Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 936
       By Senator Montford
       3-00814A-17                                            2017936__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to regional rural development grants;
    3         amending s. 288.018, F.S.; revising the purpose of the
    4         Regional Rural Development Grants Program; revising
    5         the entities an economic development organization may
    6         assist with a grant; providing a maximum amount for
    7         grants received by specified economic development
    8         organizations; deleting a provision authorizing the
    9         Department of Economic Opportunity to contract for the
   10         development of certain enterprise zone web portals or
   11         websites; increasing the maximum amount the department
   12         may expend from funds appropriated to the Rural
   13         Community Development Revolving Loan Fund for certain
   14         expenses; providing an effective date.
   16  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   18         Section 1. Subsections (1), (3), and (4) of section
   19  288.018, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   20         288.018 Regional Rural Development Grants Program.—
   21         (1) The department shall establish a matching grant program
   22  to provide funding to regionally based economic development
   23  organizations representing rural counties and communities for
   24  the purpose of building the professional capacity of the
   25  regional economic development their organizations. Building the
   26  professional capacity of these organizations shall include the
   27  hiring and compensating of professional staff to develop,
   28  directly provide, or facilitate the delivery of necessary
   29  economic development services, including technical assistance,
   30  education and leadership development, marketing and project
   31  recruitment, and other professional services deemed important
   32  for rural economic development. Such matching grants may also be
   33  used by an economic development organization to provide
   34  technical assistance to local governments, local economic
   35  development organizations, and existing and prospective
   36  businesses within the rural counties and communities that it
   37  serves. The department is authorized to approve, on an annual
   38  basis, grants to such regionally based economic development
   39  organizations. The maximum amount an organization may receive in
   40  any year is will be $50,000, or $250,000 for each of the three
   41  regional economic development organizations serving the rural
   42  areas of opportunity as defined by executive order of the
   43  Governor. The three organizations include the North Florida
   44  Economic Development Partnership, Opportunity Florida, and
   45  Floridas Heartland $150,000 in a rural area of opportunity
   46  recommended by the Rural Economic Development Initiative, Inc
   47  and designated by the Governor, and must be matched each year by
   48  an equivalent amount of nonstate resources.
   49         (3)The department may also contract for the development of
   50  an enterprise zone web portal or websites for each enterprise
   51  zone which will be used to market the program for job creation
   52  in disadvantaged urban and rural enterprise zones. Each
   53  enterprise zone web page should include downloadable links to
   54  state forms and information, as well as local message boards
   55  that help businesses and residents receive information
   56  concerning zone boundaries, job openings, zone programs, and
   57  neighborhood improvement activities.
   58         (3)(4) The department may expend up to $1 million $750,000
   59  each fiscal year from funds appropriated to the Rural Community
   60  Development Revolving Loan Fund for the purposes outlined in
   61  this section. The department may contract with Enterprise
   62  Florida, Inc., for the administration of the purposes specified
   63  in this section. Funds released to Enterprise Florida, Inc., for
   64  this purpose shall be released quarterly and shall be calculated
   65  based on the applications in process.
   66         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.