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Supervisors approve Neighborhood Reinvestment Program policy

A new San Diego County Board of Supervisors policy will cover the county’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program.

Board of Supervisors Policy B-72 was approved by the county supervisors on a 5-0 vote October 20.

The policy establishes the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program’s funding cycle, eligibility requirements, and application process and defines staff and recipient organization responsibilities.

The county implemented the Community Projects Program, along with funding allocations, in 1999, and the program’s name was changed in September 2009.

The program’s purpose is to provide grants to non-profit organizations for the furtherance of public purposes at the regional and community levels.

Each county supervisor recommends the allocation of his or her Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds, although those allocations must be approved by a majority of the Board of Supervisors.

The money can be spent on organizations either in incorporated cities or in unincorporated towns.

Community Projects awards included grants to schools and fire departments as well as other non-profit organizations.

Some supervisors also used money from their Community Projects budgets to supplement other county funding for specific county projects such as parks, roads, and libraries.

Activities funded by Community Projects grants included youth recreational facilities, including high school fields and swimming pools, public health programs, organizational expenses for community service group fundraisers or for cultural festivals, fire department needs, clean-up projects, library projects, county park facilities, and supplemental appropriations for road projects.

On September 15 the supervisors voted 5-0 to change the name of the program from the Community Projects Program to the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program and to adopt guidelines which would be codified into a Board of Supervisors policy.

The supervisors also directed the county’s Chief Administrative Officer to develop a standardized Neighborhood Reinvestment Program application and to return to the supervisors within 60 days with a policy which contains the approved recommendations, and the September 15 action also adopted a mission statement, eligibility guidelines, and rules and regulations.

The mission statement adopted by the supervisors states that the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program provides grant funds to county departments, public agencies, and non-profit community organizations for one-time community, social, environmental, educational, cultural, or recreational needs.

Under Board of Supervisors Policy B-72, all Neighborhood Reinvestment Program appropriations are included annually in the county’s Operational Plan.

The amount available may vary, but an amendment to the board policy will be necessary for an appropriation exceeding the current $2 million per district and the funding will be distributed evenly among the five supervisorial districts.

Grant awards may be recommended throughout the fiscal year, but amounts not allocated by the end of the fiscal year may not be carried over to a subsequent year’s budget.

Any appropriation not spent by the funded organization will be returned to the county and may be reallocated to other projects throughout the fiscal year.

Grant requests may not be less than $3,500, and a higher priority will be given to capital projects and other one-time expenditures.

The funds must be spent within one year unless an extension is approved by the Board of Supervisors.

If an amendment does not materially impact or alter the grant purpose or funding level, the county’s Office of Financial Planning may authorize the amendment without the need for Board of Supervisors approval.

The adopted eligibility criteria requires that each organization receiving funds provide services in educational or recreational projects, local business and tourism promotional activities, arts and cultural programs, environmental awareness programs or projects, public safety programs, health and social service initiatives or programs, or county programs which benefit the community and enhance the region’s quality of life.

The organization must either be a public agency within the county or hold non-profit or other legally tax exempt status.

Recipient organizations must be financially solvent and provide full disclosure with previous year financial statements at the time of application, and all sources of funding must be revealed.

The organization must enter into a written agreement with the county which specifies the organization’s responsibility with respect to the use of the funds and requires full accounting and other documentation of the expenditures.

The documents must be provided to the public upon request, and any recognition of the funding must be worded that the grant was funded by the County of San Diego at the request of the specific supervisor.

A standardized application will also be made available on the county’s Web site and on each supervisorial office’s Web site.

The application and cover letter must include the name and address of the organization and of two contact persons who will sign all required documents and be responsible for the expenditures.

A brief description of the organization and project is required along with a summary of the organization’s operating budget, and a specific dollar amount must be requested along with verifiable cost estimates.

The county will require a description of how the project will benefit the community, including how many people will be served.

An estimated completion date for the project must be given, and a list of any funding partners must be provided.

The availability of matching funds will be weighed when considering an application.

All grant recommendations will be reviewed by County Counsel to ensure their legality, and grants must be approved by the Board of Supervisors in public session with an opportunity for public comment.

The Office of Financial Planning will work with the Board of Supervisors offices to ensure timely payment of grant awards and to determine whether provisions and terms have been fulfilled.

The Office of Financial Planning will notify grant recipients approximately 11 months from the date of award that funds must be spent within the next month and documentation must be submitted within 30 days of the expenditure.

The Office of Financial Planning will provide monthly updates to the Board of Supervisors offices on to-date allocations and funds available and will also provide a monthly “delinquency list” of any organizations with overdue documentation.

The Office of Financial Planning will also create and maintain an annual list of grant recipients for public review and will post each recipient organization’s name, project description, and award amount on the county’s Web site within ten days of the award authorization.


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