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e-CFR data is current as of April 14, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1774 → Subpart B


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 1774—SPECIAL EVALUATION ASSISTANCE FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES AND HOUSEHOLDS PROGRAM (SEARCH)


Subpart B—Grant Application Processing


Contents
§1774.10   Applications.
§1774.11   [Reserved]
§1774.12   Eligibility.
§1774.13   Limitations.
§1774.14   Eligible grant purposes.
§1774.15   Selection Criteria.
§1774.16   Grant application processing and approval.
§1774.17   Grant closing and disbursement.
§1774.18   Reporting requirements, accounting methods and audits.
§1774.19   Applications determined ineligible.
§1774.20   Conflict of Interest.
§§1774.21-1774.23   [Reserved]
§1774.24   Exception authority.
§§1774.25-1774.99   [Reserved]
§1774.100   OMB Control Number.

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§1774.10   Applications.

(a) To file an application, an organization must provide their DUNS number. An organization may obtain a DUNS number from Dun and Bradstreet by calling (1-866-705-5711). To file a complete application, the following information should be submitted:

(1) Standard Form 424, “Application for Federal Assistance (For Non-Construction).”

(2) Standard Form 424A & B, “Budget Information—Non-Construction Programs.”

(3) Supporting documentation necessary to make an eligibility determination such as financial statements, audits, organizational documents, or existing debt instruments. The Processing Official will advise applicants regarding the required documents. Applicants that are indebted to RUS will not need to submit documents already on file with the Processing Official as long as such documents are current and valid.

(4) Project narrative detailing the project to be financed with the SEARCH grant funds. The narrative will also provide details on the activities or tasks to be accomplished, objectives, timetables for task completion, and anticipated results.

(5) The applicant's Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

(6) Other Forms and certifications. Applicants will be required to submit the following items to the Processing Official, upon notification from the Processing Official to proceed with further development of the full application:

(i) Form RD 442-7, “Operating Budget”;

(ii) Form RD 400-1, “Equal Opportunity Agreement”;

(iii) Form RD 400-4, “Assurance Agreement”;

(iv) Form AD-1047, “Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension and other Responsibility Matters”;

(v) Form AD-1049, Certification regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants) Alternative I For Grantees Other Than Individuals;

(vi) Certifications for Contracts, Grants, and Loans (Regarding Lobbying); and

(vii) Certification regarding prohibited tying arrangements. Applicants that provide electric service must provide the Agency a certification that they will not require users of a water or waste facility financed under this part to accept electric service as a condition of receiving assistance.

(b) Applicants are encouraged to contact the State Office or the Processing Official to find out how to file electronically. The application and supporting documentation must be sent or delivered to the Processing Official, unless it is filed electronically.

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§1774.11   [Reserved]

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§1774.12   Eligibility.

The following eligibility requirements must be met:

(a) The applicant must be:

(1) A public body, such as a municipality, county, district, authority, or other political subdivision or a State, territory or commonwealth, or

(2) An organization operated on a not-for-profit basis, such as an association, cooperative, or private corporation. The organization must be an association controlled by a local public body or bodies, or have a broadly based ownership by or membership of people of the local community, or

(3) Indian Tribes on Federal and State reservations and other Federally recognized Indian Tribes.

(b) The area to be served must be financially distressed and rural as defined in §1774.2 of this part.

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§1774.13   Limitations.

Grant funds may not be used to:

(a) Fund political or lobbying activities.

(b) Pay for work already completed.

(c) Purchase real estate or vehicles, improve or renovate office space, or repair and maintain privately owned property.

(d) Construct or furnish a building.

(e) Intervene in the Federal regulatory or adjudicatory proceedings.

(f) Sue the Federal Government or any other government entities.

(g) Pay for any other costs that are not allowable under 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 400.

(h) Make contributions or donations to others.

(i) Fund projects that duplicate technical assistance given to implement action plans under the National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities Economic Diversification Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6613). Applicants cannot receive both grants made under this part and grants that the Forest Service makes to implement the action plans for five continuous years from the date of grant approval by the Forest Service.

(j) To pay an outstanding judgment obtained by the United States in a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax Court), which has been recorded. An applicant will be ineligible to receive a loan or grant until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied.

[75 FR 35963, June 24, 2010, as amended at 79 FR 76005, Dec. 19, 2014]

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§1774.14   Eligible grant purposes.

(a) Eligible predevelopment planning costs are feasibility studies, preliminary design assistance, and technical assistance as each is defined in §1774.2. The eligible predevelopment activities funded with these grant funds must be agreed to and accepted by the Agency prior to the disbursement of the SEARCH grant. The predevelopment planning costs must be related to a proposed project that meets the following requirements:

(1) To construct, enlarge, extend, or otherwise improve rural water, sanitary sewage, solid waste disposal, and storm wastewater disposal facilities.

(2) To construct or relocate public buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities, and to make other public improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities authorized in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(3) To relocate private buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities, and other private improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities authorized in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(b) The Secretary, subject to the limitation in §1774.4 of this part, may fund up to 100 percent of the eligible grant costs, not to exceed $30,000.

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§1774.15   Selection Criteria.

Projects will be selected based primarily on the funding priorities in 7 CFR 1780.17. The Program Official discretionary points stated in 7 CFR1780.17 (e) can also include consideration of the following criteria:

(a) Systems with limited resources.

(b) Smallest systems with lowest incomes.

(c) Funds availability.

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§1774.16   Grant application processing and approval.

(a) Before starting to assemble the full application, the applicant should arrange through the Processing Official an application conference to provide a basis for orderly application assembly. The processing office will explain program requirements, public information requirements and provide guidance on preparation of items necessary for final determination.

(b) The Processing Official will determine if the application is properly assembled. If not, the applicant will be notified within fifteen Federal working days as to what additional submittal items are needed.

(c) The Processing Official and Approval Official will coordinate their reviews to ensure that the applicant is advised about eligibility and anticipated fund availability within 45 days of the receipt of a completed application.

(d) The Processing Official will submit the following to the Approval Official:

(1) “Water and Waste Project Information Summary”;

(2) Form RD 442-3, “Balance Sheet” or a financial statement or audit that includes a balance sheet;

(3) Letter of Conditions;

(4) Form RD 1942-46, “Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions”;

(5) Form RD 1940-1, “Request for Obligation of Funds”;

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§1774.17   Grant closing and disbursement.

(a) Grant closing. RUS Bulletin 1780-12 “Water or Waste System Grant Agreement” will be completed and executed in accordance with the requirements of grant approval. The grant will be considered closed when RUS Bulletin 1780-12 has been properly executed. Processing officials or Approval officials are authorized to sign the grant agreement on behalf of RUS.

(b) Grant disbursements. Agency policy is not to disburse grant funds from the Treasury until they are actually needed by the applicant. If an approved grant includes applicant or other contributions, then these funds will be disbursed before the disbursal of any Agency grant funds.

(c) Payment for project costs. Project costs will be monitored by the RUS processing office. Invoices will be approved by the borrower and submitted to the Processing Official for concurrence. The review and acceptance of project costs by the Agency does not attest to the correctness of the amounts, the quantities shown or that the work has been performed under the terms of the agreements or contracts.

(d) Use of remaining funds. Funds remaining after all costs incident to the basic project have been paid or provided for will not include applicant contributions if SEARCH grants funds are financing less than 100 percent of the project. Funds remaining may be considered in direct proportion to the amounts obtained from each source. Remaining funds will be handled as follows:

(1) Remaining funds may be used for eligible grant purposes as described in 1774.14 of this subpart, or

(2) Grant funds not expended will be canceled. Prior to the actual cancellation, the borrower, its attorney and its engineer will be notified of RUS' intent to cancel the remaining funds.

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§1774.18   Reporting requirements, accounting methods and audits.

All Agency grantees will follow the reporting requirements as outlined in 7 CFR 1780.47.

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§1774.19   Applications determined ineligible.

If at any time an application is determined ineligible, the processing office will notify the applicant in writing of the reasons. The notification to the applicant will state that an appeal of this decision may be made by the applicant under 7 CFR part 11.

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§1774.20   Conflict of Interest.

Any processing or servicing activity conducted pursuant to this part involving authorized assistance to Rural Development employees with Water and Environmental Programs responsibility, members of their families, known close relatives, or business or close personal associates, is subject to the provisions of subpart D of part 1900 of this title. Applicants of this assistance are required to identify any known relationship or association with an RUS employee.

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§§1774.21-1774.23   [Reserved]

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§1774.24   Exception authority.

The Administrator may, in individual cases, make an exception to any requirement or provision of this part which is not inconsistent with the authorizing statute or other applicable law and is determined to be in the Government's interest. Requests for exceptions must be made in writing by the State Director and supported with documentation to explain the adverse effect on the Government's interest, propose alternative course(s) of action, and show how the adverse affect will be eliminated or minimized if the exception is granted. The exception decision will be documented in writing, signed by the Administrator, and retained in the files.

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§§1774.25-1774.99   [Reserved]

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§1774.100   OMB Control Number.

The information collection requirements in this part will not be effective until approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), subject to the submission of a paperwork package to OMB and assigned an OMB Control Number.

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