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Title 7Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1780 → Subpart B


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 1780—WATER AND WASTE LOANS AND GRANTS


Subpart B—Loan and Grant Application Processing


Contents
§1780.31   General.
§1780.32   Timeframes for application processing.
§1780.33   Application requirements.
§1780.34   Strategic economic and community development.
§1780.35   Processing office review.
§1780.36   Approving official review.
§1780.37   Applications determined ineligible.
§1780.38   [Reserved]
§1780.39   Application processing.
§1780.40   [Reserved]
§1780.41   Loan or grant approval.
§1780.42   Transfer of obligations.
§1780.43   [Reserved]
§1780.44   Actions prior to loan or grant closing or start of construction, whichever occurs first.
§1780.45   Loan and grant closing and delivery of funds.
§1780.46   [Reserved]
§1780.47   Borrower accounting methods, management reporting and audits.
§1780.48   Regional commission grants.
§§1780.49-1780.52   [Reserved]

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§1780.31   General.

(a) Applicants are encouraged to contact the Agency processing office early in the planning stages of their project. Agency personnel are available to provide general advice and assistance regarding RUS programs, other funding sources, and types of systems or improvements appropriate for the applicants needs. The Agency can also provide access to technical assistance and other information resources for other project development issues such as public information, income surveys, developing rate schedules, system operation and maintenance, and environmental compliance requirements. Throughout the planning, application processing and construction of the project, Agency personnel will work closely and cooperatively with the applicant and their representatives, other State and Federal agencies and technical assistance providers.

(b) The processing office will handle initial inquiries and provide basic information about the program. They are to provide the application, SF 424.2, “Application for Federal Assistance (For Construction),” assist applicants as needed in completing SF 424.2, and in filing a request for intergovernmental review. Federally recognized Indian tribes are exempt from intergovernmental review. The processing office will explain eligibility requirements and meet with the applicant whenever necessary to discuss application processing.

(c) Applicants can make a written request for an eligibility determination in lieu of filing an SF 424.2 along with the information required by §1780.33. Applicants seeking only an eligibility determination, should contact the processing office to obtain a list of the items needed to make this determination. An eligibility determination for loan or grant assistance will not give an applicant priority for funding as set forth in §1780.17.

(d) Applications that are not developed in a reasonable period of time taking into account the size and complexity of the proposed project may be removed from the State's active file. Applicants will be consulted prior to taking such action.

(e) During the earliest discussion with prospective applicants, the Agency will advise prospective applicants on environmental review requirements and evaluation of potential environmental impacts of the proposal. In accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, environmental review requirements shall be performed by the applicant simultaneously and concurrently with the proposal's engineering planning and design.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 68655, Dec. 11, 1998; 81 FR 11028, Mar. 2, 2016]

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§1780.32   Timeframes for application processing.

(a) The processing office 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.

(b) The processing and approval offices 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.

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§1780.33   Application requirements.

An initial application consists of the following:

(a) One copy of a completed SF 424.2;

(b) A copy of the State intergovernmental comments or one copy of the filed application for State intergovernmental review; and

(c) Two copies of the preliminary engineering report (PER) for the project.

(1) The PER may be submitted to the processing office prior to the rest of the application material if the applicant desires a preliminary review.

(2) The processing office will forward one copy of the PER with comments and recommendations to the State staff engineer for review upon receipt from the applicant.

(3) The State staff engineer will consult with the applicant's engineer as appropriate to resolve any questions concerning the PER. Written comments will be provided by the State staff engineer to the processing office to meet eligibility determination time lines.

(d) Written certification that other credit is not available.

(e) Supporting documentation necessary to make an eligibility determination such as financial statements, audits, organizational documents, or existing debt instruments. The processing office 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 office.

(f) Environmental review requirements. The applicant must comply with the environmental review requirements in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970.

(1) Upon receipt of the Environmental Report, the processing office shall forward one copy of the report with comments and recommendation to the State Environmental Coordinator for review.

(2) The State Environmental Coordinator will consult with the applicant as appropriate to resolve any environmental concerns. Written comments will be provided by the State Environmental Coordinator to the processing office to meet eligibility determination time lines.

(g) The applicant's Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). The TIN will be used by the Agency to assign a case number which will be the applicant's or transferee's TIN preceded by State and County Code numbers. Only one case number will be assigned to each applicant regardless of the number of loans or grants or number of separate facilities, unless an exception is authorized by the National Office.

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

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

(2) Form RD 1910-11, “Application Certification, Federal Collection Policies for Consumer or Commercial Debts”;

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

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

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

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

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

(8) 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.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 68655, Dec. 11, 1998; 81 FR 11028, Mar. 2, 2016]

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§1780.34   Strategic economic and community development.

Applicants with projects that support the implementation of Strategic Community Investment Plans are encouraged to review and consider 7 CFR part 1980, subpart K, which contains provisions for providing priority to projects that support the implementation of Strategic Community Investment Plans on a multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral basis.

[85 FR 59393, Sept. 22, 2020]

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§1780.35   Processing office review.

Review of the application will usually include the following:

(a) Nondiscrimination. Boundaries for the proposed service area must not be chosen in such a way that any user or area will be excluded because of race, color, religion, sex, marital status, age, handicap, or national origin. This does not preclude construction of the project in phases as noted in §1780.11 as long as it is not done in a discriminatory manner.

(b) Grant determination. Grants will be determined by the processing office in accordance with the following provisions and will not result in EDU costs below similar system user cost.

(1) Maximum grant. Grants may not exceed the percentages in §1780.10(c) of the eligible RUS project development costs listed in §1780.9.

(2) Debt service. Applicants will be considered for grant assistance when the debt service portion of the average annual EDU cost, for users in the applicant's service area, exceeds the following percentages of median household income:

(i) 0.5 percent when the median household income of the service area is equal to or below 80% of the statewide nonmetropolitan median income.

(ii) 1.0 percent when the median household income of the service area exceeds the 0.5 percent requirement but is not more than 100 percent the statewide nonmetropolitan household income.

(3) Similar system cost. If the grant determined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section results in an annual EDU cost that is not comparable with similar systems, the Agency will determine a grant amount based on achieving EDU costs that are not below similar system user costs.

(4) Wholesale service. When an applicant provides wholesale sales or services on a contract basis to another system or entity, similar wholesale system cost will be used in determining the amount of grant needed to achieve a reasonable wholesale user cost.

(5) Subsidized cost. When annual cost to the applicant for delivery of service is subsidized by either the state, commonwealth, or territory, and uniform flat user charges regardless of usage are imposed for similar classes of service throughout the service area, the Agency may proceed with a grant in an amount necessary to reduce such delivery cost to a reasonable level.

(c) User charges. The user charges should be reasonable and produce enough revenue to provide for all costs of the facility after the project is complete. The planned revenue should be sufficient to provide for all debt service, debt reserve, operation and maintenance, and, if appropriate, additional revenue for facility replacement of short-lived assets without building a substantial surplus. Ordinarily, the total debt service reserve will be equal to one average annual loan installment which will accumulate at the rate of one-tenth of the total each year.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999]

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§1780.36   Approving official review.

Projects may be obligated as their applications are completed and approved.

(a) Selection of applications for further processing. The application and supporting information submitted will be used to determine the applications selected for further development and funding. After completing the review, the approval official will normally select those eligible applications with the highest priority scores for further processing. When authorizing the development of an application for funding, the following will be considered:

(1) Funds available in State allocation;

(2) Anticipated allocation of funds for the next fiscal year; and

(3) Time necessary for applicant to complete the application.

(b) Lower scoring projects. (1) In cases where preliminary cost estimates indicate that an eligible, high scoring application is unfeasible or would require an amount of funding from RUS that exceeds either 25 percent of a State's current annual allocation or an amount greater than that remaining in the State's allocation, the approval official may instead select the next lower scoring application for further processing provided the high scoring applicant is notified of this action and given an opportunity to revise the proposal and resubmit it.

(2) If it is found that there is no effective way to reduce costs or no other funding sources, the approval official, after consultation with applicant, may submit a request for an additional allocation of funds for the proposed project to the National Office. The request should be submitted during the fiscal year in which obligation is anticipated. Such request will be considered along with all others on hand. A written justification must be prepared and placed in the project file.

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§1780.37   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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§1780.38   [Reserved]

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§1780.39   Application processing.

(a) Processing conference. Before starting to assemble the full application, the applicant should arrange through the processing office 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 approval.

(b) Professional services and contracts related to the facility. Fees provided for in contracts or agreements shall be reasonable. The Agency shall consider fees to be reasonable if they are not in excess of those ordinarily charged by the profession as a whole for similar work when RUS financing is not involved. Applicants will be responsible for providing the services necessary to plan projects including design of facilities, environmental review and documentation requirements, preparation of cost and income estimates, development of proposals for organization and financing, and overall operation and maintenance of the facility. Applicants should negotiate for procurement of professional services, whereby competitors' qualifications are evaluated and the most qualified competitor is selected, subject to negotiations of fair and reasonable compensation. Contracts or other forms of agreement between the applicant and its professional and technical representatives are required and are subject to RUS concurrence.

(1) Engineering and architectural services. (i) Applicants shall publicly announce all requirements for engineering and architectural services, and negotiate contracts for engineering and architectural services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications for the type of professional services required and at a fair and reasonable price.

(ii) When project design services are procured separately, the selection of the engineer or architect shall be done by requesting qualification-based proposals and in accordance with this section.

(iii) Applicants may procure engineering and architectural services in accordance with applicable State statutes or local requirements provided the State Director determines that such procurement meets the intent of this section.

(2) Other professional services. Professional services of the following may be necessary: Attorney, bond counsel, accountant, auditor, appraiser, environmental professionals, and financial advisory or fiscal agent (if desired by applicant). Guidance on entering into an agreement for legal services is available from the Agency.

(3) Bond counsel. Unless otherwise provided by subpart D of this part, public bodies are required to obtain the service of recognized bond counsel in the preparation of evidence of indebtedness.

(4) Contracts for other services. Contracts or other forms of agreements for other services including management, operation, and maintenance will be developed by the applicant and presented to the Agency for review and concurrence. Guidance on entering into a management agreement is available from the Agency.

(c) User estimates. Applicants dependent on users fees for debt payment or operation and maintenance expenses shall base their income and expense forecast on realistic user estimates. For users presently not receiving service, consideration must be given to the following:

(1) An estimated number of maximum users should not be used when setting user fees and rates since it may be several years before all residents will need service by the system. In establishing rates a realistic number of users should be employed.

(2) New user cash contributions. The amount of cash contributions required will be set by the applicant and concurred in by the approval official. Contributions should be an amount high enough to indicate sincere interest on the part of the potential user, but not so high as to preclude service to low income families. Contributions ordinarily should be an amount approximating one year's minimum user fee, and shall be paid in full before loan closing or commencement of construction, whichever occurs first. Once economic feasibility is ascertained based on a demonstration of potential user cash contributions, the contribution, membership fee or other fees that may be imposed are not a loan requirement under this section. A new user cash contribution is not required when:

(i) The Agency determines that the potential users as a whole in the applicant's service area cannot make cash contributions; or

(ii) State statutes or local ordinances require mandatory use of the system and the applicant or legal entity having such authority agrees in writing to enforce such statutes, or ordinances.

(3) An enforceable user agreement with a penalty clause is required (RUS Bulletin 1780-9 can be used) except:

(i) For users presently receiving service; or

(ii) Where mandatory use of the system is required.

(4) Individual vacant property owners will not be considered when determining project feasibility unless:

(i) The owner has plans to develop the property in a reasonable period of time and become a user of the facility; and

(ii) The owner agrees in writing to make a monthly payment at least equal to the proportionate share of debt service attributable to the vacant property until the property is developed and the facility is utilized on a regular basis. A bond or escrowed security deposit must be provided to guarantee this monthly payment and to guarantee an amount at least equal to the owner's proportionate share of construction costs. If a bond is provided, it must be executed by a surety company that appears on the Treasury Department's most current list (Circular 570, as amended) and be authorized to transact business in the State where the project is located. The guarantee shall be payable jointly to the borrower and the United States of America.

(5) Applicants must provide a positive program to encourage connection by all users as soon as service is available. The program will be available for review and concurrence by the processing office before loan closing or commencement of construction, whichever occurs first. Such a program shall include:

(i) An aggressive information program to be carried out during the construction period. The applicant should send written notification to all signed users in advance of the date service will be available, stating the date users will be expected to have their connections completed, and the date user charges will begin;

(ii) Positive steps to assure that installation services will be available. These may be provided by the contractor installing the system, local plumbing companies, or local contractors;

(iii) Aggressive action to see that all signed users can finance their connections.

(d) Interim financing. For all loans exceeding $500,000, where funds can be borrowed at reasonable interest rates on an interim basis from commercial sources for the construction period, such interim financing may be obtained so as to preclude the necessity for multiple advances of RUS loan funds. However, the approval official may make an exception when interim financing is cost prohibitive or unavailable. Guidance on informing the private lender of RUS's commitment is available from the Agency. When interim commercial financing is used, the application will be processed, including obtaining construction bids, to the stage where the RUS loan would normally be closed, that is immediately prior to the start of construction. The RUS loan should be closed as soon as possible after the disbursal of all interim funds.

(e) Reserve requirements. Provision for the accumulation of necessary reserves over a reasonable period of time will be included in the loan documents.

(1) General obligation or special assessment bonds. Ordinarily, the requirements for reserves will be considered to have been met if general obligation or other bonds which pledge the full faith and credit of the political subdivision are used, or special assessment bonds are used, and if such bonds provide for the annual collection of sufficient taxes or assessments to cover debt service.

(2) Other than general obligation or special assessment bonds. Each borrower will be required to establish and maintain reserves sufficient to assure that loan installments will be paid on time, for emergency maintenance, for extensions to facilities, and for replacement of short-lived assets which have a useful life significantly less than the repayment period of the loan. Borrowers issuing bonds or other evidences of debt pledging facility revenues as security will plan their debt reserve to provide for at least one average annual loan installment. The debt reserve will accumulate at the rate of one-tenth of an average annual loan installment each year unless prohibited by state law.

(f) Membership authorization. For organizations other than public bodies, the membership will authorize the project and its financing. Form RD 1942-8, “Resolution of Members or Stockholders,” may be used for this authorization. The approval official may accept RUS Bulletin 1780-28, “Loan Resolution Security Agreement,” without such membership authorization when State statutes and the organization's charter and bylaws do not require such authorization; and

(1) The organization is well established and is operating with a sound financial base; or

(2) The members of the organization have all signed an enforceable user agreement with a penalty clause and have made the required meaningful user cash contribution.

(g) Insurance. The purpose of RUS's insurance requirements is to protect the government's financial interest based on the facility financed with loan funds. It is the responsibility of the applicant and not that of RUS to assure that adequate insurance and fidelity or employee dishonesty bond coverage is maintained. The requirements below apply to all types of coverage determined necessary. The approval official may grant exceptions to normal requirements when appropriate justification is provided establishing that it is in the best interest of the applicant and will not adversely affect the government's interest.

(1) Insurance requirements proposed by the applicant will be accepted if the processing office determines that proposed coverage is adequate to protect the government's financial interest. Applicants are encouraged to have their attorney, consulting engineer, and/or insurance provider(s) review proposed types and amounts of coverage, including any deductible provisions.

(2) The use of deductibles may be allowed by RUS providing the applicant has financial resources which would likely be adequate to cover potential claims requiring payment of the deductible.

(3) Fidelity or employee dishonesty bonds. Applicants will provide coverage for all persons who have access to funds, including persons working under a contract or management agreement. Coverage may be provided either for all individual positions or persons, or through “blanket” coverage providing protection for all appropriate employees. An exception may be granted by the approval official when funds relating to the facility financed are handled by another entity and it is determined that the entity has adequate coverage or the government's interest would otherwise be adequately protected. The amount of coverage required by RUS will normally approximate the total annual debt service requirements for the RUS loans.

(4) Property insurance. Fire and extended coverage will normally be maintained on all structures except as noted below. Ordinarily, RUS should be listed as mortgagee on the policy when RUS has a lien on the property. Normally, major items of equipment or machinery located in the insured structures must also be covered. Exceptions:

(i) Reservoirs, pipelines and other structures if such structures are not normally insured;

(ii) Subsurface lift stations except for the value of electrical and pumping equipment therein.

(5) General liability insurance, including vehicular coverage.

(6) Flood insurance required for facilities located in special flood-and mudslide-prone areas.

(7) Worker's compensation. The borrower will carry worker's compensation insurance for employees in accordance with State laws.

(h) [Reserved]

(i) The processing office will assure that appropriate forms and documents listed in RUS Bulletin 1780-6 are complete. Letters of conditions will not be issued unless funds are available.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 68655, Dec. 11, 1998; 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999]

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§1780.40   [Reserved]

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§1780.41   Loan or grant approval.

(a) The processing office will submit the following to the approval official:

(1) Form RD 1942-45, “Project Summary”;

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

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

(4) Form RD 442-14, “Association Project Fund Analysis”;

(5) “Letter of Conditions”;

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

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

(8) Completed environmental review documents including copies of public notices and appropriate proof of publication, if applicable; and

(9) Grant determination, if applicable.

(b) Approval and applicant notification will be accomplished by mailing to the applicant on the obligation date a copy of Form RD 1940-1. The date the applicant is notified is also the date the interest rate at loan approval is established.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 63 FR 68655, Dec. 11, 1998]

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§1780.42   Transfer of obligations.

An obligation of funds established for an applicant may be transferred to a different (substituted) applicant provided:

(a) The substituted applicant is eligible and has the authority to receive the assistance approved for the original applicant; and

(b) The need, purpose(s) and scope of the project for which RUS funds will be used remain substantially unchanged.

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§1780.43   [Reserved]

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§1780.44   Actions prior to loan or grant closing or start of construction, whichever occurs first.

(a) Applicants must provide evidence of adequate insurance and fidelity or employee dishonesty bond coverage.

(b) Verification of users and other funds. In connection with a project that involves new users and will be secured by a pledge of user fees or revenues, the processing office will authenticate the number of users. Ordinarily each signed user agreement will be reviewed and checked for evidence of cash contributions. If during the review any indication is received that all signed users may not connect to the system, there will be such additional investigation made as deemed necessary to determine the number of users who will connect to the system.

(c) Initial compliance review. An initial compliance review should be completed under subpart E of part 1901 of this title.

(d) Applicant contribution. An applicant contributing funds toward the project cost shall deposit these funds in its project account before start of construction. Project costs paid with applicant funds prior to the required deposit time shall be appropriately accounted for.

(e) Excess RUS loan and grant funds. If there is a significant reduction in project cost, the applicant's funding needs will be reassessed. Decreases in RUS funds will be based on revised project costs and current number of users, however, other factors including RUS regulations used at the time of loan or grant approval will remain the same. Obligated loan or grant funds not needed to complete the proposed project will be deobligated. Any reduction will be applied to grant funds first. In such cases, applicable forms, the letter of conditions, and other items will be revised.

(f) Evidence of and disbursement of other funds. Applicants expecting funds from other sources for use in completing projects being partially financed with RUS funds will present evidence of the commitment of these funds from such other sources. An agreement should be reached with all funding sources on how funds are to be disbursed before the start of construction. RUS funds will not be used to pre-finance funds committed to the project from other sources.

(g) Acquisition of land, easements, water rights, and existing facilities. Applicants are responsible for acquisition of all property rights necessary for the project and will determine that prices paid are reasonable and fair. RUS may require an appraisal by an independent appraiser or Agency employee.

(1) Rights-of-way and easements. Applicants will obtain valid, continuous and adequate rights-of-way and easements needed for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the facility.

(i) The applicant must provide a legal opinion relative to the title to rights-of-way and easements. Form RD 442-22, “Opinion of Counsel Relative to Rights-of-Way,” may be used. When a site is for major structures such as a reservoir or pumping station and the applicant is able to obtain only a right-of-way or easement on such a site rather than a fee simple title, the applicant will furnish a title report thereon by the applicant's attorney showing ownership of the land and all mortgages or other lien defects, restrictions, or encumbrances, if any.

(ii) For user connections funded by RUS, applicants will obtain adequate rights to construct and maintain the connection line or other facilities located on the user's property. This right may be obtained through formal easement or user agreements.

(2) Title for land or existing facilities. Title to land essential to the successful operation of facilities or title to facilities being purchased, must not contain any restrictions that will adversely affect the suitability, successful operation, security value, or transferability of the facility. Preliminary and final title opinions must be provided by the applicant's attorney. The opinions must be in sufficient detail to assess marketability of the property. Form RD 1927-9, “Preliminary Title Opinion,” and Form RD 1927-10, “Final Title Opinion,” may be used to provide the required title opinions.

(i) In lieu of receiving title opinions from the applicant's attorney, the applicant may use a title insurance company. If a title insurance company is used, the applicant must provide the Agency a title insurance binder, disclosing all title defects or restrictions, and include a commitment to issue a title insurance policy. The policy should be in an amount at least equal to the market value of the property as improved. The title insurance binder and commitment should be provided to the Agency prior to requesting closing instructions. The Agency will be provided a title insurance policy which will insure RUS's interest in the property without any title defects or restrictions which have not been waived by the Agency.

(ii) The approval official may waive title defects or restrictions, such as utility easements, that do not adversely affect the suitability, successful operation, security value, or transferability of the facility.

(3) Water rights. The following will be furnished as applicable:

(i) A statement by the applicant's attorney regarding the nature of the water rights owned or to be acquired by the applicant (such as conveyance of title, appropriation and decree, application and permit, public notice and appropriation and use).

(ii) A copy of a contract with another company or municipality to supply water; or stock certificates in another company which represents the right to receive water.

(4) Lease agreements. Where the right of use or control of real property not owned by the applicant is essential to the successful operation of the facility during the life of the loan, such right will be evidenced by written agreements or contracts between the owner of the property and the applicant. Lease agreements shall not contain provisions for restricted use of the site of facility, forfeiture or summary cancellation clauses. Lease agreements shall provide for the right to transfer, encumber, assign and sub-lease without restriction. Lease agreements will ordinarily be written for a term at least equal to the term of the loan. Such lease contracts or agreements will be approved by the approval official with the advice and counsel of OGC, as necessary.

(h) Obtaining loan closing instructions. The information required by OGC will be transmitted to OGC with request for closing instructions. Upon receipt of closing instructions, the processing office will discuss with the applicant and its engineer, attorney, and other appropriate representatives, the requirements contained therein and any actions necessary to proceed with closing. State program officials have the option to work with OGC to obtain waivers for closing instructions in certain cases. Closing instructions are not required for grants.

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§1780.45   Loan and grant closing and delivery of funds.

(a) Loan closing. Notes and bonds will be completed on the date of loan closing except for the entry of subsequent RUS multiple advances where applicable. The amount of each note will be in multiples of not less than $100. The amount of each bond will ordinarily be in multiples of not less than $1,000.

(1) Form RD 440-22, “Promissory Note (Association or Organization),” will ordinarily be used for loans to nonpublic bodies.

(2) RUS Bulletins 1780-27, “Loan Resolution (Public Bodies),” or 1780-28, “Loan Resolution Security Agreement,” will be adopted by public and other-than-public bodies. These resolutions supplement other provisions in this part.

(3) Subpart D of this part contains instructions for preparation of notes and bonds evidencing indebtedness of public bodies.

(b) Loan disbursement. (1) Multiple advances. Multiple advances will be used only for loans in excess of $100,000. Advances will be made only as needed to cover disbursements required by the borrower over a 30-day period.

(i) Subpart D of this part contains instructions for making multiple advances to public bodies.

(ii) Advances will be requested by the borrower in writing. The request should be in sufficient amounts to pay cost of construction, rights-of-way and land, legal, engineering, interest, and other expenses as needed. The borrower may use Form RD 440-11, “Estimate of Funds Needed for 30 Day Period Commencing XXX,” to show the amount of funds needed during the 30-day period.

(2) RUS loan funds obligated for a specific purpose, such as the paying of interest, but not needed at the time of loan closing will remain in the Finance Office until needed unless State statutes require all funds to be delivered to the borrower at the time of closing. Loan funds may be advanced to prepay costs under §1780.9 (e)(2)(iv). If all funds must be delivered to the borrower at the time of closing to comply with State statutes, funds not needed at loan closing will be handled as follows:

(i) Deposited in an appropriate borrower account, such as debt service or construction accounts; or

(ii) Deposited in a joint bank account under paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(c) Grant closing. RUS Bulletin 1780-12 “Water or Waste System Grant Agreement” of this part 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 or approval officials are authorized to sign the grant agreement on behalf of RUS. For grants that supplement RUS loan funds, the grant should be closed simultaneously with the closing of the loan. However, when grant funds will be disbursed before loan closing, as provided in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the grant will be closed not later than the delivery date of the first advance of grant funds.

(d) Grant disbursements. RUS policy is not to disburse grant funds from the Treasury until they are actually needed by the applicant. Applicant funds will be disbursed before the disbursal of any RUS grant funds. RUS loan funds will be disbursed before the disbursal of any RUS grant funds except when:

(1) Interim financing of the total estimated amount of loan funds needed during construction is arranged; and

(2) All interim funds have been disbursed; and

(3) RUS grant funds are needed before the RUS loan can be closed.

(e) Use and accountability of funds. (1) Arrangements will be agreed upon for the prior concurrence by the Agency of the bills or vouchers upon which warrants will be drawn. Form RD 402-2, “Statement of Deposits and Withdrawals,” or similar form will be used by the Agency to monitor funds. Periodic reviews of these accounts shall be made by the Agency.

(2) Pledge of collateral for grants to nonprofit organizations. Grant funds must be deposited in a bank with Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance coverage. Also, if the balance in the account containing grant funds exceeds the FDIC insurance coverage, the excess amount must be collaterally secured. The pledge of collateral for the excess will be in accordance with Treasury Circular 176.

(3) Joint RUS/borrower bank account. RUS funds and any funds furnished by the borrower including contributions to purchase major items of equipment, machinery, and furnishings will be deposited in a joint RUS/borrower bank account if determined necessary by the approval official. When RUS has a Memorandum of Understanding with another agency that provides for the use of joint RUS/borrower accounts, or when RUS is the primary source of funds for a project and has determined that the use of a joint RUS/borrower bank account is necessary, project funds from other sources may also be deposited in the joint bank account. RUS shall not be accountable to the source of the other funds nor shall RUS undertake responsibility to administer the funding program of the other entity. Joint RUS/borrower bank accounts should not be used for funds advanced by an interim lender. When funds exceeds the FDIC insurance coverage, the excess must have a pledge of collateral in accordance with Treasury Circular 176.

(4) Payment for project costs. Project costs will be monitored by the RUS processing office. Invoices will be approved by the borrower and their engineer, as appropriate, and submitted to the processing office for concurrence. The review and acceptance of project costs, including construction pay estimates, by RUS 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.

(f) 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. 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 loan or grant purposes, provided the use will not result in major changes to the facility(s) and the purpose of the loan and grant remains the same;

(2) RUS loan funds that are not needed will be applied as an extra payment on the RUS indebtedness unless other disposition is required by the bond ordinance, resolution, or State statute; and

(3) Grant funds not expended under paragraph (f)(1) of this section will be canceled. Prior to the actual cancellation, the borrower, its attorney and its engineer will be notified of RUS's intent to cancel the remaining funds. The applicant will be given appropriate appeal rights.

(g) Post review of loan closing. In order to determine that the loan has been properly closed the loan docket will be reviewed by OGC. The State program official has the option to consult with OGC to obtain waivers of this review.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999]

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§1780.46   [Reserved]

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§1780.47   Borrower accounting methods, management reporting and audits.

(a) Borrowers are required to provide RUS an annual audit or financial statements.

(b) Method of accounting and preparation of financial statements. Annual organization-wide financial statements must be prepared on the accrual basis of accounting, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), unless State statutes or regulatory agencies provide otherwise, or an exception is granted by the Agency. An organization may maintain its accounting records on a basis other than accrual accounting, and make the necessary adjustments so that annual financial statements are presented on the accrual basis.

(c) Record retention. Each borrower shall retain all records, books, and supporting material for 3 years after the issuance of the audit or management reports. Upon request, this material will be made available to RUS, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Comptroller General, or to their assignees.

(d) Audits. All audits are to be performed in accordance with the latest revision of the generally accepted government auditing standards (GAGAS), issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. In addition, the audits are also to be performed in accordance with subpart F of 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 400. The type of audit each borrower is required to submit will be designated by RUS. Further guidance on preparing an acceptable audit can be obtained from RUS. It is not intended that audits required by this part be separate and apart from audits performed in accordance with State and local laws. To the extent feasible, the audit work should be done in conjunction with those audits. Audits must be performed annually except as allowed under the provisions for biennial audits provided in subpart F of 2 CFR part 200. Audits are to be submitted to the processing office as soon as possible after receipt of the auditor's report but no later than nine months after the end of the audit period

(e) Borrowers exempt from audits. All borrowers who are exempt from audits, will, within 60 days following the end of each fiscal year, furnish the RUS with annual financial statements, consisting of a verification of the organization's balance sheet and statement of income and expense by an appropriate official of the organization. Forms RD 442-2, “Statement of Budget, Income and Equity,” and 442-3 may be used.

(f) Management reports. These reports will furnish management with a means of evaluating prior decisions and serve as a basis for planning future operations and financial strategies. In those cases where revenues from multiple sources are pledged as security for an RUS loan, two reports will be required; one for the project being financed by RUS and one combining the entire operation of the borrower. In those cases where RUS loans are secured by general obligation bonds or assessments and the borrower combines revenues from all sources, one management report combining all such revenues is acceptable. The following management data will be submitted by the borrower to the processing office. These reports at a minimum will include a balance sheet and income and expense statement.

(1) Quarterly reports. A quarterly management report will be required for the first year for new borrowers and for all borrowers experiencing financial or management problems for one year from the date problems were noted. If the borrower's account is current at the end of the year, the processing office may waive the required reports.

(2) Annual management reports. Prior to the beginning of each fiscal year the following will be submitted to the processing office. (If Form RD 442-2 is used as the annual management report, enter data in column three only of Schedule 1, and complete all of Schedule 2.)

(i) Two copies of the management reports and proposed “Annual Budget”.

(ii) Financial information may be reported on Form RD 442-2 which includes Schedule 1, “Statement of Budget, Income and Equity” and Schedule 2, “Projected Cash Flow” or information in similar format.

(iii) A copy of the rate schedule in effect at the time of submission.

(g) Substitute for management reports. When RUS loans are secured by the general obligation of the public body or tax assessments which total 100 percent of the debt service requirements, the State program official may authorize an annual audit to substitute for other management reports if the audit is received within nine months after the end of the audit period.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 79 FR 76006, Dec. 19, 2014]

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§1780.48   Regional commission grants.

Grants are sometimes made by regional commissions for projects eligible for RUS assistance. RUS has agreed to administer such funds in a manner similar to administering RUS assistance.

(a) When RUS has funds in the project, no charge will be made for administering regional commission funds.

(b) When RUS has no loan or grant funds in the project, an administrative charge will be made pursuant to the Economy Act of 1932 (31 U.C.S. 1535). A fee of 5 percent of the first $100,000 of a regional commission grant and 1 percent of any amount over $100,000 will be paid to RUS by the commission.

(1) Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). RUS Bulletin 1780-23 will be followed in determining the responsibilities of RUS. The ARC Federal Co-chairman and the State program official will provide each other with the necessary notification and certification.

(2) Other regional commissions. Title V of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3121 et seq.) authorizes other commissions similar to ARC. RUS Bulletin 1780-23 will be used to develop a separate project management agreement between RUS and the commission for each project. The agreement should be prepared by the State program official as soon as notification is received that a commission grant will be made and the amount is confirmed.

(c) Regional commission grants should be obligated as soon as possible in accordance with §1780.41, except that the announcement procedure referred to in RUS Staff Instruction 1780-2 is not applicable. Regional commission grants will be disbursed from the Finance Office in the same manner as RUS funds.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999]

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§§1780.49-1780.52   [Reserved]

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