7 CFR § 4279.108 - Eligible borrowers.
(a) Type of entity. A borrower may be a cooperative organization, corporation, partnership, or other legal entity organized and operated on a profit or nonprofit basis; an Indian tribe on a Federal or State reservation or other federally recognized tribal group; a public body; or an individual. A borrower must be engaged in or proposing to engage in a business. A business may include manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, providing services, or other activities that will provide employment and improve the economic or environmental climate.
(b) Citizenship. Individual borrowers must be citizens of the United States or reside in the United States after being legally admitted for permanent residence. For purposes of this subpart, citizens and residents of the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands are considered U.S. citizens. Individuals that reside in the United States after being legally admitted for permanent residence must provide a permanent green card as evidence of eligibility. Private entity borrowers must demonstrate, to the Agency's satisfaction, that loan funds will remain in the United States and the facility being financed will primarily create new or save existing jobs for rural U.S. residents.
(c) Rural area. The business financed with a guaranteed loan under this subpart must be located in a rural area, except for cooperative organizations financed in accordance with § 4279.113(j)(2) and local foods projects financed in accordance with § 4279.113(y)(2). Loans to borrowers with facilities located in both rural and non-rural areas will be limited to the amount necessary to finance the facility located in the eligible rural area, except for those cooperative organizations financed in accordance with § 4279.113(j)(2) and those local foods projects financed in accordance with § 4279.113(y)(2).
(1) Rural areas are any area of a State other than a city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town. In making this determination, the Agency will use the latest decennial census of the United States.
(2) For the purposes of this definition, cities and towns are incorporated population centers with definite boundaries, local self government, and legal powers set forth in a charter granted by the State.
(3) For the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the island is considered rural, except for the San Juan Census Designated Place (CDP) and any other CDP with greater than 50,000 inhabitants. However, CDPs with greater than 50,000 inhabitants, other than the San Juan CDP, may be eligible if they are determined to be “not urban in character.”
(5) For the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Agency will determine what constitutes a rural area based on available population data.
(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this definition, in determining which census blocks in an urbanized area are not in a rural area, the Agency will exclude any cluster of census blocks that would otherwise be considered not in a rural area only because the cluster is adjacent to not more than two census blocks that are otherwise considered not in a rural area under this definition.
(7) The Under Secretary, whose authority may not be redelegated, may determine that an area is “rural in character.” Any determination made by the Under Secretary under this provision will be to areas that are determined to be “rural in character” and are within: An urbanized area that has two points on its boundary that are at least 40 miles apart, which is not contiguous or adjacent to a city or town that has a population of greater than 150,000 inhabitants or the urbanized area of such city or town; or an area within an urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to a city or town of greater than 50,000 inhabitants that is within 1/4 mile of a rural area.
(i) Units of local government may petition the Under Secretary for a “rural in character” designation by submitting a petition to both the appropriate Rural Development State Director and the Administrator on behalf of the Under Secretary. The petition must document how the area meets the requirements of paragraph (c)(7) of this section and discuss why the petitioner believes the area is “rural in character,” including, but not limited to, the area's population density; demographics; topography; and how the local economy is tied to a rural economic base. Upon receiving a petition, the Under Secretary will consult with the applicable Governor and Rural Development State Director and request comments within 10 business days, unless those comments were submitted with the petition. The Under Secretary will release to the public a notice of a petition filed by a unit of local government not later than 30 days after receipt of the petition by way of notice in a local newspaper and notice on the applicable Rural Development State Office Web site. The Under Secretary will make a determination not less than 15 days, but no more than 60 days, after the release of the notice. The public notice will appear for at least 3 consecutive days if published in a daily newspaper or otherwise in two consecutive publications. Upon a negative determination, the Under Secretary will provide to the petitioner an opportunity to appeal a determination to the Under Secretary for reconsideration, and the petitioner will have 10 business days to appeal the determination and provide further information for consideration.
(ii) Rural Development State Directors may also initiate a request to the Under Secretary to determine if an area is “rural in character.” A written recommendation should be sent to the Administrator, on behalf of the Under Secretary, that documents how the area meets the statutory requirements of paragraph (c)(7) of this section and discusses why the State Director believes the area is “rural in character,” including, but not limited to, the area's population density; demographics; topography; and how the local economy is tied to a rural economic base. Upon receipt of such a request, the Administrator will review the request for compliance with the “rural in character” provisions and make a recommendation to the Under Secretary. Provided a favorable determination is made, the Under Secretary will consult with the applicable Governor and request comments within 10 business days, unless gubernatorial comments were submitted with the request. A public notice will be published by the State Office in accordance with paragraph (c)(7)(i) of this section. There is no appeal process for requests made on the initiative of the State Director.
(d) Other credit. All applications for assistance will be accepted and processed without regard to the availability of credit from any other source.
(e) Prohibition under Agency programs. No loans guaranteed by the Agency will be conditioned on any requirement that the recipients of such assistance accept or receive electric or other services from any particular utility, supplier, or cooperative.
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