Section 403.885, Florida Statutes 2004
403.885 Water Quality Improvement and Water Restoration Grant Program.--
(1) The Department of Environmental Protection shall develop and administer a competitive grant program to use funds transferred pursuant to s. 212.20 to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund for water quality improvement and water restoration project grants. Eligible recipients of such grants include counties, municipalities, water management districts, and special districts that have legal responsibilities for water quality improvement, water management, storm water management, sewer system operations, and lake and river restoration projects.
(2) The competitive grant program shall provide for the evaluation of annual grant proposals. The department shall evaluate such proposals to determine if they:
(a) Protect public health and the environment.
(b) Implement plans developed pursuant to the Surface Water Improvement and Management Act created in part IV of chapter 373, other water restoration plans required by law, management plans prepared pursuant to s. 403.067, or other plans adopted by local government for water quality improvement and water restoration.
(3) The department shall evaluate the annual grant proposals and present the annual list of projects recommended to be funded to the Governor and the Legislature as part of its annual budget request submitted pursuant to chapter 216 beginning with fiscal year 2003-2004.
(4) Each fiscal year, at least 20 percent of the funds available pursuant to subsection (1) shall be used for projects to assist financially disadvantaged small local governments. For purposes of this section, the term "financially disadvantaged small local government" means a municipality having a population of 7,500 or less, a county having a population of 35,000 or less, according to the latest decennial census and a per capita annual income less than the state per capita annual income as determined by the United States Department of Commerce, or a county in an area designated by the Governor as a rural area of critical economic concern pursuant to s. 288.0656. Grants made to these eligible local governments shall not require matching local funds.
(5) No later than February 1 of each year, water quality improvement projects and water restoration projects submitted for funding through the legislative process shall be submitted to the department by the appropriate fiscal committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The department shall review the projects for funding eligibility and must, no later than March 1 of each year, provide each fiscal committee with a list of projects that meet the eligibility requirements under this grant program.
(6) The department may adopt rules necessary to administer this section, including, but not limited to, rules governing timeframes for submitting grant applications, evaluation criteria, forms, matching criteria, maximum grant amounts, and allocation of appropriated funds based upon project and applicant size.
History.--s. 11, ch. 2002-291.