(1) The Safe Neighborhoods Program is hereby created. The purpose of the program shall be to provide planning grants and technical assistance on a 100-percent matching basis to the neighborhood improvement districts authorized by this part. Planning grants shall be awarded to eligible applicants, pursuant to the process described in subsections (2) and (3), as follows:
(a) Property owners’ association neighborhood improvement districts may receive up to $20,000.
(b) Local government neighborhood improvement districts may receive up to $100,000.
(c) Special neighborhood improvement districts may receive up to $50,000.
(d) Community redevelopment neighborhood improvement districts may receive up to $50,000.
(2) Applications for planning grants from the Safe Neighborhoods Program shall be considered when the following criteria are met:
(a) Verification that the local governing body has passed an ordinance creating neighborhood improvement districts.
(b) Verification of commitment to provide matching funds for purposes of planning for neighborhood improvement districts. A local match may include in-kind services such as office space and supplies. The fair market value of such in-kind services must be documented.
(3) All applications determined to be eligible for consideration shall be reviewed, evaluated, and rank ordered based on the following criteria:
(a) Evidence of commitment from neighborhood organizations, homeowners, property owners, business or merchant’s associations, or concerned individuals to participate in the activities of their neighborhood improvement districts.
(b) Need of the community for neighborhood improvement districts for purposes of reducing crime, including the degree to which crime data indicates an escalation of criminal activities which impact area physical and economic conditions, identification of environmental factors which support criminal activities, previous crime prevention plans and efforts which impact the physical environment, excessive traffic counts for residential roads, and crime rates in enterprise zones and in business and commercial areas.
(c) Need of the community for state planning funds to successfully implement neighborhood improvement districts, including consideration of the community’s existing planning, law enforcement, and other appropriate local services and resources.
(4) Population distribution of Florida’s cities and counties shall be considered in order to give communities of all sizes an opportunity to benefit from the matching funds provided by the Safe Neighborhoods Program for the establishment of neighborhood improvement districts. No more than one neighborhood improvement district within the boundaries of a local government shall be awarded a planning grant in any given funding cycle.
(5) Each neighborhood improvement district which receives funds under this section shall submit an audit to the department. Such audits shall be submitted no less than one time per year. Neighborhood improvement districts must submit an audit to the department at least 30 days prior to making application for additional planning grants. A local government audit performed in accordance with the provisions of chapter 218, covering the period of the grant, may be submitted to satisfy this requirement.
(6) The department shall promulgate rules to carry out this section.