Chapter 11. Assistance To Small Rural Communities of California Health And Safety Code >> Division 5. >> Part 3. >> Chapter 11.

Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions in this section govern the construction of this chapter.
  (a) "Community facility" means a public or mutual water system, or publicly operated waste water system.
  (b) "Department" means the Department of Housing and Community Development.
  (c) "Eligible grantee" means a local governmental entity or a private nonprofit organization which has demonstrated capacity to provide technical assistance on all subjects specified in subdivision (g).
  (d) "Low-income community" means a community in which the median income of the persons in the community, area, or city is less than 70 percent of the median income in the state.
  (e) "Rural community" means any community, area, or city with less than 5,000 population.
  (f) "Seed money" means funds granted by the department pursuant to the provisions of this chapter for project organization and development, test wells, preliminary engineering, professional fees, and other costs which are necessary to get a project approved for financing from local, state, or federal sources.
  (g) "Technical assistance" means assistance and advice on all of the following subjects:
  (1) Organization, including formation, financing, and operation, of public and private nonprofit service entities.
  (2) Community responsibilities, including the conduct of meetings, maintenance of minutes of meetings, preparation and analysis of budgets, keeping of fiscal records, and supervision of staff.
  (3) Operation and maintenance, including schedules and techniques pertaining to all parts of a facility, and maintenance control systems and maintenance recordkeeping to assure adequate maintenance, including schedules and techniques pertaining to all parts of a facility, and maintenance control systems and maintenance recordkeeping to assure adequate maintenance is performed on a facility.
  (4) Project development, including, but not limited to:
  (A) The preparation of plans for needed expansion, creation of services, and schedules for expected major repairs or replacement needs.
  (B) Negotiation of contracts for professional services.
  (C) An examination of various funding alternatives, and packaging applications for assistance.
  (D) Review of engineering plans and specifications for development projects.
  (E) Compliance with appropriate regulations relative to funding agencies.
  (5) Financial assistance available from the department in seed money grants pursuant to this chapter.
The Legislature finds and declares that small rural communities are unable to take advantage of various local, state, and federal facility development programs due to their lack of technical expertise, staff, and seed money. The Legislature finds and declares that changing state and federal regulations relative to the provision of domestic water and waste water disposal are creating an extra hardship upon rural areas. The Legislature further finds and declares that the provisions of this chapter are necessary in order to provide assistance to rural areas so that they may take advantage of existing programs and develop self-help expertise enabling them to assist themselves in the future.
The department shall establish a Rural Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program, under which, subject to the availability of funds therefor, contracts shall be made by the department with public entities and nonprofit corporations for the provision of technical assistance to rural and low-income communities in the operation, maintenance, and development of community facilities.
The program shall be administered by the Director of Housing and Community Development.
The program shall be for the purpose of helping rural and low-income communities to take advantage of various local, state, and federal financing programs to develop community facilities, ensuring that these facilities are developed and operated in such a manner that the facilities or services last for a normal period of time, as determined by the department, and ensuring that, wherever possible, reasonable user rates are charged for use of the facilities. The department shall provide in the administration of the program that funds pursuant to this program shall, to the greatest extent practicable, be used with the greatest amount of matching nonprogram funds.
The Rural Community Facility Grant Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. The fund is continuously appropriated, without regard to fiscal years, notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, to the department for expenditure for the purpose of making grants pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and to pay the costs incurred by the department in administering the grant program.
The department shall grant funds by contract with eligible grantees under the following conditions:
  (a) That grantees shall have the ability to provide all aspects of technical assistance on at least a countywide basis.
  (b) That grantees shall use no more than 80 percent of those funds for staff and administrative costs connected with the provision of that technical assistance.
  (c) That each community designated by a grantee to receive seed money shall be reviewed and certified by the department as eligible for those funds.
  (d) That any community designated to receive seed money shall also receive technical assistance.
  (e) That no community shall receive seed money which is greater than the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars ($7,500) or two hundred dollars ($200) per family in such community, whichever is less.
  (f) The department and the grantee shall place seed money funds in a joint savings account which requires both the department and grantee to give authorization prior to the withdrawal of those funds.
The department shall develop and adopt rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this chapter.