a natural disaster. Funding priority is given first to communities recovering from a natural disaster and second, to all Keystone designations. DCED will review each proposal on its own merit and determine whether it clearly serves the public purpose, has a strong local financial commitment, is part of a cooperative partnership, and is ready to go. The ultimate owner/user of these grants must be a public entity, a charitable nonprofit, or an income-eligible homeowner. Income-eligible homeowners include low, moderate and middle income homeowners whose income is up to 120% of the area median income. Grants are generally limited to $500,000 and require at a minimum a dollar-for-dollar match. Up to 10% of the grant may be used to administer the project. The cost to audit the project must be included within the 10%. Homeowners/renters whose income is up to or less than 120% of the median income in the area are eligible to receive benefits.

b. The following information must be submitted with the single application when a request for Public
Improvement Grant funding is submitted to DCED:

Project Narrative – Describe the community, why the funds are needed, how they will be
spent, and the benefit that will result. Be specific so that the reviewer understands the project,
understands what is to be accomplished, how it will be accomplished and how the community
will benefit.

Public Purpose – Describe how the community as a whole benefits. Describe how the public is
served by the funding of this application.

Statement of Community Support – A public meeting must be held at a convenient time so
that the general public can attend. The date, time, and location of the meeting must be
advertised in the non-legal section of a newspaper of general circulation and via the internet. A
copy of the newspaper advertisement, copies of any related news stories, a summary of the
events of the meeting, and a list of the attendees at the meeting must be submitted with the
application. The purpose of this meeting is to provide affected residents the opportunity to
discuss the project and its effects. While this meeting must be separately advertised and
conducted, it may be held either before or after a regularly scheduled municipal meeting.

Project Budget Narrative – Provide a narrative description of each budget line item,
addressing each line by funding source. Only costs associated with this project should be
included in the budget. All DCED budgets over $100,000 must contain an amount set aside to
pay for a separate program closeout audit, which is an eligible administrative expense. The
contingency line item may not be used. Please use the “Other Category” at the end of the
budget for project costs that are not listed on the form. Include only local matching funds that
are required to complete the project since the budget form is attached to and becomes part of
the contract. These local costs will have to be documented as available and in some instances
audited when the project audit is conducted.

A resolution is required from all applicants. The resolution must authorize the filing of the
application, state the amount requested, summarize the purpose of the request, guarantee the
provision of the local share and guarantee to reimburse the Commonwealth for the State’s share
of any expenditure found by DCED to be ineligible. An example is provided in Exhibit III.

A Cooperation Agreement with the Local Government (for applicants that are not local
governments including all non-profit organizations and authorities). An example is provided in
Exhibit IV.

Evidence of matching funds. If applicable, match funds are defined as those funds in addition
to this application that are necessary to complete the project. Evidence can be demonstrated in
the form of award letters from federal and state agencies, private funds commitments, financial
institutions and local government commitments.

Project Map – Map(s) of sufficient size and quality to describe the project location with regard
to the nature of the application.

A project timeline that tracks the key activities and the dates necessary to achieving the
project’s goals and objectives.

Cost estimates – An estimate of how much the project will cost. The estimate should be on the
letterhead of a credible third party.

• If the application requests funds to pay for services provided by a third party such as
engineering fees, architectural costs, consulting fees, legal fees, etc., the applicant must provide
evidence documenting the cost of the service to be provided. This evidence can be in the form
of a sub contract, a draft sub-contract or a cost estimate on contractor letterhead.

• Other information/documentation that DCED may identify after the application is submitted

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