Local Government Planning Fund (Formerly Known as the Water and Wastewater Planning Fund)
Created in 2002, the fund provides up-front capital necessary to allow for proper planning of vital water and wastewater projects. The 2005 and 2012 Legislatures broadened project eligibility to include master plans, conservation plans, economic development plans, infrastructure plans and energy efficiency audits. Additionally, the 2012 Legislature eliminated the requirement to repay the fund if the project moves forward and the funding is now delivered as 100% grant. Grants are determined on a sliding scale. Through December 31, 2012, NMFA has made 92 grants totaling $2,585,718 and has approved an additional 31 projects pending closure totaling $1,343,019.
Pursuant to policies adopted by the NMFA Board of Directors, applications for the Local Government Planning Fund will be considered by the Board quarterly at the NMFA’s February, May, August and November Board Meetings. Applications must be submitted approximately six weeks prior to the Board Meeting. Applications for urgent or emergency projects will be considered monthly.
Pursuant to Rules adopted by the New Mexico Finance Authority Board of Directors and the New Mexico Finance Authority Legislative Oversight Committee, the NMFA must establish minimum criteria for plans funded by the Local Government Planning Fund. To date, the NMFA Board of Directors has adopted the following Guidance Documents:
1. All preliminary engineering reports for water, wastewater and solid waste must comply with the Guidance Documents established by the United States Department of Agriculture through Bulletins 1780-2 (Water), 1780-3 (Wastewater) and 1780-4 (Solid Waste) as determined by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Construction Programs Bureau (“NMED-CPB”). In addition, each project must have the scope of procurement approved by the NMED-CPB on behalf of the NMFA.
- USDA 1780-2 (Water Preliminary Engineering Report)
- USDA 1780-3 (Wastewater Preliminary Engineering Report)
- USDA 1780-4 (Solid Waste Preliminary Engineering Report)
2. Environmental Information Documents that are compliant with the State’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund’s State Environmental Review Process (SERP) as determined by an environmental engineering contractor on behalf of NMFA.
3. Economic Development Plan Requirements contained in the Certified Community Initiative for plans developed to implement the Local Economic Development Act. The New Mexico Economic Development Department developed the Certified Community Initiative. Historically, the NMEDD has served as NMFA’s reviewing agency for these plans.
4. Comprehensive Plans drafted by a certified planner using the Comprehensive Plan Template by Steven Burstein, AICP and utilized by the Department of Finance and Administration. NMFA will review and approve the Comprehensive Plan Documents.
PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLANNING FUND GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS:
The NMFA is accepting comments on the following guidance documents which are currently being considered as minimum criteria. The NMFA will be accepting written comments on the proposed guidance documents until close of business on Monday, April 8, 2013. Comments should be directed to Marquita Russel at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Energy audits shall be prepared by a licensed professional engineer and must meet minimum criteria of an ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit. Energy Audits funded by the LGPF will be required to be contracted using the Model Investment Grade Energy Audit and Project Proposal Contract prepared by the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Currently, EMNRD reviews energy audits for governmental entities considering energy efficiency projects that are financed by pledging future energy savings pursuant to the Public Facilities Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Act[NMSA 1978, 6-23]
2. Asset Management Plans developed by the Qualified Planning Grant Entity under the guidance of the A.M. Kan Work developed by the New Mexico Environmental Finance Center (“EFC”). Planning Funds may be used to hire a licensed New Mexico professional engineer to compile asset inventories, determine the condition of the assets and to provide assistance relative to the operation of the utility. Entities may also use Planning Funds to hire facilitators to help gain public input into the plan. Planning Funds cannot be used to pay for staff time to develop the plan.
Given the time required to develop a thoughtful Asset Management Plan, the NMFA will not require the Plan to be completed before paying third party contractors for completed portions of the plan so long as there is demonstrated commitment of the governing with the following elements:
- A resolution from the Governing Body committing to the implementation of an Asset Management Plan with a statement affirming the use of the EFC A.M. Kan Work manual to implement AM within three years;
- Identification of an internal team that will be assembled to develop and implement the Asset Management Plan;
- Provide results of the initial Asset Management IQ test contained in the EFC manual;
- Provide a schedule of the sequence of events proposed to implement the Asset Management Plan with a timeline, such as a Gantt chart;
- Indicate where third party support is needed, why it is needed, and how it will be incorporated in the internal implementation of Asset Management;
- Provide updated IQ with third party deliverable; and
- The final deliverable to the funding agency must contain:
- A Resolution adopting the completed Asset Management Plan;
- The summary sheet showing the prioritized assets and cost associated with improving those assets over the period of time as shown in the Asset Management Plan;
- A resolution adopting a reserve policy which specifically identifies the allocation of the reserves to fund the Asset Management Plan with an annual target; and
- A rate schedule that covers the reserve required to fund the reserve.
Currently, the NMFA has not yet identified guidance documents for Water Conservation Plans or Economic Feasibility Studies. Entities wishing to apply for funding for these planning documents must submit a requested scope of service as an attachment to its application.