Montana Community

Administering a Grant


Local governments are responsible for carryout of project activities commensurate with the project application and complying with all applicable state, federal, and local requirements. Montana Department of Commerce (MDOC) is committed to working closely with grantees and their partners to complete CDBG-assisted projects that successfully meet local needs and comply with program requirements. 

Certain federal regulations and policies govern the use of CDBG funds, and CDBG-assisted projects must also comply with state law and local ordinances and policies. CDBG staff will provide technical assistance throughout the course of a project to help grantees identify, understand, and fulfill CDBG requirements applicable to their project.

In addition to CDBG staff, MDOC publications such as the Planning Grant Guidelines and Toolkit are available to help grant administrators document every step of the project. Should you have questions, please contact Planning Bureau Staff at 841-2770.

All procedures and requirements that the award recipient must comply with will be set forth in the grantee's contract with the Montana Department of Commerce (Commerce). The provisions below for administrative procedures and requirements can be in the CDBG Planning Grant Guidelines.

 

 Startup Requirements/HTML

Upon signing of the Commerce contract, grant recipients must provide documentation of liability and workers compensation insurance coverage. Specific insurance requirements are outlined in Sections 19 and 24 of the contract. The Montana Department of Commerce must be listed as an additional insured.

Additionally, a Signature Certification and Designation of Deposit form must be completed upon signing of the contract.  These forms are located on the Commonly Used Forms page.  

 Procurement/HTML

All State of Montana and Commerce requirements concerning procurement of professional services will apply. Additionally, HUD procurement requirements will apply when the total cost for a planning project exceeds $100,000. 

To be eligible for reimbursement, professional architectural or engineering services must be procured in compliance with Section 18-8-201, MCA. The local government will be required to submit evidence showing the procurement process was followed and provide documentation of the review and selection process, prior to requesting reimbursement. In order to ensure that expenditures will be eligible for reimbursement, please contact a Planning Bureau staff member directly for guidance before procuring professional services or incurring any costs for which the local government may later request reimbursement.

For procurement of planners, grant writers and consultants, CDBG recommends using the formal RFP process to increase the community's ability to hire the best qualified consultant. A planning RFP should be concise, contain all the important information needed for firms to respond in a factual manner, and indicate the services the consultant would be expected to provide. It also should include information regarding the timeframe, factors that will be used to evaluate the responses, and a contact person. At a minimum, local governments are required to conduct limited solicitation in the procurement of planning services, and will be asked to provide documentation that a minimum of three (3) qualified firms were contacted in writing or via phone and provided formal quotes for consideration. The local government will be required to submit evidence that the limited solicitation process was followed and documentation of the review and selection process. Any representative hired by a local government to conduct the RFP solicitation or procurement process cannot be subsequently hired by the local government to perform the planning services. 

Procurement of professional services may occur at any point - including prior to the preparation of a CDBG planning grant application. If a local government hires a professional architect, engineer, planner, grant writer or other consultant to complete work in relation to a CDBG planning grant activity, the procurement processes described above will apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact Planning Bureau staff to discuss procurement in advance of an application, to ensure all applicable administrative procedures have been met. If a professional has been hired and identified in the CDBG application, the applicant must provide documentation that all applicable procurement processes have been followed in securing the professional identified for the planning work to be completed, prior to an aware being made.

Documentation that the following CDBG requirements have been met will apply to all CDBG planning grant recipients when procuring for professional services:

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Requirements

Outreach to qualified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Women-owned Business Enterprise and Minority-owned Business Enterprise (all referred to as DBE) firms should be completed each time a procurement action is undertaken. For most projects this means copying DBE firms at the time of issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire an engineer, architect or planner. 

A list of Montana Disadvantaged Business Enterprises created by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program may be found by call MDT at 406-444-6337 or downloaded from their website: mdt.mt.gov/business/contracting/civil/dbe.shtml.

The primary objective of this requirement is that grantees and any sub-grantees take all necessary affirmative steps to ensure that DBEs in labor surplus areas are used when possible in the procurement of goods and services for CDBG funded activities.

Section 3 Requirements

The Section 3 Notice should be published each time a major procurement action is undertaken on a planning project. For most projects this would mean publishing the first Section 3 Notice at the time of issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to hire an engineer or architect. This notice must be published in order to inform the community of employment and business opportunities and to demonstrate compliance with Section 3 requirements. Section 3 requires that to the greatest extent feasible:

  • Opportunities for training and employment must be given to lower-income residents of CDBG-assisted projects; and
  • Contracts for work in connection with such projects should be awarded to business concerns located in, or owned in substantial part by "project area" residents.

A sample Section 3 Notice form and a sample Letter of Work Notification to DBE firms for CDBG grant recipients are located on the Commonly Used Forms page. Section 3 and DBE activities must be reported to Planning Bureau staff prior to CDBG planning grant funds being disbursed.

Professional Services Agreements and Supplemental Conditions

Commerce provides guidance to grantees on the preparation of RFPs for planning, architectural and engineering services. Once the procurement process is complete and a consultant is hired, grantees may use the sample Professional Services Agreement which includes the standard agreement language used in such contracts and the clauses required for CDBG-funded grant contracts. It is the grantee's responsibility to include provisions related to all applicable CDBG requirements in any contract or agreement through which CDBG funds are passed on to a contractor or subcontractor. The CDBG Supplemental Conditions to Contracts must be included in contracts for professional services, even if a contractor prefers to use their existing contract format.

A sample RFP for solicitation, Professional Services Agreement and sample Supplemental Conditions to Contracts may all be found on the Commonly Used Forms page.

 

 Reimbursement/HTML

CDBG Planning Grant recipients must execute a contract with Commerce before any funds are reimbursed. Payment for approved expenses under the grant contract are on a reimbursement basis only. Commerce will typically disburse 50% of the planning grant award upon request for payment accompanied by proper documentation and submittal of draft project deliverables, when applicable. To request payment from the Department, grantees must submit a Request for Funds Form with supporting documentation. All documentation and requests for reimbursement must be received by the department within 60 days of termination of the grant contract.

 Reporting/HTML

Grantees will be required to submit progress and expenditure reports in accordance with the requirements of the grant contract. Commerce reserves the right to perform site inspection(s) in order to monitor the Grantee’s compliance with the terms of grant contract, including but not limited to verification of planning services performed and monitoring of CDBG grant funds.

Applications that are funded are subject to disclosure, in response to requests received under provisions of the Montana Constitution (Art. II, §9). Information that could reasonably be considered to be proprietary, privileged, or confidential in nature should be identified as such in the application. The Applicant must certify on the application that the proposed planning project complies with all state, federal, and local laws, ordinances, and regulations, including any necessary environmental review and procurement requirements.

Grantees will be contractually required to allow Commerce access to any facility or site associated with the planning project, and the ability to obtain, publish, disseminate, or distribute any and all information obtained from the planning project (except any data or information identified as confidential or proprietary), without restriction and without payment or compensation by Commerce.

 Completion/HTML

The grant term will begin upon execution of the grant contract and will end one (1) year after the date of the Award Letter, or upon final reimbursement for costs and close-out of the planning project by Commerce, whichever is sooner. No requests for payment may be submitted for any costs or expenses obligated by the district for reimbursement after termination of the grant contract. All planning projects for which a CDBG Planning Grant has been awarded must be completed within twelve (12) months of the date of Award Letter issued to the applicant from Commerce. The Department, in its sole discretion, may grant an extension to this deadline if the planning project is near completion but will not be fully completed by the deadline, and the grant recipient can demonstrate a good faith effort to complete the project on time and within the original budget. If no Project Completion Report form is submitted, the grant will be considered closed-out 90 days following expiration of the grant term.

At Commerce's sole discretion, the grantee will be required to and agrees it shall return to Commerce any and all funds that are determined by Commerce to have been spent in violation of the terms and conditions of the grant contract. In the event that expenses for a CDBG Planning Grant projects are less than the projected costs and grant award, Commerce may, in its sole discretion, authorize additional related planning efforts for the same facility to enhance the overall project or reduce the grant award accordingly.


COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION | MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
301 S PARK AVENUE | PO BOX 200523 | HELENA, MT 59620-0523 | P: (406) 841-2770 | F: (406) 841-2771 | TDD: (406) 841-2702