West Virginia Department of Commerce F.A.Q. - Small Cities Block Grand Fund

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F.A.Q. - Small Cities Block Grand Fund



Small Cities Block Grant Program
(Frequently asked questions)

May counties and municipalities subgrant funds to nonprofit organizations?
Counties and municipalities may sponsor the applications of nonprofit organizations serving their area, provided that these organizations are legally authorized to receive public funds. Subgrant agreements are required and may be requested as part of the application review process. As the grantee, the county or municipality must act as the administrator of any grant funds provided to nonprofit organizations and must maintain fiduciary responsibility for the expenditure of funds.

Nonprofit organizations must be designated as 501(c) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service and be registered with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office as charitable organizations. Organizations without IRS 501(c) status and/or are not registered with the secretary of state's office are not eligible subgrantees.

What is the average grant amount? Water and sewer projects approved by the Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council may receive up to $1,500,000. Economic development projects that include a job creation agreement signed an expanding or new company may be eligible for up to $1,250,000 for publicly owned utility improvements or facilities. All non-water and sewer projects may be eligible for up to $500,000. Planning projects are eligible to receive up to $100,000.

Which activities are not eligible? Numerous activities are not eligible for SCBG funding. They include but are not limited to debt payment, operation and maintenance expenses, purchase of equipment, construction activities related to the general operation of government (i.e., city hall renovations unless for the sole purpose of accessibility) and any activity that does not meet one of the three HUD national objectives listed under the SCBG description.

What is the program timeline? The SCBG program is administered according to the state fiscal year, July 1 to June 30. Applications are considered during the fiscal year in which they are received. Economic development applications with established job creation agreements are eligible any time during the program year if funds are available. Applications for water and sewer project are only accepted on the established deadline in May. All other applications are only accepted on the established deadline in July. Those not approved within the fiscal year are removed from consideration and must be resubmitted by the applicant in a subsequent fiscal year.

Upon approval, grant funds should be expended in a timely manner. Mutual written agreement between the West Virginia Development Office and the grantee is required to extend a grant period for more than the initial grant period of three years.

How are grants approved? The governor will announce the approval of all SCBG funds through a formal letter to the appropriate unit of local government.

How are funds disbursed? Following the governor's approval, the West Virginia Development Office will enter into a contract with the unit of local government for each project. No costs should be incurred or commitments made relative to a grant prior to the full execution of the contract.

Funds are disbursed based upon approved invoices and receipts that correspond to the requirements of the project contract. All requests for reimbursement must be certified by the unit of local government and approved by the West Virginia Development Office.

Are prevailing wages required for public construction projects? Yes. Federal and state prevailing wages must be paid for construction work performed on public improvement projects involving SCBG funds. Federal wage rates may be obtained from the West Virginia Development Office. State prevailing wage rates may be obtained from the West Virginia Secretary of State, Administrative Law Division at (304) 558-6000. The higher of either federal or state wage rates for each work classification must be paid.

Is competitive bidding required? The expenditure of public funds is governed by guidelines set forth by federal law, the state of West Virginia as well as any existing local purchasing procedures. In all cases, the grantee must follow the most stringent of the federal, state or local purchasing and bidding requirements. Please call the West Virginia Development Office for additional details.

Are uses of grant funds audited? The state auditor's office, Chief Inspection Division or designated audit firm, as a part of the grantee's annual audit, will audit project records. All records must be maintained for a period of three years after completion of the final audit.