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§1780.17 Selection priorities and process.
When ranking eligible applications for consideration for limited funds, Agency officials must consider the priority items met by each application and the degree to which those priorities are met. Points will be awarded as follows:
(a) Population priorities. (1) The proposed project will primarily serve a rural area having a population not in excess of 1,000—25 points;
(2) The proposed project primarily serves a rural area having a population between 1,001 and 2,500—15 points;
(3) The proposed project primarily serves a rural area having a population between 2,501 and 5,500—5 points.
(b) Health priorities. The proposed project is:
(1) Needed to alleviate an emergency situation, correct unanticipated diminution or deterioration of a water supply, or to meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements which pertain to a water system—25 points;
(2) Required to correct inadequacies of a wastewater disposal system, or to meet health standards which pertain to a wastewater disposal system—25 points;
(3) Required to meet administrative orders issued to correct local, State, or Federal solid waste violations—15 points.
(c) Median household income priorities. The median household income of the population to be served by the proposed project is:
(1) Less than the poverty line if the poverty line is less than 80% of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income—30 points;
(2) Less than 80 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income—20 points;
(3) Equal to or more than the poverty line and between 80% and 100%, inclusive, of the State's nonmetropolitan median household income—15 points.
(d) Other priorities. (1) The proposed project will: merge ownership, management, and operation of smaller facilities providing for more efficient management and economical service—15 points;
(2) The proposed project will enlarge, extend, or otherwise modify existing facilities to provide service to additional rural areas—10 points;
(3) Applicant is a public body or Indian tribe—5 points;
(4) Amount of other than RUS funds committed to the project is:
(i) 50% or more—15 points;
(ii) 20% to 49%—10 points;
(iii) 5%—19%—5 points;
(5) Projects that will serve Agency identified target areas—10 points;
(6) Projects that primarily recycle solid waste products thereby limiting the need for solid waste disposal—5 points;
(7) The proposed project will serve an area that has an unreliable quality or supply of drinking water—10 points.
(e) In certain cases the State program official may assign up to 15 points to a project. The points may be awarded to projects in order to improve compatibility and coordination between RUS's and other agencies' selection systems, to ensure effective RUS fund utilization, and to assist those projects that are the most cost effective. A written justification must be prepared and placed in the project file each time these points are assigned.
(f) Cost overruns. An application may receive consideration for funding before others at the State or National Office level when it is a subsequent request for a previously approved project which has encountered construction cost overruns. The cost overruns must be due to high bids or unexpected construction problems that cannot be reduced by negotiations, redesign, use of bid alternatives, rebidding or other means. Cost overruns exceeding 20% of the development cost at time of loan or grant approval or where the scope of the original purpose has changed will not be considered under this paragraph.
(g) National office priorities. In selecting projects for funding at the National Office level State program official points may or may not be considered. The Administrator may assign up to 15 additional points to account for items such as geographic distribution of funds, the highest priority projects within a state, and emergency conditions caused by economic problems or natural disasters. The Administrator may delegate the authority to assign the 15 points to appropriate National Office staff.