ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Montana’s CDBG Economic Development program is designed to stimulate economic development activity by assisting Montana’s private sector to create or retain jobs for low- to moderate-income Montanans, specifically, this includes individuals earning less than 80% of the area median income.

The program can assist businesses by awarding grants to local governments and making fixed-rate financing available to those businesses at low interest rates. In addition, the program can offer payment deferrals, lower first-year payments, and interest-only payments. 

Businesses work with local governments to apply to the program, and the local government then loans to an eligible business or grants to a non-profit.  CDBG-ED funds are intended to be used in situations where a funding gap exists, and alternative sources of public and private financing are not adequate.

The focus of the program is to support the creation or retention of full-time permanent jobs for Montanans. Loan amounts are based on the number of employees a business will retain or the number of new positions to be created. Loan terms are determined according to the use of funds and the businesses financial position. The business must ensure that at least 51% of the jobs are made available to, or held by, individuals earning less than 80% of the area median income.

Eligible Projects

Job Creation/Retention: The CDBG-ED Program is designed to stimulate economic development activity by assisting the private sector to create or retain jobs for low and moderate-income persons primarily through loans to businesses. The program is designed to assist businesses by making fixed-rate financing available to them at reasonable interest rates, given the risk of the project, and to provide public improvements in support of economic development activities.

Customized Employee Training: Employee training is a stand-alone project activity for new and expanding businesses creating additional jobs. The intent is to assist businesses in providing needed skills and better paying jobs for their workers. 

Public Service: Funds may be distributed to qualified community colleges that provide job training targeted to developing specific employee skills needed by an aggregate of companies.

EDA: MDOC has a separate pool of funds originating from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The CDBG-EDA Program is designed to stimulate economic development activity by assisting the private sector to create or retain jobs for low and moderate-income persons primarily through loans to businesses. The program rules and regulations are based on the CDBG-ED program with a few minor changes. 


Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are limited to counties, incorporated cities and towns, and consolidated city-county governments except Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula. The local government must apply on behalf of the business needing the funds. Local governments typically partner with a Certified Regional Development Corporation (CDRD) to prepare an application, complete the project, document compliance with CDBG requirements, track the jobs created or retained, and administer the loan.

 

Economic Development CDBG applications are accepted on an open-cycle basis. To apply for any of the funding approved through the competitive ranking process, eligible applicants must submit an application containing the material required in the current CDBG-ED Application Guidelines.

Commerce staff will review CDBG-ED applications for technical and financial feasibility, the extent to which the proposed project relates to each of the ranking criteria, and conformance to federal and State CDBG requirements. Individual awards will be awarded in proportion to the number of jobs that will be created or retained. The actual number of awards will be subject to funding.

Successful applicants must comply with all applicable parts of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §5301, et seq.; the applicable Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations, including, but not limited to 24 CFR Part 570 and Form HUD-4010; all administrative directives and procedures established by the Department, including the most recent version of the Grant Administration Manual; and all other applicable local, state, and federal laws, regulations, administrative directives, procedures, ordinances, or resolutions. Projects must be completed in accordance with the applicable local, state, and federal laws.


Application Process

The application guidelines are formally adopted through the State of Montana Administrative Rulemaking process during which the public has an opportunity to comment on draft guidelines. Public comments will be considered before the final version is adopted.

The final CDBG-ED Application Guidelines consist of ranking criteria with specific questions requiring narrative responses and identify supporting documents that will improve the strength of the application. In order to avoid unnecessary duplication, the applicant can reference other pertinent portions of the application or appendices in the narrative responses to the criteria. However, the applicant should not reference another portion of the application, such as a Preliminary Engineering Report, without including a narrative statement that provides at least a summary of what is being referenced.

Each application will be evaluated according to each CDBG-ED ranking criteria and will receive points depending upon its overall response to each criterion, relative to local capacity and resources and in comparison with other applications submitted. Failure to respond to a criterion or to comply with a pertinent and important application requirement may result in no points being awarded for that criterion. For ease of reference, any documentation or exhibits related to the applicant’s response to a CDBG-ED ranking criterion should be placed in the application immediately following the applicant’s narrative response to that criterion.

One hard copy and one electronic copy (either on compact disc or submitted through the State of Montana File Transfer Service at DOCCDDFTS@mt.gov [as State Group]) of  the CDBG-ED application and one copy of the Preliminary Engineering Report or Preliminary Architectural Report (as applicable) must be postmarked or delivered to the Department of Commerce, 301 S Park, Helena MT 59620 on or before the quarterly application due date. Electronic copies of CDBG-ED applications on portable USB drives will not be accepted.

Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified once the final funding decisions are made. All applicants will have the opportunity to meet with CDBG staff and discuss their application’s success and opportunities for improvement. These meetings are intended to help unsuccessful applicants identify areas of improvement for future CDBG-ED applications.


Application Forms

The Economic Development Grant Application Guidelines are available below. Please contact the program if you have any questions or need additional information.

NOTE:  One hard copy and one electronic copy (either on compact disc or submitted through the State of Montana File Transfer Service) of the application must be postmarked (or delivered to the Department of Commerce, 301 South Park Ave, Helena MT) by the application due date. Electronic copies submitted on portable USB drives are discouraged.

Clarification on CDBG Application Eligibility (January 2019): Each eligible local government jurisdiction may apply once per application cycle for each of the categories of CDBG grants as long as the applicant does not have an open CDBG project that was awarded more than four (4) years ago. Community Facilities and Public Facilities are considered one grant funding category. The categories of CDBG grant are 1. Community and Public Facilities, 2. Affordable Housing Development, 3. Economic Development, and 4. Planning. If an applicant has an open CDBG project category, that has been awarded in the past four (4) years, that is not substantially complete, a new project application is ineligible. If an applicant has an open CDBG project in a CDBG project category, that has been awarded in the past four (4) years, that is substantially complete, a new project application is eligible.


2014 CDBG-ED Application Guidelines:

Application Guidelines (PDF)

Appendix A: Application Form (Excel)

Appendix B: Local Development Organization and Business Application Certification (Word)

Appendix C: Certifications for Application - Acceptance of CDBG-ED requirements (PDF)

Appendix D: State Objectives (PDF)

Appendix E: Full Environmental Checklist (Word)

Appendix E-A: Environmental Review Site Specific Checklist (Word)

Appendix F: LMI for Montana Counties (PDF)

Appendix H: Resolution to Authorize Application (Word)

Appendix I: Sample Formats for Public Hearings (Word)

Appendix J: Revolving Loan Fund Plan (Word)

Appendix K: Procurement Policy (PDF)

Appendix L1: Subrecipient Agreement for an RLF Project (Word)

Appendix L2: Subrecipient Agreement for a non-RLF Project (Word)

Appendix M1: Sample Management Plan for Local Government Management (Word)

Appendix M2: Sample Management Plan for local management by third party non-profit (Word)

Appendix M3: Sample Management Plan for grant management by third party non-profit (Word)

Appendix N1: Sources and Uses Form (PDF)

Appendix N2: Balance Sheet (Excel)

Appendix O1: Hiring and Training Plan (Word)

Appendix O2: Customized Training Plan (Word)

Appendix P: Project Implementation Schedule (Word)

Appendix Q: Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement (PDF)

Appendix R: Sample Interlocal Agreement (Word)

Appendix S: Calculation of Benefit (LMI) (Word)

Appendix T: Sample Business Plan (PDF)

Appendix U1: Customized Training Assistance Agreement (Word)

Appendix U2: Infrastructure of Non-Profit Grant Assistance Agreement (Word)

Appendix V: Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) outline (PDF)

Appendix W: Preliminary Architectural Report (PAR) outline (PDF)

Local governments are responsible for carrying out 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-ED assisted projects that successfully meet local needs and complies with program requirements.

Certain federal regulations and policies govern the use of CDBG-ED funds, and CDBG-ED assisted projects must also comply with state law and local ordinances and policies. No two projects are exactly alike and staff will provide technical assistance throughout the course of a project to help grantees identify, understand, and fulfill requirements applicable to your project. Staff are equipped with the knowledge, resources, and experience to effectively navigate CDBG-ED grant administration requirements and help you successfully complete your project.

In addition to CDBG staff, MDOC publications such as the Grant Administration Manual and Toolkit are available to help grant administrators document every step of the project. The Grant Administration Manual helps grant administrators understand the various state and federal requirements with which CDBG-ED assisted projects must comply. The Manual is designed to walk grant administrators through each step in the life of a project, from notice of grant award to final closeout, and it organization mirrors the lifecycle of most projects. The Toolkit is a compilation of required forms and processes, suggestions, and best practices we have developed over the last 25 years of the State CDBG Program.

Project Lifespan and Deadlines

Funded economic development projects must be completed with two (2) years of the formal notice of award. For example, an economic development project awarded July 1, 2016 must be completed by July 1, 2018. Each project is expected to produce the documentation necessary to execute a contract with the Department within three (3) months of the formal notice of award. Once the contract is executed, each project is expected to submit a Request for Reimbursement once every six (6) months and provide accomplishment data pertaining to number of jobs created or retained every quarter.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (Word)

Employment Tracking Spreadsheet (Excel)

Draw Request Form (Excel)

Project Progress Report (Word)

Signature Certification Form (Word)

Designation of Depository (Word)

Uniform Status of Funds (Excel)

Uniform Invoice Tracking (Excel)

Hiring and Training Plan (Word)

Please use this Toolkit page to find information regarding common topics and assistance discussed with grantees. If you have questions regarding the CDBG Program that are not addressed here, please contact the CDBG Staff.


Anti-Pirating Certification (Word)

Customized Training Plan (Word)

Employment Tracking Workbook (Excel)

Hiring and Training Plan (Word)

Income Certification (Word)

Revolving Loan Fund Plan (Word)

Sample Business Plan (Word)

Training Agreement (Word)