(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, it is the intent of the Legislature that the trust shall administer the working waterfronts program as set forth in this section.
(2) The trust and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall jointly develop rules specifically establishing an application process and a process for the evaluation, scoring and ranking of working waterfront acquisition projects. The proposed rules jointly developed pursuant to this subsection shall be promulgated by the trust. Such rules shall establish a system of weighted criteria to give increased priority to projects:
(a) Within a municipality with a population less than 30,000;
(b) Within a municipality or area under intense growth and development pressures, as evidenced by a number of factors, including a determination that the municipality’s growth rate exceeds the average growth rate for the state;
(c) Within the boundary of a community redevelopment agency established pursuant to s. 163.356; (d) Adjacent to state-owned submerged lands designated as an aquatic preserve identified in s. 258.39; or
(e) That provide a demonstrable benefit to the local economy.
(3) For projects that will require more than the grant amount awarded for completion, the applicant must identify in their project application funding sources that will provide the difference between the grant award and the estimated project completion cost. Such rules may be incorporated into those developed pursuant to s. 380.507(11).
(4) The trust shall develop a ranking list based on criteria identified in subsection (2) for proposed fee simple and less-than-fee simple acquisition projects developed pursuant to this section. The trust shall, by the first Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund meeting in February, present the ranking list pursuant to this section to the board of trustees for final approval of projects for funding. The board of trustees may remove projects from the ranking list but may not add projects.
(5) Grant awards, acquisition approvals, and terms of less-than-fee acquisitions shall be approved by the trust. Waterfront communities that receive grant awards must submit annual progress reports to the trust identifying project activities which are complete, and the progress achieved in meeting the goals outlined in the project application. The trust must implement a process to monitor and evaluate the performance of grant recipients in completing projects that are funded through the working waterfronts program.