7 CFR § 1777.13 - Project priority.
Paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section indicate items and conditions which must be considered in selecting applications for further development. When ranking eligible applications for consideration for limited funds, Agency officials must consider the priority items met by each application and the degree to which those priorities are met.
(a) Applications. The application and supporting information submitted with it will be used to determine applicant eligibility and the proposed project's priority for available funds. Applicants determined ineligible will be advised of their appeal rights in accordance with 7 CFR part 11.
(b) State Office review. All applications will be processed and scored in the area office and then reviewed for funding priority at the State Office using RUS Bulletin 1777-2. Eligible applicants that cannot be funded will be advised that funds are not available and advised of their appeal rights as set forth in 7 CFR part 11.
(c) National Office. The National Office will allocate funds on a project-by-project basis as requests are received from the State Office. If the amount of funds requested exceeds the amount of funds available, the total project score will be used to select projects for funding. The RUS Administrator may assign up to 35 additional points which will be considered in the total points for items such as geographic distribution of funds, severity of health risks, etc. Unobligated funds will be pooled by mid-August of each year and made available to all States with eligible colonias applicants on a case-by-case basis.
(d) Selection priorities. The priorities described below will be used to rate applications and in selecting projects for funding. Points will be distributed as indicated in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(6) of this section and will be used in selecting projects for funding.
(1) Population. The proposed project will serve an area with a rural population:
(i) Not in excess of 1,500 - 30 points.
(ii) More than 1,500 and not in excess of 3,000 - 20 points.
(iii) More than 3,000 and not in excess of 5,500 - 10 points.
(2) Income. The median household income of population to be served by the proposed project is:
(i) Not in excess of 50 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income - 40 points.
(ii) More than 50 percent and not in excess of 60 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income - 20 points.
(iii) More than 60 percent and not in excess of 70 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income - 10 points.
(3) Joint financing. The amount of joint financing committed to the proposed project is:
(i) Twenty percent or more private, local, or State funds except Federal funds channeled through a State agency - 10 points.
(ii) Five to 19 percent private, local, or State funds except Federal funds channeled through a State agency - 5 points.
(4) Colonia. (See definition in § 1777.4). The proposed project will provide water and/or waste disposal services to the residents of a colonia: - 50 points. Additional points will be assigned as follows:
(5) Access and health risks for colonias.
(i) A colonia that lacks access to both water and waste disposal facilities, resulting in a significant health risk - 50 points.
(ii) A colonia that lacks access to either water or waste disposal facilities, resulting in a significant health risk - 40 points.
(iii) A colonia that has access to water and waste disposal facilities, but is facing a significant health risk - 15 points.
(6) Discretionary. In certain cases, and when a written justification is prepared, the State Program Official with loan/grant approval authority may assign up to 15 points for items such as natural disaster, to improve compatibility/coordination between RUS' and other agencies' selection systems, to assist those projects that are the most cost effective, high unemployment rate, severity of health risks, etc.