Chapter 413-3 BUSINESS GROWTH FUND
This regulation governs the operation of the OneGeorgia Business Growth Fund Program as established by the OneGeorgia Authority (O.C.G.A. § 50-34-1). The OneGeorgia Authority authorizes the Department of Community Affairs (herein after referred to as "agent") as the implementing entity for purposes of the Business Growth Fund Program's operation and administration.
The definitions for purposes of this regulation are identical in all respects to the terms defined in O.C.G.A. § 50-34et seq.
Business Enterprise: A business engaged in manufacturing, producing, processing, assembling, repairing, extracting, warehousing, handling, or distributing any agricultural, manufactured, mining, or industrial product or any combination of the foregoing; a business engaged in furnishing or facilitating communications, computer services, research, or transportation; a business engaged in tourism; a business engaged in commercial or retail sales or service; a business engaged in construction; and corporate and management offices and services provided in connection with any of the foregoing, in isolation or in any combination that involves, in each case, either the creation of new or additional employment, the retention of existing employment or payroll, or the increase of average payroll for employees of such enterprise.
Project: Project generally describes a situation where:
|a)||a business enterprise is considering or planning an expansion of employment;|
|b)||a business enterprise is considering or planning to modernize or enhance their equipment or processes in order to increase the competitiveness of the business enterprise or to enhance the average payroll for employees of such enterprise, or|
|c)||an individual, group of individuals, or consortium of business enterprises seeks to form a new business venture, has raised significant private investment and has thoroughly explored other public and private financing options.|
Time-Sensitive: Time-sensitive generally describes a situation where:
|a)||the applicant can demonstrate the project requires financial assistance in a time-frame not provided for in the OneGeorgia Equity Fund competition cycle (see Equity Fund Rules at 413-1), or|
|b)||the project involves intensive communication with the business enterprise for the purposes of financial analysis or underwriting, as deemed necessary by the Authority, and thus does not lend itself to the competition cycle provided by the Equity Fund cycle (see Equity Fund Rules at 413-1).|
The purpose of the OneGeorgia Business Growth Fund Program is to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants that are attempting to facilitate a time-sensitive project with an existing business or new business venture where other local, state, and federal financing sources are not available and, where the Business Growth Fund is sought to promote the health, welfare, safety and economic security of the citizens of the state through the development and/or retention of employment opportunities.
Eligible applicants and recipients of grant or loan funds awarded under this program shall include, but are not limited to, general-purpose local governments (municipalities and counties), local government authorities, joint or multicounty development authorities, or any combination of the above. All local government units that are party to an application must be in compliance, where applicable, with the requirements regarding
* comprehensive planning (O.C.G.A. § 50-8-1et seq.),
* report of local government finances (O.C.G.A. § 36-81-8(b)),
* local service delivery strategies (O.C.G.A. § 36-70-1et seq.), and
* local government authorities registration (O.C.G.A. § 36-80-16et seq.).
|1.||Grant and loan funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Authority will be made available to eligible applicants for eligible projects when the applicant demonstrates a time-sensitive business need and meets the criteria established by the Authority.|
|2.||The Authority will establish and announce funding availability. Applications will be accepted throughout the fiscal year and will be reviewed based upon the criteria provided in Rule 413-3-.07.|
|3.|| Eligible applicants must apply for
assistance under this program in a format and manner described by the
OneGeorgia Authority. Application guidelines may be obtained from the
1202-B Hillcrest Parkway
Dublin, Georgia 31021
|4.||The application manual provided will include information outlining program requirements, forms, mailing addresses, telephone numbers of contact persons and other necessary and pertinent information.|
Eligible uses of funds provided under the Business Growth Fund include those activities and the provision of facilities and services as described in O.C.G.A. § 50-34-1et seq.
Eligible uses of funds for this category shall include, but are not limited to:
|1.|| Public Land and
Building Acquisition, Site Development, Construction, Improvement or
Public Infrastructure Improvements;
|3.||Acquisition, Improvement or Modification of Publicly Owned Machinery and Equipment, including plans and specifications for such machinery and equipment. 4. Acquisition, Improvement or Modification of Publicly Owned/ Privately Leased Fixed Assets (sites and buildings) and/or Machinery and Equipment, including plans and specifications for such machinery and equipment.|
It is important to note that the proposed use of Business Growth Fund monies will dictate whether the funds can simply be granted to the applicant, or whether they will be granted to the applicant but require a lease agreement. In general, public acquisition or improvements of public facilities and infrastructure can be paid for by the applicant with Business Growth Fund monies and do not have to be leased to a subrecipient through a development authority. Where Business Growth Fund monies are expended for the public acquisition and/or improvement of privately used land, buildings, machinery and equipment, or other private assets, the assets must be owned or controlled by the applicant and leased or subleased to the private user.
The Authority may also require the applicant to recapture some or all of the Business Growth Fund assistance if ownership of project assets is transferred to an entity other than the applicant. The Authority also reserves the right to establish criteria for the recapture of grant funds upon transfer of project assets to an entity other than the applicant or upon any event that violates state law, the public purpose of the grant program, or any of the grant conditions. All recaptured funds must be returned to the Authority, unless otherwise specified by the Authority.
All applications received from eligible applicants will be reviewed in a timely manner to determine the merit of the applications and the proposed use of funds.
will be reviewed based upon enhancement of economic development opportunites.
Projects will be judged by the extent to which they address the Authority's
objectives which include but are not limited to:
* Increase in the numbers and/or types of jobs,
* Retention of quality jobs,
* Improvement in quality of jobs,
* Diversification of local or regional economy,
* Strengthening regional industry clusters,
* Increase in private capital investment and new investment opportunities,
* Increase in new business starts and entrepreneurial opportunities. Projects will be rated by criteria including but not limited to:
* Project readiness,
* Project feasibility,
* Degree of private investment or support,
* Degree of local financial commitment,
* Reasonableness of cost estimates,
* Strength of business plan,
* Rationale for equipment or process improvements,
* Impact on the state, regional and community economy and tax base,
* Value of property enhancements relative to state's economic development strategy,
* Consistency with local and regional development goals and objectives,
* Financing need (applicant demonstration that no other funds available to complete the project),
* Tier status.
|2.||All applications for funding from this program must provide written certification from the applicant, addressed to the OneGeorgia Authority, to the effect that the applicant is authorized under the laws of the State to carry out the project and activities that are the subject of the application, and that the proposed expenditure of funds is in accordance with all applicable legal requirements.|
|3.||In its review of applications, the Authority may, at its discretion, consult with other individuals or agencies as appropriate for receiving advice.|
|4.||The criteria in this rule are designed to assist the Authority in making its decision and only constitute minimum standards. Additional factors may be considered depending on the nature of particular projects and their relative merit compared to competing proposals, and depending on the availability of funding at the time of application.|
|5.||The decision that the Authority makes shall be final and conclusive.|
|1.||Business Growth Fund grants are limited to $500,000 per project. The Executive Director of the Authority may waive this limit under exceptional circumstances.|
|2.||Applications will be considered for funding when the project takes place in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county.|
|3.|| Applications from Tier 3 applicants will
also be considered where those counties:
|4.||Once selected for funding, grant funds will be made available by the Authority through an award contract incorporating by reference the approved final application and adding any special conditions that may be necessary or appropriate. As part of the award conditions, recipients must file a report on the impact and performance of the project, in a format prescribed by the Authority.|
|5.||The authority may approve a grant subject to certain general or special conditions that will be incorporated into the grant award document. Because of the limited amount of funds available, the Authority may also approve and/or award an amount less than the amount requested in the application. The applicant will have thirty (30) days from the date of award to accept any special conditions and/or the reduced grant amount. If the applicant fails to accept the special conditions or lower grant amount within the required period, the Authority may unilaterally withdraw the grant award.|
|6.||Grant or loan approvals will be issued with an expiration date. If an applicant fails to request a drawdown of funds prior to the expiration date, the application approval will expire and funds will not be issued. Extensions may be granted by the Authority under exceptional circumstances.|
|7.||Awards will be committed to competitive, time-sensitive projects. The Authority may deny approval of an application when the application is received after the company/project has initiated or completed the proposed activities.|
In addition to the certifications made on the fact of the award statement, the recipient must further certify that:
|1.||No applicable state laws, rules, regulations, or applicable local ordinances shall be violated in carrying out this project and expending Business Growth Fund monies.|
|2.||Recipient's internally adopted procurement procedures meet applicable state requirements and will be adhered to and documentation shall be maintained to document such adherence.|
|3.||Recipient's accounting records shall be maintained in a manner consistent with generally accepted government accounting standards.|
|4.||If the Recipient is a development authority, then the project financed in part by Business Growth Fund monies shall only be leased or sold or administered as provided by Section 36-62-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, local constitutional amendment, local law passed by the legislature, or other general enabling legislation, as applicable.|
|5.||The recipient shall undergo an annual financial audit conducted in accordance with government auditing standards established by the comptroller general of the United States. The recipient shall submit to the Authority copies of all audits that cover all or part of the grant period.|
|6.||No real or apparent conflict of interest shall be engaged in by any person or party (or any person or party with whom they have family or business ties) who is involved in any aspect of the Business Growth Fund project.|