(1) For all program categories, the department shall incorporate into its system of competitively ranking applications a procedure intended to eliminate or reduce any existing population-related bias that places exceptionally small communities at a disadvantage in the competition for funds. In no case may there be reserved specifically for exceptionally small communities a portion of the funds to be distributed. Instead, a procedure shall be established whereby the scores of exceptionally small communities are compared to each other rather than to larger communities.
(2) The department shall establish grant ceilings for each program category. These ceilings shall bear some relationship to an applicant’s total population or its population living below the federal poverty level. Population ranges may be used in establishing these ceilings. In no case, however, may a grant ceiling be set above $750,000 or below $300,000.
(3) The maximum percentage of block grant funds that can be spent on administrative costs by an eligible local government shall be 15 percent for the housing program category, 8 percent for both the neighborhood and the commercial revitalization program categories, and 8 percent for the economic development program category. The purpose of the ceiling is to maximize the amount of block grant funds actually going toward the redevelopment of the area. The department will continue to encourage eligible local governments to consider ways to limit the amount of block grant funds used for administrative costs, consistent with the need for prudent management and accountability in the use of public funds. This subsection shall not be construed, however, to prohibit eligible local governments from contributing their own funds or making in-kind contributions to cover administrative costs which exceed the prescribed ceilings, provided that all such contributions come from local government resources other than Community Development Block Grant funds.
(4) The department shall develop by rule grant administration procurement procedures for eligible local governments. These procedures shall include, but not be limited to, the evaluation of an individual or business entity based upon past performance in the administration of community development block grants and based upon the type, number, and geographic distribution of grants to be administered.
(5) An eligible local government shall not contract with the same individual or business entity for more than one service to be performed in connection with a community development block grant, including, but not limited to, application preparation services, administration services, architectural services, engineering services, and construction services, unless it can be demonstrated by the eligible local government that such individual or business entity either is the sole source of the service or is the responsive proposer whose proposal is determined in writing as a result of a competitive process to be the most advantageous to the local government.
(6) The maximum percentage of block grant funds that may be spent on engineering costs by an eligible local government shall be in accordance with a schedule adopted by the department by rule. Any such schedule so adopted shall be consistent with the schedule used by the United States Farmer’s Home Administration as applied to projects in Florida or another comparable schedule as amended.
(7) Grant ceilings do not apply to the loan guarantee program authorized in s. 290.0455.
(8) If an applicant was the sponsor of an activity under the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant Loan Guarantee Program, and the loan for such activity is in default, thereby requiring the department to reduce its annual grant award in order to pay the annual debt service on the applicant’s loan, the department shall reduce the grant ceiling available to such applicant in an amount equal to the amount of the state’s grant award required to be used for the loan debt service.