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The Florida Senate

2023 Florida Statutes (including 2023C)

F.S. 288.018
288.018 Regional Rural Development Grants Program.
(1)(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “regional economic development organization” means an economic development organization located in or contracted to serve a rural area of opportunity, as defined in s. 288.0656(2)(d).
(b) The department shall establish a matching grant program to provide funding to regional economic development organizations for the purpose of building the professional capacity of those organizations. Building the professional capacity of a regional economic development organization includes hiring professional staff to develop, deliver, and provide needed economic development professional services, including technical assistance, education and leadership development, marketing, and project recruitment. Matching grants may also be used by a regional economic development organization to provide technical assistance to local governments, local economic development organizations, and existing and prospective businesses.
(c) A regional economic development organization may apply annually to the department for a matching grant. The department is authorized to approve, on an annual basis, grants to such regional economic development organizations. The maximum amount an organization may receive in any year will be $50,000, or $250,000 for any three regional economic development organizations that serve an entire region of a rural area of opportunity designated pursuant to s. 288.0656(7) if they are recognized by the department as serving such a region.
(d) Grant funds received by a regional economic development organization must be matched each year by nonstate resources in an amount equal to 25 percent of the state contribution.
(2) In approving the participants, the department shall consider the demonstrated need of the applicant for assistance and require the following:
(a) Documentation of official commitments of support from each of the units of local government represented by the regional organization.
(b) Demonstration that each unit of local government has made a financial or in-kind commitment to the regional organization.
(c) Demonstration that the private sector has made financial or in-kind commitments to the regional organization.
(d) Demonstration that the organization is in existence and actively involved in economic development activities serving the region.
(e) Demonstration of the manner in which the organization is or will coordinate its efforts with those of other local and state organizations.
(3)(a) A contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section, including a contract or agreement entered into between another entity and a regional economic development organization, a unit of local government, or an economic development organization substantially underwritten by a unit of local government, must include:
1. The purpose of the contract or agreement.
2. Specific performance standards and responsibilities for each entity under the contract or agreement.
3. A detailed project or contract budget, if applicable.
4. The value of any services provided.
5. The projected travel expenses for employees and board members, if applicable.
(b) At least 14 days before executing a contract or agreement, the contracting regional economic development organization shall post on its website:
1. Any contract or agreement that involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
2. A plain language version of any contract or agreement that is estimated to exceed $35,000 with a private entity, a municipality, or a vendor of services, supplies, or programs, including marketing, or for the purchase or lease or use of lands, facilities, or properties which involves the expenditure of grant funds provided under this section.
(4) The department may expend up to $750,000 each fiscal year from funds appropriated to the Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund for the purposes outlined in this section.
History.s. 32, ch. 96-320; s. 94, ch. 99-251; s. 9, ch. 2001-201; s. 15, ch. 2010-147; s. 132, ch. 2011-142; s. 30, ch. 2014-218; s. 2, ch. 2020-30; s. 36, ch. 2023-173.