Rural Development Cooperative Agreement Program, 41046-41056 [2018-17765]

Download as PDF amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 41046 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices Management Plan (GMP) (Amendment five of the Forest Plan): SMNRA-wide Standards and Guidelines: (GMP Standard 0.31) New roads, administrative facilities, and developed recreation sites other than low-impact facilities (trails, trailhead parking, signs, restrooms, etc.) will be outside a 100-yard buffer zone around known Clokey’s eggvetch and rough angelica populations or potential habitat, and outside biodiversity hotspots (defined as areas of particular diversity or sensitivity). The need for this Forest Plan amendment is that in the Lee Canyon Proposed Action new service roads, and ski area facilities would occur within the 100-yard buffer zone established around known Clokey’s eggvetch and rough angelica populations or potential habitat. These areas have been thoroughly inventoried for these species and none were found within the project foot print. This project-specific Forest Plan amendment will allow development within the 100-yard buffer zones for these two-species established in the Standard GMP 0.31 (p. 18) to allow for construction of service roads and ski area facilities. Under the Proposed Action and other action alternatives, Standard GMP 0.31 would be amended to allow new service roads and developed recreation sites to be placed within the 100-yard buffer zone around known Clokey’s eggvetch and rough angelica populations or potential habitat, and within biodiversity hotspots in the Lee Canyon Special Use Permit Boundary. Management Area 11: (11.57) Allow limited expansion of ski area in Lee Canyon and enhancement of skiing opportunities and facilities within the scope of an approved master development plan and under the following constraints: 1. Expansion occurs within the existing sub-basin. 2. Does not impact any threatened, endangered, or sensitive species or species of concern or its habitat. 3. Expansion is commensurate with development of additional parking in the lower Lee Canyon area and shuttle services. 4. Expansion incorporates defensible space design and fire safe facilities. 5. Where consistent with other standards and guidelines. The need for this Forest Plan amendment is that the Proposed Action and other action alternatives include development of ski runs, mountain coasters, zip lines, mountain bike trails, parking areas, and access roads within the Lee Canyon Ski Area permitted boundary. As the Mount Charleston VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 Blue Butterfly was listed as a endangered species in 2015 and the designated critical habitat for the butterfly includes portions of the Lee Canyon Ski Area, Constraint #2 from the standard cannot be met. The Proposed Action and other action alternatives also include the addition of a 500 vehicle parking lot at the ski area to accommodate increased visitor use without the development of additional parking in lower Lee Canyon or shuttle services. The project-specifc Forest Plan Amendment would exempt the project from the requirements under Constraint #2 and Constraint #3. The substantive requirements of the 2012 Planning Rule (36 CFR part 219) likely to be directly related and, therefore, applicable to the Forest Plan amendment for the Lee Canyon Project are in 36 CFR 219.9(b) regarding threatened and endangered species and 36 CFR 219.10(a)(1), (3), and (7) regarding integrated resource management for multiple use. The scope and scale to which these substantive requirements would apply are the scope and scale of the Lee Canyon Project. The amendment would not apply to any other projects or activities. Responsible Official The Responsible Official for the Lee Canyon Project and the Forest Plan amendment is William A. Dunkelberger, Forest Supervisor, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 1200 Franklin Way, Sparks, Nevada 89431, phone (775) 355–5310. Decision To Be Made In consideration of the stated purpose and need and the analysis of environmental effects documented in this EIS, the Responsible Official will review the proposed action and alternatives in order to make the following decisions: • Whether to authorize the proposed action or an alternative, including the required no-action alternative, all or in part; • What design criteria and mitigation measures to require as a condition of the authorization; • What evaluation methods and documentation to require for monitoring project implementation and mitigation effectiveness; and • Whether to amend the Forest Plan to exempt the project from Standard GMP 0.31 and from Constraints #2 and #3 of Standard GMP Management Area 11.57. PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Administrative Review The Lee Canyon Project and the Forest Plan amendment will be subject to objection under 36 CFR part 218. Dated: May 7, 2018. Chris French, Associate Deputy Chief, National Forest System. [FR Doc. 2018–17730 Filed 8–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Business-Cooperative Service Rural Housing Service Rural Utilities Service Rural Development Cooperative Agreement Program Rural Development USDA. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development (Agency) is seeking applications to support regional economic development planning efforts in rural communities under the Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative. This funding opportunity will be administered by the Rural Development Innovation Center, in partnership with the Rural BusinessCooperative Service. The Agency is announcing up to $750,000 in competitive cooperative agreement funds in fiscal year (FY) 2018. Rural Development Agency may select one, multiple, or no award recipients. The Agency reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if no application receives a score of at least 60 points. This Notice lists the information needed to submit an application for these funds. This Notice announces that the Agency is accepting FY 2018 applications to support REDI. DATES: The deadline for receipt of a complete application is midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5, via www.grants.gov. The Agency will not consider any application received after the deadline. After an applicant submits an application via grants.gov, all applicants must email RD.Innovation@ osec.usda.gov to confirm application and receipt of the application package. Applicants who have been selected for funding will receive a letter of official notification and will be awarded a cooperative agreement authorized under 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). Pending funding availability, all awards will be made no later than September 30, 2018. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices Applicants should plan their projects based on a start date of September 30, 2018 and must be completed within 24 months. The deadline for receipt of an application is midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Applications may be submitted electronically through the Grants.gov system or through email to RD.Innovation@osec.usda.gov. Note that there are registration requirements for submitting applications using the Grants.gov system. We recommend that you review the instructions for registering as soon as possible, but at least two weeks before you plan to submit your application. The requirements can be viewed at: https:// grants.gov/applicants/organization_ registration.jsp. Your application will be rejected by Grants.gov if you miss the deadline and the Agency will not consider any application received after the deadline. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Question about this announcement can be directed to Christine Sorensen, Regional Coordinator, via 202–568–9832 or Christine.Sorensen@wdc.usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Preface The Agency encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Rural Prosperity Task Force report to help improve life in rural America (www.usda.gov/ ruralprosperity). Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation. Key strategies include: • Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America. • Developing the Rural Economy. • Harnessing Technological Innovation. • Supporting a Rural Workforce. • Improving Quality of Life. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Paperwork Reduction Act It is anticipated that the anticipated number of respondents affected by this information collection is less than 10 entities and therefore, this Notice contains no reporting or recordkeeping provisions requiring Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 Overview Federal Agency Name: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development. Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Development Cooperative Agreement Program. Announcement Type: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.890. Application Due Date: All required application documents must be submitted by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5 electronically via www.grants.gov. Applicants submitting proposals must also confirm receipt and email RD.Innovation@osec.usda.gov to confirm application and receipt of the application package. Applicants who have been selected for funding will receive a letter of official notification. Pending funding availability, all awards will be made no later than September 30, 2018. Applicants should plan their projects based on a start date of September 30, 2018 and must be completed within 24 months. For More Information: Questions about this announcement can be directed to Christine Sorensen, Regional Coordinator, via 202–568–9832 or Christine.Sorensen@wdc.usda.gov. A. Program Description USDA Rural Development (RD) is authorized to administer cooperative agreement awards in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) aims to strengthen the capacity of rural communities (50,000 people or less in the United States plus Tribes and territories) in implementing strategic community and economic development plans as referenced in Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2008v). The goal of this funding announcement is to solicit applications to provide cooperative agreement funding to eligible applicants to enable them to provide technical assistance and training and actionable planning of implementation of strategic community and economic development plans. Supporting regional economic development plans help rural communities overcome multijurisdictional challenges and better leverage Federal, state, local or private funding. For purposes of this proposal, a quality regional economic plan will include but not be limited to the following: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41047 • Evidence-based understanding of community assets, challenges and opportunities. • Goals are focused, logical, targeted and timely with tasks identified and with a responsible party assigned. • The plan was created through broad community participation, public input and buy-in. • The format must be persuasive in a non-technical manner. • The plan makes clear how each of its strategies is intended to help produce, either directly or indirectly, improvements in the local and regional economy. • Regional economic development plans developed through REDI assistance should identify possible projects to be funded through RD programs and/or other Federal, state, local or private sector resources. This funding opportunity expands rural communities’ ability to access planning resources to convene, identify needs, create actionable economic development plans, and implement project priorities to improve quality of life in rural communities. Quality of life is a measure of human well-being that can be identified though economic and social indicators. Modern utilities, affordable housing, efficient transportation and reliable employment are economic indicators that must be integrated with social indicators like access to medical services, public safety, education and community resilience to empower rural communities to thrive. Economic development plans developed through this funding opportunity should focus on one or more of these economic and/or social indicators. Applicants are encouraged to consider regional planning projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities built robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation. Such projects should also support rural communities’ ability to qualify for priority funding under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act [7 U.S.C. 2008v]. This approach to comprehensive rural community development is unique in its attempt to improve rural communities in a way that is (1) rooted in emphasizing partnerships and collaboration among multiple public agencies and community partners and (2) focused on combining state resources to make wide-ranging quality-of-life impacts as opposed to separate, piecemeal, incremental improvements. E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 41048 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 1. Estimated Funding: Interested applicants shall only propose applications with scope of work/budget that does not exceed $750,000 in Federal funding. 2. Start Date and Performance Period: Projects may be up to 2 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on a project start date of September 30, 2018 and a project end date of no later than September 30, 2020. 3. Type of Federal Award: Cooperative Agreement. Rural Development will be substantially involved in the work performed under each approved cooperative agreement. Substantial involvement may include but is not limited to collaboration, participation, oversight, and control of the following: i. Authority to suspend work if specification or work statements are not met; ii. Review and approval of one stage of work before another may begin; iii. Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed subgrants or contracts; iv. Prior review and approval of key personnel; and v. Agency collaboration and coordination with respect to deliverables and execution of the work plan. At a minimum, applicants should anticipate Agency participation in the selection of communities to receive regional planning assistance; the convening of community members, partners, and stakeholders; the delivery of training on RD programs and/or economic development principles; and the review/approval of regional economic development plans for purposes of priority funding under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2008v). 4. Number of Awards: The Agency anticipates that it may select one, multiple, or no award recipients from this notice of funding availability. The Agency reserves the right to withhold the awarding of any funds if no application receives a minimum score of at least 60 points. 5. Eligibility of renewal or Supplemental Project Applications: Applications for renewal or supplementation of any existing Federal awards are not eligible for this new Federal award. An application for renewal means a proposal submitted to continue an existing agreement by adding components to an existing agreement in order to meet the objectives of this solicitation. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 life. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will utilize Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements by the partnerships outside of RD. The applicant will identify such application deadline. Applications partnerships and will demonstrate how which fail to meet any of these they will provide access to such requirements by the application partnerships to support implementation deadline will be deemed ineligible and of projects identified through will not be evaluated further and will development of regional economic not receive a Federal award. development plans. The proposed 1. Applicant Eligibility: Federallyrecognized Tribes, institutions of higher project should also describe how it will support implementation of multieducation, nonprofit organizations, or jurisdictional and/or multi-sector private organizations with a regional economic development plans, demonstrated national structure and/or as described in Section 379H of the capacity to deliver and support multiple Consolidated Farm and Rural rural planning activities across the Development Act. nation are eligible applicants. Entities 3. Cost Sharing or Matching are not eligible if they have been Requirements: There is a dollar or indebarred or suspended or otherwise kind matching requirement that is at excluded from or ineligible for least equal to the amount of the participation in Federal assistance cooperative agreement award. If this programs under Executive Order 12549, matching fund requirement is not met, ‘‘Debarment and Suspension.’’ In the application will be deemed addition, an applicant will be ineligible. Matching requirements are considered ineligible for a cooperative cash, confirmed funding commitments agreement due to an outstanding and/or third party in-kind contributions judgment obtained by the U.S. in a as defined in 2 CFR 200.96. that are at Federal Court (other than U.S. Tax least equal to the cooperative agreement Court), is delinquent on the payment of amount and committed for a period of Federal income taxes, or is delinquent not less than the cooperative agreement on Federal debt. performance period. Applicants must 2. Eligible Project Purposes: The recruit one or more private and/or Project purpose must be to strengthen public partner(s) to match one-for-one the capacity of rural communities (in cash and/or in-kind contributions) (50,000 people or less in the United the applicant’s proposed funding States plus Tribes and territories) in request. Cost sharing/matching must be developing and implementing regional committed at the time of application plans for economic development as submission. Applications must include referenced in Section 379H of the written verification of commitments of Consolidated Farm and Rural cost sharing or matching support Development Act. Eligible project (including both cash and in-kind purposes must include the two facets of contributions) from third parties. Cost technical assistance: sharing or matching funds must meet i. Planning Technical Assistance: The the criteria stated at 2 CFR 200.306 and proposed project should provide be valued in accordance with 2 CFR planning technical assistance to rural 200.306(d). communities by assisting in the Additional details about cost sharing development of regional economic or matching funds/contributions is development plans. Proposals should located at 2 CFR 200.306. Applicant include descriptions on how technical matching funds must be included in the assistance will result in actionable steps budget narrative. For matching funds to support implementation of these offered by project partners, a separate plans. The proposed project should also commitment letter is required for each provide technical assistance to expand cash and/or in-kind match contribution. rural communities’ ability to access Commitment letters must be signed by funding and planning resources to the authorized organizational convene community members. representative of the contributing ii. Implementation Technical organization and the applicant Assistance: The proposed project should organization, which must include: (i) provide technical assistance toward The name, address, and telephone implementation of the project priorities number of the contributor; (ii) the name emerging from the regional economic of the applicant organization; (iii) the development plans. The technical title of the project for which the assistance should include strategies for contribution is made, (iv) the dollar enhancing communities’ efforts at amount of the contribution; and (v) a statement that the contributor commits leveraging Federal, state, local, and/or to furnish the contribution during the private funding to build resilient cooperative agreement period. communities and improve quality of C. Eligibility Information B. Federal Award Information PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices Applications without signed written commitments are deemed incomplete and will be ineligible. The value of applicant contributions to the project is established according to Federal cost principles. Applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.306 for additional guidance on matching funds, in-kind contributions, and allowable costs. 4. Substantial Involvement: Proposed project must include a component that allows for active participation by the Agency in the majority of tasks. Examples of substantial involvement include but are not limited to the following: Joint-selection of communities to receive regional planning assistance; joint-convening of community members, partners, and stakeholders; joint-delivery of training on RD programs and/or economic development principles; and jointreview/approval of regional economic development plans for purposes of priority funding under Section 6025 Strategic Economic and Community Development. It is the intent of this project to engage Agency and state RD staff in the development of regional economic development plans and it is the responsibility of the applicant to identify tasks where RD staff can provide substantial involvement in the project. If you do not identify those tasks, your application is not eligible for funding. 5. Use of Funds: Use of project funds (including Federal and matching) must be consistent with the project purpose to strengthen the capacity of rural communities in developing and implementing regional plans for economic development. A nonexclusive list of eligible fund uses include: Costs incurred for the services of personnel actually engaged in the project, including share of employee benefits, travel and per diem expenses, costs of expendable supplies, and travel and per diem expenses associated with travel to USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC to coordinate and collaborate on project tasks. Use of funds must be allowable in adherence with 2 CFR part 200. If you include funds in your budget that are unallowable, RD will consider the application for funding only if the unallowable costs total 10 percent or less of the total project budget, including Federal and matching funds. However, if the application is successful, those unallowable costs must be removed from the budget before RD will make an award. If RD cannot determine the percentage of unallowable costs or the amount of those costs exceeds 10 percent of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 total project budget, the application will not be considered for funding. 6. Rural Area: The project must directly benefit a rural area. All ultimate beneficiaries and/or subrecipients must be located in rural areas, and any activities or tasks must occur in rural areas. The term ‘rural area’ means the Rural Business Service’s Rural Area definition as out lined in Section 343(a)(13)(A)(i) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act which states: Any area other than: (1) A city or town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; and (2) any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town. 7. Number of Applications: You cannot submit more than one application for this Notice. D. Application and Submission Information 1. Address to Request Application Page. All necessary forms can be found within the Grants.gov ‘‘Application Package.’’ 2. Content and Form of Application Submission. There is no pre-application process for this announcement. All checklist, application, and standard forms necessary for submission are included in the Grants.gov application package. Applications that are incomplete or fail to comply with the required content and formatting requirements will not be considered for funding. i. Content and Format: Each page must be on numbered, letter-sized (81⁄2 x 11) paper utilizing a white background that has 1″ margins; and the text of the application must be typed, single spaced, black, and in a font no smaller than 12 point. ii. Executive Summary (1-page maximum): On a single page, provide the applicant entity name, duration of project in months, amount of Federal funding requested, amount of nonFederal cost-share/match funding committed, and project title. Identify geographic locations, and describe in non-technical language the issue or problem rural communities have in accessing economic development planning resources, the objectives to address this issue, the innovative approach to be employed (including the role of participating partners), how impact will be quantified, and the predicted benefits or deliverables of the project. iii. Standard Application Form: Standard Form 424, ‘‘Application for Federal Assistance’’ is included as part of the application package posted on Grants.gov. Instructions for completing the form are also included. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41049 iv. Applicant Qualifications (1–2 pages): Summary of the qualifications of the applicant organization is required. Interested applicant must have the organizational capacity, experience, and knowledge of rural planning needs and must meet the following minimum requirements: a. Demonstrate national structure and/or capacity to support multiple rural planning activities across the nation; b. Demonstrate knowledge and prior experience in regional planning, particularly related to rural issues; c. Demonstrate capacity to assist rural communities to develop regional plans such as access to data for needs assessment and planners and other technical capacity on staff; and d. Demonstrate knowledge and prior experience of leveraging other community-driven plans or projects such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) or other Federally-recognized regional economic development plans. v. Key Personnel Qualifications (1–2 pages): Summary of the qualifications of each key person, including the project director, is required. Resumes or CVs will not be accepted. The summary should include relevant education, years of relevant experience, a description of skills relevant to the person’s work on the proposed project, and the person’s key accomplishments. If you expect to contract out a portion of the proposed work, but have not hired the contractor, you must include a summary of the qualifications you will require from the contractor. vi. Project Proposal (15-page maximum): The project proposal must include a proposed Work Plan, along with the following information in order: a. Project Background. b. Project Objectives. c. Project Approach/Methods. d. Theory of Change. e. Geographic Locations or Project Areas. f. Project Management (Applicants are required to include a Work Plan Chart that lists each major Task by Key Personnel involved, Time Period of the task, Substantial Involvement of Rural Development staff, Deliverables, and Budget associated with each task). g. Performance Metrics. h. Graphics, References, Citations (Do not count against the 15-page maximum). A Work Plan Chart template is available for applicants as part of this funding opportunity on grants.gov. vii. Budget Information (10-page maximum): The budget portion of the application consists of two parts as described below: E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 41050 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices a. Standard Form (SF) 424A, ‘‘Budget Information’’: Non-Construction Programs. The SF–424A is included as part of the application package posted on Grants.gov. b. Detailed Budget Narrative: Provide a detailed narrative in support of the budget for the project, broken down by task. Discuss how the budget specifically supports the proposed activities. Justify the project cost effectiveness and include justification for personnel and consultant salaries with a description of duties. Statement(s) of work for any subcontractors and consultants must be included as part of the application. The budget narrative should include both the Federal funds requested and the applicant’s matching funds. The format of the budget narrative can be in a chart, spreadsheet, table, etc. It should be readable on letter-size, printable pages. The information needs to be presented in such a way that the reviewers can readily understand what expenses are incurred to support the project. viii. Certifications: All proposals must include the following signed certification forms, which are available at Grants.gov: a. AD–3030, ‘‘Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.’’ The AD–3030 must be submitted if entity is a corporate nonprofit or for-profit corporation as indicated in the applicants SAM registration. b. AD–3030, ‘‘Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.’’ The AD–3030 must be submitted if entity is a corporate nonprofit or for-profit corporation as indicated in the applicants SAM registration. c. SF–424B, ‘‘Assurances for NonConstruction Programs.’’ The SF–242B must be completed by all applicants. d. SF–424B, ‘‘Assurances for NonConstruction Programs.’’ The SF–242B must be completed by all applicants. ix. Verification of Matching Funds. You must provide verification of all matching funds that will be contributed to the project. You must include a letter signed by the donating organization’s authorized representative on the organization’s letterhead that identifies the amount of matching funds, the time period during which matching funds will be available, and the source of the funds (e.g., cash on hand, etc.). See Section Eligibility Information (C 3) for more information. x. Risk Review: The Agency may request additional documentation from selected applicants in order to evaluate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 the financial, management, and performance risk posed by awardees as required by 2 CFR 200.205. Based on this risk review, the Agency may apply special conditions that correspond to the degree of risk assessed. xi. National Environmental Policy Act: This Notice has been reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, ‘‘Environmental Policies and Procedures.’’ We have determined that an Environmental Impact Statement is not required because the issuance of regulations and instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing the Agency’s financial programs is categorically excluded in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation found at 7 CFR 1970.53(f). We have determined that this Notice does not constitute a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. xii. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements: All awards made under this Notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as required by 7 CFR part 15, subpart A and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. 3. Unique entity identifier and System for Award Management (SAM). DUNS and SAM Numbers: Each applicant (unless the applicant is an individual excepted from those requirements under 2 CFR 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 2 CFR 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid unique entity identifier (Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number) in its application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal awarding agency. The Agency may not make a Federal award to an applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time Agency is ready to make a Federal award, Agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. Applicants must obtain a DUNS and register in SAM prior to registering with Grants.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early for their DUNS number and SAM registration. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 i. Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number: A DUNS number is a unique, nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of over 70 million businesses worldwide. Applicants must obtain a DUNS number. Information on how to obtain a DUNS number can be found at https://fedgov.dnb.com/ webform or by calling 1–866–705–5711. Please note that the registration may take up to 14 business days to complete. ii. System for Award Management (SAM) Registration: SAM is the official Federal system that consolidated the capabilities of Central Contractor Registry, Federal Agency Registration, Online Representations and Certifications Application, and Excluded Parties List System. To register, go to: https://www.sam.gov/ portal/public/SAM/. Please allow a minimum of 5 days to complete the SAM registration. 4. Submission Dates and Times. Midnight Eastern Standard Time on September 5, 2018. You must submit your application using Grants.gov by the deadline date and time. Note that there are registration requirements for submitting applications using the Grants.gov system. We recommend that you review the instructions for registering as soon as possible, but at least two weeks before you plan to submit your application. The requirements can be viewed at: https:// grants.gov/applicants/organization_ registration.jsp. Your application will be rejected by Grants.gov if you miss the deadline. We will not accept it in a different format, and we will not consider it for funding. i. Acknowledgement of receipt: Grants.gov provides receipt of application submissions. The Agency acknowledges receipt of proposals received by the submission deadline via email. An applicant who does not receive such an email acknowledgement within 5 business days of the submission deadline, but believes the proposal was submitted within the submission deadline, must contact the Agency at 202–568–9832 or Christine.Sorensen@wdc.usda.gov within 10 business days of the submission deadline. Failure to do so may result in the proposal not being considered. ii. Withdrawal: Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice at any time before award execution. Written notice of withdrawal must be signed by the applicant or an authorized representative. All required application documents must be submitted by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices September 5 via www.grants.gov AND by emailing RD.Innovation@ osec.usda.gov. Submitting an application through www.grants.gov requires completing a variety of tasks and steps. There are also several preliminary registration steps before the applicant can submit the application. To register in the Grants.gov system, go to www.grants.gov, click on ‘‘Applicants’’, then click on ‘‘Get Registered.’’ If you have completed a prior Grants.gov application, you may already have completed the registration process. Please allow sufficient time to register in Grants.gov, and for possible system delays. Below are instructions for accessing the forms necessary to complete an application in Grants.gov: i. Go to www.grants.gov. Information about submitting an application using Grants.gov is located on the Grants.gov website, along with supplementary materials. ii. Select the ‘‘Applicant’’ tab. iii. Select the ‘‘Apply for Grants’’ heading. iv. Click on ‘‘Get Application Package.’’ Follow all steps. v. Provide the ‘‘Funding Opportunity Number’’ or return to the ‘‘Search Grants’’ section. vi. All necessary forms are included within the Grants.gov ‘‘Application Package.’’ Applications not received through Grants.gov by the submission due date and time are not accepted for consideration. The emailed application must be assembled into one pdf file document in the order specified in section IV, part A. All applications must contain all of the elements of a complete package and meet the requirements described in this announcement. Grants.gov provides instructions for submitting the required application items through the portal. Application receipt date and time will be determined by the respective systemgenerated documentation of receipt date and time (Grants.gov provides date and time stamps for all proposals submitted through the portal). The Agency is not responsible for any technical malfunctions or website problems related to Grants.gov or emailed submissions. If you encounter issues with Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov help desk at (800) 518– 4726 or support@grants.gov. The applicant assumes the risk of any delays in application submission through Grants.gov. 5. Intergovernmental Review. Intergovernmental Review: Executive Order (E.O.) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, applies to VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 this program. This E.O. requires that Federal agencies provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with State and local governments. Many States have established a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of States that maintain an SPOC may be obtained at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/ grants_spoc. If your State has an SPOC, you must submit your application directly for review. Any comments obtained through the SPOC must be provided to us for consideration as part of your application. If your State has not established an SPOC, we will submit your application to the appropriate agency or agencies at our discretion. Applications from Federally-recognized Indian Tribes are not subject to Intergovernmental Review. 6. Funding Restrictions. i. Pre-award Costs. Pre-award costs are not authorized. ii. Use of Funds. Award funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent of the project costs. iii. Period of Performance. The maximum Period of Performance is 2 years. Applicants should anticipate a Period of Performance beginning September 30, 2018 and ending no later September 30, 2020. iv. Indirect Cost Rate. The indirect cost rate is limited to 10 percent of direct charges for all nonprofit institutions, including institutions of higher education. All other organizations must use the rate identified in their Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Approval (NICRA). If you do not have a NICRA, you may elect to charge only direct costs to the award. If you have never had a NICRA, you may also choose to use a de minimis rate of 10 percent of modified total direct costs in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414(f). Your indirect cost rate must be included on Form SF–424A. v. Program Income. If you expect to earn Program Income during the Period of Performance, you must identify the amount and how you expect to use it (e.g. Matching Funds) in your application. If your application is funded, unexpected Program Income or Program Income earned in excess of the amount you identify in your application will be deducted from the Federal share of the project in accordance with 2 CFR 200.307(e)(1). vi. Prohibited Costs. In addition to costs identified as unallowable by 2 CFR part 200, the following costs are prohibited for this program. Neither award funds nor matching funds can be used to pay for the following types of expenses. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41051 a. Duplicating services currently provided; b. Funding a revolving loan fund; c. Construction (in any form); d. Salaries for positions involved in construction, renovations, rehabilitation, and any oversight of these types of activities; e. Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients; f. Funding prostitution, gambling, or any illegal activities; g. Grants to individuals; h. Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or an appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the Agency; i. Providing assistance to only one individual, organization, or business; j. Paying obligations incurred before the beginning date without prior Agency approval or after the ending date of the cooperative agreement; k. Purchasing real estate; l. Improvement or renovation of the recipient’s office space or for the repair or maintenance of privately owned vehicles; m. Any purpose prohibited in 2 CFR part 200 or 400; n. Using cooperative agreement assistance or matching funds for Individual Development Accounts; o. Purchasing vehicles. V. Application Review Information Applications will first be reviewed to determine if they meet the eligibility requirements and comply with the funding restrictions in this Notice. If we determine that your application is ineligible, we will discontinue processing it, which means that we will not evaluate it further or provide any scoring information. We will notify you in writing regarding the reason(s) for ineligibility, and we will provide a description of your options if you believe that our determination is incorrect. Note that in the event that our determination is reversed, either due to the discovery of an Agency error or through a formal appeal, funding is restricted to available fiscal year 2018 funds. If your application is determined to be eligible, we will further evaluate it based on the following criteria. All applications will be competitively ranked and the minimum score requirements for a cooperative agreement award under this Notice is 60 points. 1. Evaluation Criteria: We will only use the information that you provide in your application to evaluate your proposed project. We will not review references to websites or publications, so we encourage you to fully address each criterion. E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 41052 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices i. Soundness of Approach (0–20 points). The applicant can receive up to 20 points for soundness of approach. The maximum 20 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. The objectives must be clearly stated in the proposal and the applicant must define how this proposal will be implemented. The applicant must demonstrate how the proposal will strengthen the capacity of rural communities in developing and implementing regional plans for economic development. The applicant must demonstrate how the proposed technical assistance includes both the planning and implementation components referenced in Section C. The applicant must also demonstrate how the proposed technical assistance will expand rural communities’ ability to access funding and planning resources to convene community members. The applicant must also demonstrate how the proposal will support implementation of regional economic development plans and should include descriptions on how proposed technical assistance will result in actionable steps to support implementation of these plans. (10 points) b. The applicant clearly outlines their ability to provide the proposed technical assistance based on clearly stated and well-documented prior accomplishments. (5 points) c. The proposal clearly outlines how it will implement activities to support alignment with one or more of the five key strategies (achieving e-connectivity, developing the rural economy, harnessing technological innovation, supporting a rural workforce, and improving quality of life in Rural America) the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force Report. (5 points) ii. Partnerships (0–25 points). The applicant can receive up to 25 points for quality of the applicant’s existing partnerships and proposed new partnerships for this effort. The applicant must recruit one or more private and/or public partners to meet match requirements and maximize leveraging of regional economic development plans developed through this project. The maximum 25 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. The applicant demonstrates how their proposal will focus on the quantity and quality of partnerships, including the ability to leverage new partners that have previously had limited engagement with RD projects or priorities to leverage resources, enhance technical assistance, and/or increase reach to underserved areas. The proposal must demonstrate VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 that partners with shared missions and goals will be engaged to amplify reach in rural areas. (10 points) b. The applicant demonstrates how their proposal will support the quantity and quality of match commitments to support this project, and percentage of match in cash form versus in-kind contributions. (5 points) c. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will support the ability of applicant to leverage other community-driven plans or projects such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) or other Federally-recognized regional economic development plans. (5 points) d. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will utilize partnerships outside of RD. The applicant will identify such partnerships and will demonstrate how they will provide access to such partnerships to support implementation of projects identified through development of regional economic development plans. (10 points) iii. Innovation (0–10 points). The applicant can receive up to 10 points for innovative methods and practices to support development of regional economic development plans. The maximum 10 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. The applicant’s proposal should demonstrate the ability of the applicant to propose methods and practices to utilize unique and innovative planning methods that are currently not being implemented at scale. (5 points) b. The applicant’s proposal should demonstrate the ability of the applicant to demonstrate that the proposed innovative methods and practices have been field-tested and ready to scale. (5 points) We are looking for unique and innovative ideas that are not currently being implemented at scale, so projects that propose innovative solutions that haven’t been readily deployed before will receive higher points. iv. Organizational Capacity & Qualifications (0–15 points). The applicant can receive up to 15 points based on organizational capacity and qualifications. The maximum 15 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. The applicant’s proposal should demonstrate that the applicant has knowledge and prior experience in regional planning, particularly related to rural issues. The applicant should specify years of experience, types of communities served, and outcomes achieved. (10 points) b. The applicant’s proposal should demonstrate that the applicant has identified appropriate key personnel, PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 both in terms of number of personnel and qualifications of personnel, to carry out the approach identified. Capacity of personnel to access data for needs assessments and access to planners and other technical experts will be evaluated. (5 points) v. Work Plan (0–15 points). The applicant can receive up to 15 points based on the quality of the proposed work plan and approach. The maximum 15 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. Applicants should use the approved work plan template to include the following information: Description of objective, background approach, timeframe for key tasks along with substantial involvement, budget and deliverables that are necessary to implement project to support regional economic development planning in rural communities. Reasonableness and appropriateness of key tasks will be evaluated based on proposed project approach. (5 points) b. The applicant’s proposal should include a description of the types and general locations of rural communities to be served through this project, including the ability to support multiple rural planning activities across the nation and the reasonableness of effectively serving these communities based on key personnel, established timeframes, and budget. (5 points) c. The applicant’s proposal should include a description and appropriateness of the tasks to incorporate active participation from RD staff. (5 points) vi. Performance Outcomes (0–15 points). The applicant can receive up to 15 points based on the quality of the proposed performance measures to evaluate progress and impacts of proposed project. The maximum 15 points for this criterion will be based on the following: a. The applicant’s proposal should include a description for how the results of the technical assistance will be measured, including the benchmarks to be used to measure effectiveness. Benchmarks should be specific and quantifiable. (10 points) b. The applicant’s proposal should include a description of benchmarks and outcomes achieved during previously deployed planning efforts. (5 points) 2. Review and Selection Process: All eligible applications will be evaluated based on the process described below. i. Review Process. All eligible applications will be evaluated by an Application Review Panel using the criteria described in Section E.1 of this Notice. Panel members will be E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 appointed by the Agency and they will be qualified to evaluate the applications, based on the type of work proposed by the applicant. ii. Selection Process. Applications will be ranked in descending order, according to the scores awarded by the Panel. Applications will be funded in rank order, until all available funds have been expended. Applications at or near the funding line may be funded in part, if the Agency believes an appropriate benefit can result from partial funding and if the applicant agrees to the amount of partial funding. In the event the Agency considers partial funding to be appropriate, we will contact the applicant and negotiate the final work plan and budget prior to approving an award. iii. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates. All awards must be obligated by September 30, 2018. VI. Award Administration Information 1. Federal Award Notices: i. Successful applicants. Successful applicants will be notified in writing by the Agency with a Letter of Conditions (LOC). The LOC is a notice of selection and does not indicate that an award has been approved, nor is it an authorization to begin performance on the award. While there may be special conditions that apply on a case-by-case basis, the following conditions are standard for all successful applicants. a. Complete Form RD 1942–46, ‘‘Letter of Intent to Meet Conditions.’’ b. Complete Form RD 1940–1, ‘‘Request for Obligation of Funds.’’ c. Complete FMMI Vendor Code Request Form. d. Provide a copy of your organization’s Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreement. e. Certify that all work completed for the award will benefit a rural area. f. Certify that you will comply with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and report information about subawards and executive compensation. g. Certify that the U.S. has not obtained an outstanding judgement against your organization in a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax Court). h. Execute Form SF–424B, ‘‘Assurances—Non-Construction Programs.’’ i. Execute Form SF–LLL, ‘‘Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying,’’ if applicable or certify that your organization does not lobby. j. Execute Form AD–1047, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered Transactions.’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 k. Obtain a certification on Form AD– 1048, ‘‘Certification Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-Lower Tier Covered Transactions,’’ from anyone you do business with as a result of this award. l. Execute Form AD–1049, ‘‘Certification Regarding a Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (Grants).’’ m. Execute Form AD–3031, ‘‘Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.’’ n. Execute Form RD 400–4, ‘‘Assurance Agreement.’’ Once the conditions described in the LOC have been met, the award will be approved through the execution of Form RD 4280–2 in conjunction with the RDCA Program Attachment. If an applicant is unable to meet the conditions of the award within 90 calendar days, the award will be withdrawn. ii. Unsuccessful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing no later than October 31, 2018. 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. The terms of the award are available at: https:// forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/ eFileServices/eForms/RD4280-2.PDF. 3. Reporting Requirements. The following reporting requirements apply to awards made through this program. i. Performance Reports: Form SF– PPR, ‘‘Performance Progress Report,’’ must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: January 1– March 31, April 1–June 30, July 1– September 30, and October 1–December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of performance, whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final performance reports must be submitted electronically to 202–568–9832 or Christine.Sorensen@wdc.usda.gov. ii. Financial Report: Form SF–425, ‘‘Federal Financial Report’’ must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: January 1– March 31, April 1–June 30, July 1– September 30, October 1–December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of performance, whichever is comes first. Both quarterly and final reports must be submitted electronically to Christine.Sorensen@wdc.usda.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 41053 iii. Report Suitable for Public Distribution: A report suitable for public distribution that describes the accomplishments of the project is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project. There is no format prescribed for this report, but it is expected that it will be 1–2 pages in length and describe the project in such a way that a member of the public not familiar with the project would gain an understanding of the impact of the project. VII. Federal Awarding Agency Contact If you have questions, you may contact Christine Sorensen at 202–568– 9832 or Christine.Sorensen@ wdc.usda.gov. VIII. Notice to Applicants The Federal Government is not obligated to make any Federal award as a result of this announcement. Only authorized Federal officials can bind the Federal Government to the expenditure of funds. IX. Nondiscrimination Statement In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program. Political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA (not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing deadlines vary by program or incident. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible Agency or USDA’s TARTET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877–8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD– 3027, found online at: https:// www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_ cust.html, and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 41054 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 information requested in the form. To request a copy of a complaint form, call, (866) 632–9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: 1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250–9410; 2. Fax: (202) 690–7442; or 3. Email at: program.intake@usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: August 10, 2018. Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary, USDA Rural Development. BILLING CODE 3410–15–P E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices 41055 RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INNOVATION (REDI) FY18 COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT APPLICATION PACKAGE CHECKLIST D Application Forms (in Grants.gov application package). D Executive Summary (1-page maximum). D Applicant Qualifications (1-2 pages). D Key Personnel Qualifications (1-2 pages). D Project Proposal (15-page maximum). D Project Background. D Project Objectives. D Project Methods. D Geographic Location or Project Areas. D Project Management (Applicants are required to include a Work Plan Chart that lists each major Task by Key Personnel involved, Time Period of the task, Substantial Involvement of Rural Development staff, Deliverables, and Budget associated with each task). D Performance Measures. D Graphics, References, Citations (Do not count against the 15-page maximum) partners, etc.). D Budget Information (10-page maximum). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 EN17AU18.022</GPH> amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 D Letters of Support (i.e. match requirement, additional resource commitment from 41056 [FR Doc. 2018–17765 Filed 8–16–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–15–C DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Housing Service Establishment of Maximum Interest Rate Rural Housing Service, USDA. ACTION: Request for information. AGENCY: The Rural Housing Service (RHS or Agency) seeks public comments on updating the provisions of the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program (SFHGLP), specifically regarding the maximum interest rate, its impact on loan making to potential SFHGLP borrowers, and possible changes to the interest rate cap. RHS is soliciting input regarding the maximum interest rate to help the Agency determine whether the interest rate cap should be modified in order to support the agency’s mission to offer applicants, who are unable to secure the credit necessary for such housing from other sources under conventional credit terms, an opportunity to acquire new or existing housing for use as a primary residence; finance the repair and rehabilitation costs associated with the purchase of the home; and refinance an existing Section 502 loan to lower the interest rate. These opportunities are provided to applicants under terms and conditions which the applicant can reasonably be expected to fulfill. DATES: Written Comments: Interested parties must submit written comments on or before October 16, 2018. ADDRESSES: Submit comments in either paper or electronic format by the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Follow instructions for submitting comments. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:17 Aug 16, 2018 Jkt 244001 • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send your comments addressed to Kate Jensen, Finance and Loan Analyst, Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, USDA Rural Development, 1400 Independence Avenue, STOP 0784, Room 2250, Washington, DC 20250–1522. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Jensen, Finance and Loan Analyst, at kate.jensen@wdc.usda.gov or (503) 894– 2382. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background RHS delivers programs authorized by the Housing Act of 1949, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1472 et seq.) (Housing Act). The preamble to the Housing Act declares that every American deserves a ‘‘decent home and a suitable living environment.’’ RHS guarantees a variety of housing loans for home purchases, repair, and rental housing development in rural areas. The SFHGLP provides low- and moderate-income borrowers access to mortgage credit by guaranteeing loans issued by agencyapproved private sector lenders. Loans may finance the full construction and acquisition cost of a property up to 100 percent of the appraised value. Mortgages have 30-year terms and fixed rates negotiated with the lender that cannot exceed an interest rate cap that is determined by the Agency. Financing may also be used to refinance existing USDA guaranteed or direct loans. The program maintains its neutral or slightly negative subsidy status through guarantee and annual loan fees. Request for Comment Stakeholder input is vital to ensure that the maximum interest rate continues to support the agency’s mission and not overly burden SFHGLP lenders and their customers. Currently, the maximum allowable interest rate is defined in Section 7.3.B of the program handbook (available at https:// PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 www.rd.usda.gov/files/35551chapter07.pdf) as the current Fannie Mae posted yield for 90-day delivery (Actual/Actual), plus one percent for 30year fixed rate conventional loans, rounded up to the nearest one quarter of one percent. The Agency is considering whether to modify the maximum interest rate and would like stakeholder feedback on the issue. The following questions and discussion items are posed to guide stakeholder comments. Where possible, RHS requests that comments include specific suggestions regarding ways to improve existing programs and delivery mechanisms and eliminate or minimize the duplication of RHS’s regulation and policies with work performed by other entities, including federal, state, and local agencies. RHS welcomes pertinent comments that are beyond the scope of these questions. 1. Should the Agency continue with the requirement that the maximum allowable interest rate shall not exceed the current Federal National Mortgage Association posted yield for 90-day delivery (Actual/Actual) plus one percent for 30-year fixed rate conventional loans, rounded up to the nearest one quarter of one percent? 2. Should the Agency consider indexing the maximum allowable interest rate to a source other than the Federal National Mortgage Association? 3. Should a higher maximum allowable interest rate cap be established? If so, what maximum rate is recommended, and why? 4. Does the current maximum interest rate create any barriers to loan making in eligible rural areas? If so, how and under what circumstances? 5. What effect would increasing or eliminating the maximum interest rate have for loan originators and borrowers in underserved populations and rural communities? 6. If the maximum allowable interest rate cap were to be increased or E:\FR\FM\17AUN1.SGM 17AUN1 EN17AU18.023</GPH> Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 160 / Friday, August 17, 2018 / Notices

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 160 (Friday, August 17, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41046-41056]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-17765]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

Rural Housing Service

Rural Utilities Service


Rural Development Cooperative Agreement Program

AGENCY: Rural Development USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development (Agency) 
is seeking applications to support regional economic development 
planning efforts in rural communities under the Rural Economic 
Development Innovation (REDI) initiative. This funding opportunity will 
be administered by the Rural Development Innovation Center, in 
partnership with the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. The Agency is 
announcing up to $750,000 in competitive cooperative agreement funds in 
fiscal year (FY) 2018. Rural Development Agency may select one, 
multiple, or no award recipients. The Agency reserves the right to 
withhold the awarding of any funds if no application receives a score 
of at least 60 points.
    This Notice lists the information needed to submit an application 
for these funds. This Notice announces that the Agency is accepting FY 
2018 applications to support REDI.

DATES: The deadline for receipt of a complete application is midnight 
Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5, via www.grants.gov. 
The Agency will not consider any application received after the 
deadline. After an applicant submits an application via grants.gov, all 
applicants must email [email protected] to confirm 
application and receipt of the application package. Applicants who have 
been selected for funding will receive a letter of official 
notification and will be awarded a cooperative agreement authorized 
under 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). Pending funding availability, all awards 
will be made no later than September 30, 2018.

[[Page 41047]]

Applicants should plan their projects based on a start date of 
September 30, 2018 and must be completed within 24 months.

ADDRESSES: The deadline for receipt of an application is midnight 
Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5, 2018. Applications may 
be submitted electronically through the Grants.gov system or through 
email to [email protected]. Note that there are registration 
requirements for submitting applications using the Grants.gov system. 
We recommend that you review the instructions for registering as soon 
as possible, but at least two weeks before you plan to submit your 
application. The requirements can be viewed at: https://grants.gov/applicants/organization_registration.jsp. Your application will be 
rejected by Grants.gov if you miss the deadline and the Agency will not 
consider any application received after the deadline.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Question about this announcement can 
be directed to Christine Sorensen, Regional Coordinator, via 202-568-
9832 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Preface

    The Agency encourages applications that will support 
recommendations made in the Rural Prosperity Task Force report to help 
improve life in rural America (www.usda.gov/ruralprosperity). 
Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable 
results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable 
economies through strategic investments in infrastructure, 
partnerships, and innovation. Key strategies include:
     Achieving e-Connectivity for Rural America.
     Developing the Rural Economy.
     Harnessing Technological Innovation.
     Supporting a Rural Workforce.
     Improving Quality of Life.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    It is anticipated that the anticipated number of respondents 
affected by this information collection is less than 10 entities and 
therefore, this Notice contains no reporting or recordkeeping 
provisions requiring Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

Overview

    Federal Agency Name: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural 
Development.
    Funding Opportunity Title: Rural Development Cooperative Agreement 
Program.
    Announcement Type: Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 10.890.
    Application Due Date: All required application documents must be 
submitted by midnight Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, September 5 
electronically via www.grants.gov. Applicants submitting proposals must 
also confirm receipt and email [email protected] to confirm 
application and receipt of the application package. Applicants who have 
been selected for funding will receive a letter of official 
notification. Pending funding availability, all awards will be made no 
later than September 30, 2018. Applicants should plan their projects 
based on a start date of September 30, 2018 and must be completed 
within 24 months.
    For More Information: Questions about this announcement can be 
directed to Christine Sorensen, Regional Coordinator, via 202-568-9832 
or [email protected].

A. Program Description

    USDA Rural Development (RD) is authorized to administer cooperative 
agreement awards in accordance with 7 U.S.C. 2204b(b)(4). Rural 
Economic Development Innovation (REDI) aims to strengthen the capacity 
of rural communities (50,000 people or less in the United States plus 
Tribes and territories) in implementing strategic community and 
economic development plans as referenced in Section 379H of the 
Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2008v). The goal 
of this funding announcement is to solicit applications to provide 
cooperative agreement funding to eligible applicants to enable them to 
provide technical assistance and training and actionable planning of 
implementation of strategic community and economic development plans. 
Supporting regional economic development plans help rural communities 
overcome multi-jurisdictional challenges and better leverage Federal, 
state, local or private funding.
    For purposes of this proposal, a quality regional economic plan 
will include but not be limited to the following:
     Evidence-based understanding of community assets, 
challenges and opportunities.
     Goals are focused, logical, targeted and timely with tasks 
identified and with a responsible party assigned.
     The plan was created through broad community 
participation, public input and buy-in.
     The format must be persuasive in a non-technical manner.
     The plan makes clear how each of its strategies is 
intended to help produce, either directly or indirectly, improvements 
in the local and regional economy.
     Regional economic development plans developed through REDI 
assistance should identify possible projects to be funded through RD 
programs and/or other Federal, state, local or private sector 
resources.
    This funding opportunity expands rural communities' ability to 
access planning resources to convene, identify needs, create actionable 
economic development plans, and implement project priorities to improve 
quality of life in rural communities. Quality of life is a measure of 
human well-being that can be identified though economic and social 
indicators. Modern utilities, affordable housing, efficient 
transportation and reliable employment are economic indicators that 
must be integrated with social indicators like access to medical 
services, public safety, education and community resilience to empower 
rural communities to thrive. Economic development plans developed 
through this funding opportunity should focus on one or more of these 
economic and/or social indicators.
    Applicants are encouraged to consider regional planning projects 
that provide measurable results in helping rural communities built 
robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments in 
infrastructure, partnerships, and innovation. Such projects should also 
support rural communities' ability to qualify for priority funding 
under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act 
[7 U.S.C. 2008v].
    This approach to comprehensive rural community development is 
unique in its attempt to improve rural communities in a way that is (1) 
rooted in emphasizing partnerships and collaboration among multiple 
public agencies and community partners and (2) focused on combining 
state resources to make wide-ranging quality-of-life impacts as opposed 
to separate, piecemeal, incremental improvements.

[[Page 41048]]

B. Federal Award Information

    1. Estimated Funding: Interested applicants shall only propose 
applications with scope of work/budget that does not exceed $750,000 in 
Federal funding.
    2. Start Date and Performance Period: Projects may be up to 2 years 
in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on a project 
start date of September 30, 2018 and a project end date of no later 
than September 30, 2020.
    3. Type of Federal Award: Cooperative Agreement. Rural Development 
will be substantially involved in the work performed under each 
approved cooperative agreement. Substantial involvement may include but 
is not limited to collaboration, participation, oversight, and control 
of the following:
    i. Authority to suspend work if specification or work statements 
are not met;
    ii. Review and approval of one stage of work before another may 
begin;
    iii. Review and approval of substantive provisions of proposed sub-
grants or contracts;
    iv. Prior review and approval of key personnel; and
    v. Agency collaboration and coordination with respect to 
deliverables and execution of the work plan. At a minimum, applicants 
should anticipate Agency participation in the selection of communities 
to receive regional planning assistance; the convening of community 
members, partners, and stakeholders; the delivery of training on RD 
programs and/or economic development principles; and the review/
approval of regional economic development plans for purposes of 
priority funding under Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act (7 U.S.C. 2008v).
    4. Number of Awards: The Agency anticipates that it may select one, 
multiple, or no award recipients from this notice of funding 
availability. The Agency reserves the right to withhold the awarding of 
any funds if no application receives a minimum score of at least 60 
points.
    5. Eligibility of renewal or Supplemental Project Applications: 
Applications for renewal or supplementation of any existing Federal 
awards are not eligible for this new Federal award. An application for 
renewal means a proposal submitted to continue an existing agreement by 
adding components to an existing agreement in order to meet the 
objectives of this solicitation.

C. Eligibility Information

    Applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements 
by the application deadline. Applications which fail to meet any of 
these requirements by the application deadline will be deemed 
ineligible and will not be evaluated further and will not receive a 
Federal award.
    1. Applicant Eligibility: Federally-recognized Tribes, institutions 
of higher education, nonprofit organizations, or private organizations 
with a demonstrated national structure and/or capacity to deliver and 
support multiple rural planning activities across the nation are 
eligible applicants. Entities are not eligible if they have been 
debarred or suspended or otherwise excluded from or ineligible for 
participation in Federal assistance programs under Executive Order 
12549, ``Debarment and Suspension.'' In addition, an applicant will be 
considered ineligible for a cooperative agreement due to an outstanding 
judgment obtained by the U.S. in a Federal Court (other than U.S. Tax 
Court), is delinquent on the payment of Federal income taxes, or is 
delinquent on Federal debt.
    2. Eligible Project Purposes: The Project purpose must be to 
strengthen the capacity of rural communities (50,000 people or less in 
the United States plus Tribes and territories) in developing and 
implementing regional plans for economic development as referenced in 
Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act. 
Eligible project purposes must include the two facets of technical 
assistance:
    i. Planning Technical Assistance: The proposed project should 
provide planning technical assistance to rural communities by assisting 
in the development of regional economic development plans. Proposals 
should include descriptions on how technical assistance will result in 
actionable steps to support implementation of these plans. The proposed 
project should also provide technical assistance to expand rural 
communities' ability to access funding and planning resources to 
convene community members.
    ii. Implementation Technical Assistance: The proposed project 
should provide technical assistance toward implementation of the 
project priorities emerging from the regional economic development 
plans. The technical assistance should include strategies for enhancing 
communities' efforts at leveraging Federal, state, local, and/or 
private funding to build resilient communities and improve quality of 
life. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will utilize 
partnerships outside of RD. The applicant will identify such 
partnerships and will demonstrate how they will provide access to such 
partnerships to support implementation of projects identified through 
development of regional economic development plans. The proposed 
project should also describe how it will support implementation of 
multi-jurisdictional and/or multi-sector regional economic development 
plans, as described in Section 379H of the Consolidated Farm and Rural 
Development Act.
    3. Cost Sharing or Matching Requirements: There is a dollar or in-
kind matching requirement that is at least equal to the amount of the 
cooperative agreement award. If this matching fund requirement is not 
met, the application will be deemed ineligible. Matching requirements 
are cash, confirmed funding commitments and/or third party in-kind 
contributions as defined in 2 CFR 200.96. that are at least equal to 
the cooperative agreement amount and committed for a period of not less 
than the cooperative agreement performance period. Applicants must 
recruit one or more private and/or public partner(s) to match one-for-
one (in cash and/or in-kind contributions) the applicant's proposed 
funding request. Cost sharing/matching must be committed at the time of 
application submission. Applications must include written verification 
of commitments of cost sharing or matching support (including both cash 
and in-kind contributions) from third parties. Cost sharing or matching 
funds must meet the criteria stated at 2 CFR 200.306 and be valued in 
accordance with 2 CFR 200.306(d).
    Additional details about cost sharing or matching funds/
contributions is located at 2 CFR 200.306. Applicant matching funds 
must be included in the budget narrative. For matching funds offered by 
project partners, a separate commitment letter is required for each 
cash and/or in-kind match contribution. Commitment letters must be 
signed by the authorized organizational representative of the 
contributing organization and the applicant organization, which must 
include: (i) The name, address, and telephone number of the 
contributor; (ii) the name of the applicant organization; (iii) the 
title of the project for which the contribution is made, (iv) the 
dollar amount of the contribution; and (v) a statement that the 
contributor commits to furnish the contribution during the cooperative 
agreement period.

[[Page 41049]]

    Applications without signed written commitments are deemed 
incomplete and will be ineligible. The value of applicant contributions 
to the project is established according to Federal cost principles. 
Applicants should refer to 2 CFR 200.306 for additional guidance on 
matching funds, in-kind contributions, and allowable costs.
    4. Substantial Involvement: Proposed project must include a 
component that allows for active participation by the Agency in the 
majority of tasks. Examples of substantial involvement include but are 
not limited to the following: Joint-selection of communities to receive 
regional planning assistance; joint-convening of community members, 
partners, and stakeholders; joint-delivery of training on RD programs 
and/or economic development principles; and joint-review/approval of 
regional economic development plans for purposes of priority funding 
under Section 6025 Strategic Economic and Community Development. It is 
the intent of this project to engage Agency and state RD staff in the 
development of regional economic development plans and it is the 
responsibility of the applicant to identify tasks where RD staff can 
provide substantial involvement in the project. If you do not identify 
those tasks, your application is not eligible for funding.
    5. Use of Funds: Use of project funds (including Federal and 
matching) must be consistent with the project purpose to strengthen the 
capacity of rural communities in developing and implementing regional 
plans for economic development. A non-exclusive list of eligible fund 
uses include: Costs incurred for the services of personnel actually 
engaged in the project, including share of employee benefits, travel 
and per diem expenses, costs of expendable supplies, and travel and per 
diem expenses associated with travel to USDA Headquarters in 
Washington, DC to coordinate and collaborate on project tasks. Use of 
funds must be allowable in adherence with 2 CFR part 200.
    If you include funds in your budget that are unallowable, RD will 
consider the application for funding only if the unallowable costs 
total 10 percent or less of the total project budget, including Federal 
and matching funds. However, if the application is successful, those 
unallowable costs must be removed from the budget before RD will make 
an award. If RD cannot determine the percentage of unallowable costs or 
the amount of those costs exceeds 10 percent of the total project 
budget, the application will not be considered for funding.
    6. Rural Area: The project must directly benefit a rural area. All 
ultimate beneficiaries and/or subrecipients must be located in rural 
areas, and any activities or tasks must occur in rural areas. The term 
`rural area' means the Rural Business Service's Rural Area definition 
as out lined in Section 343(a)(13)(A)(i) of the Consolidated Farm and 
Rural Development Act which states: Any area other than: (1) A city or 
town that has a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants; and (2) 
any urbanized area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town.
    7. Number of Applications: You cannot submit more than one 
application for this Notice.

D. Application and Submission Information

    1. Address to Request Application Page. All necessary forms can be 
found within the Grants.gov ``Application Package.''
    2. Content and Form of Application Submission. There is no pre-
application process for this announcement. All checklist, application, 
and standard forms necessary for submission are included in the 
Grants.gov application package. Applications that are incomplete or 
fail to comply with the required content and formatting requirements 
will not be considered for funding.
    i. Content and Format: Each page must be on numbered, letter-sized 
(8\1/2\ x 11) paper utilizing a white background that has 1'' margins; 
and the text of the application must be typed, single spaced, black, 
and in a font no smaller than 12 point.
    ii. Executive Summary (1-page maximum): On a single page, provide 
the applicant entity name, duration of project in months, amount of 
Federal funding requested, amount of non-Federal cost-share/match 
funding committed, and project title. Identify geographic locations, 
and describe in non-technical language the issue or problem rural 
communities have in accessing economic development planning resources, 
the objectives to address this issue, the innovative approach to be 
employed (including the role of participating partners), how impact 
will be quantified, and the predicted benefits or deliverables of the 
project.
    iii. Standard Application Form: Standard Form 424, ``Application 
for Federal Assistance'' is included as part of the application package 
posted on Grants.gov. Instructions for completing the form are also 
included.
    iv. Applicant Qualifications (1-2 pages): Summary of the 
qualifications of the applicant organization is required. Interested 
applicant must have the organizational capacity, experience, and 
knowledge of rural planning needs and must meet the following minimum 
requirements:
    a. Demonstrate national structure and/or capacity to support 
multiple rural planning activities across the nation;
    b. Demonstrate knowledge and prior experience in regional planning, 
particularly related to rural issues;
    c. Demonstrate capacity to assist rural communities to develop 
regional plans such as access to data for needs assessment and planners 
and other technical capacity on staff; and
    d. Demonstrate knowledge and prior experience of leveraging other 
community-driven plans or projects such as Comprehensive Economic 
Development Strategies (CEDS) or other Federally-recognized regional 
economic development plans.
    v. Key Personnel Qualifications (1-2 pages): Summary of the 
qualifications of each key person, including the project director, is 
required. Resumes or CVs will not be accepted. The summary should 
include relevant education, years of relevant experience, a description 
of skills relevant to the person's work on the proposed project, and 
the person's key accomplishments. If you expect to contract out a 
portion of the proposed work, but have not hired the contractor, you 
must include a summary of the qualifications you will require from the 
contractor.
    vi. Project Proposal (15-page maximum): The project proposal must 
include a proposed Work Plan, along with the following information in 
order:
    a. Project Background.
    b. Project Objectives.
    c. Project Approach/Methods.
    d. Theory of Change.
    e. Geographic Locations or Project Areas.
    f. Project Management (Applicants are required to include a Work 
Plan Chart that lists each major Task by Key Personnel involved, Time 
Period of the task, Substantial Involvement of Rural Development staff, 
Deliverables, and Budget associated with each task).
    g. Performance Metrics.
    h. Graphics, References, Citations (Do not count against the 15-
page maximum).
    A Work Plan Chart template is available for applicants as part of 
this funding opportunity on grants.gov.
    vii. Budget Information (10-page maximum): The budget portion of 
the application consists of two parts as described below:

[[Page 41050]]

    a. Standard Form (SF) 424A, ``Budget Information'': Non-
Construction Programs. The SF-424A is included as part of the 
application package posted on Grants.gov.
    b. Detailed Budget Narrative: Provide a detailed narrative in 
support of the budget for the project, broken down by task. Discuss how 
the budget specifically supports the proposed activities. Justify the 
project cost effectiveness and include justification for personnel and 
consultant salaries with a description of duties. Statement(s) of work 
for any subcontractors and consultants must be included as part of the 
application. The budget narrative should include both the Federal funds 
requested and the applicant's matching funds. The format of the budget 
narrative can be in a chart, spreadsheet, table, etc. It should be 
readable on letter-size, printable pages. The information needs to be 
presented in such a way that the reviewers can readily understand what 
expenses are incurred to support the project.
    viii. Certifications: All proposals must include the following 
signed certification forms, which are available at Grants.gov:
    a. AD-3030, ``Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax 
Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.'' The AD-3030 must be 
submitted if entity is a corporate non-profit or for-profit corporation 
as indicated in the applicants SAM registration.
    b. AD-3030, ``Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax 
Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.'' The AD-3030 must be 
submitted if entity is a corporate non-profit or for-profit corporation 
as indicated in the applicants SAM registration.
    c. SF-424B, ``Assurances for Non-Construction Programs.'' The SF-
242B must be completed by all applicants.
    d. SF-424B, ``Assurances for Non-Construction Programs.'' The SF-
242B must be completed by all applicants.
    ix. Verification of Matching Funds. You must provide verification 
of all matching funds that will be contributed to the project. You must 
include a letter signed by the donating organization's authorized 
representative on the organization's letterhead that identifies the 
amount of matching funds, the time period during which matching funds 
will be available, and the source of the funds (e.g., cash on hand, 
etc.). See Section Eligibility Information (C 3) for more information.
    x. Risk Review: The Agency may request additional documentation 
from selected applicants in order to evaluate the financial, 
management, and performance risk posed by awardees as required by 2 CFR 
200.205. Based on this risk review, the Agency may apply special 
conditions that correspond to the degree of risk assessed.
    xi. National Environmental Policy Act: This Notice has been 
reviewed in accordance with 7 CFR part 1970, ``Environmental Policies 
and Procedures.'' We have determined that an Environmental Impact 
Statement is not required because the issuance of regulations and 
instructions, as well as amendments to them, describing administrative 
and financial procedures for processing, approving, and implementing 
the Agency's financial programs is categorically excluded in the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulation found at 7 CFR 
1970.53(f). We have determined that this Notice does not constitute a 
major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment.
    xii. Civil Rights Compliance Requirements: All awards made under 
this Notice are subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as 
required by 7 CFR part 15, subpart A and Section 504 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
    3. Unique entity identifier and System for Award Management (SAM). 
DUNS and SAM Numbers: Each applicant (unless the applicant is an 
individual excepted from those requirements under 2 CFR 25.110(b) or 
(c), or has an exception approved by the Federal awarding agency under 
2 CFR 25.110(d)) is required to: (i) Be registered in SAM before 
submitting its application; (ii) provide a valid unique entity 
identifier (Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number) in its 
application; and (iii) continue to maintain an active SAM registration 
with current information at all times during which it has an active 
Federal award or an application or plan under consideration by a 
Federal awarding agency. The Agency may not make a Federal award to an 
applicant until the applicant has complied with all applicable unique 
entity identifier and SAM requirements and, if an applicant has not 
fully complied with the requirements by the time Agency is ready to 
make a Federal award, Agency may determine that the applicant is not 
qualified to receive a Federal award and use that determination as a 
basis for making a Federal award to another applicant. Applicants must 
obtain a DUNS and register in SAM prior to registering with Grants.gov. 
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early for their DUNS number 
and SAM registration.
    i. Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number: A DUNS number is 
a unique, nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for 
identifying and keeping track of over 70 million businesses worldwide. 
Applicants must obtain a DUNS number. Information on how to obtain a 
DUNS number can be found at https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform or by calling 
1-866-705-5711. Please note that the registration may take up to 14 
business days to complete.
    ii. System for Award Management (SAM) Registration: SAM is the 
official Federal system that consolidated the capabilities of Central 
Contractor Registry, Federal Agency Registration, Online 
Representations and Certifications Application, and Excluded Parties 
List System. To register, go to: https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. Please allow a minimum of 5 days to complete the SAM 
registration.
    4. Submission Dates and Times. Midnight Eastern Standard Time on 
September 5, 2018. You must submit your application using Grants.gov by 
the deadline date and time. Note that there are registration 
requirements for submitting applications using the Grants.gov system. 
We recommend that you review the instructions for registering as soon 
as possible, but at least two weeks before you plan to submit your 
application. The requirements can be viewed at: https://grants.gov/applicants/organization_registration.jsp. Your application will be 
rejected by Grants.gov if you miss the deadline. We will not accept it 
in a different format, and we will not consider it for funding.
    i. Acknowledgement of receipt: Grants.gov provides receipt of 
application submissions. The Agency acknowledges receipt of proposals 
received by the submission deadline via email. An applicant who does 
not receive such an email acknowledgement within 5 business days of the 
submission deadline, but believes the proposal was submitted within the 
submission deadline, must contact the Agency at 202-568-9832 or 
[email protected] within 10 business days of the 
submission deadline. Failure to do so may result in the proposal not 
being considered.
    ii. Withdrawal: Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice at any 
time before award execution. Written notice of withdrawal must be 
signed by the applicant or an authorized representative.
    All required application documents must be submitted by midnight 
Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday,

[[Page 41051]]

September 5 via www.grants.gov AND by emailing 
[email protected].
    Submitting an application through www.grants.gov requires 
completing a variety of tasks and steps. There are also several 
preliminary registration steps before the applicant can submit the 
application. To register in the Grants.gov system, go to 
www.grants.gov, click on ``Applicants'', then click on ``Get 
Registered.'' If you have completed a prior Grants.gov application, you 
may already have completed the registration process.
    Please allow sufficient time to register in Grants.gov, and for 
possible system delays. Below are instructions for accessing the forms 
necessary to complete an application in Grants.gov:
    i. Go to www.grants.gov. Information about submitting an 
application using Grants.gov is located on the Grants.gov website, 
along with supplementary materials.
    ii. Select the ``Applicant'' tab.
    iii. Select the ``Apply for Grants'' heading.
    iv. Click on ``Get Application Package.'' Follow all steps.
    v. Provide the ``Funding Opportunity Number'' or return to the 
``Search Grants'' section.
    vi. All necessary forms are included within the Grants.gov 
``Application Package.''
    Applications not received through Grants.gov by the submission due 
date and time are not accepted for consideration. The emailed 
application must be assembled into one pdf file document in the order 
specified in section IV, part A. All applications must contain all of 
the elements of a complete package and meet the requirements described 
in this announcement. Grants.gov provides instructions for submitting 
the required application items through the portal. Application receipt 
date and time will be determined by the respective system-generated 
documentation of receipt date and time (Grants.gov provides date and 
time stamps for all proposals submitted through the portal).
    The Agency is not responsible for any technical malfunctions or 
website problems related to Grants.gov or emailed submissions. If you 
encounter issues with Grants.gov, please contact the Grants.gov help 
desk at (800) 518-4726 or grants.gov">[email protected]grants.gov. The applicant assumes the 
risk of any delays in application submission through Grants.gov.
    5. Intergovernmental Review. Intergovernmental Review: Executive 
Order (E.O.) 12372, Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs, 
applies to this program. This E.O. requires that Federal agencies 
provide opportunities for consultation on proposed assistance with 
State and local governments. Many States have established a Single 
Point of Contact (SPOC) to facilitate this consultation. A list of 
States that maintain an SPOC may be obtained at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc. If your State has an SPOC, you must 
submit your application directly for review. Any comments obtained 
through the SPOC must be provided to us for consideration as part of 
your application. If your State has not established an SPOC, we will 
submit your application to the appropriate agency or agencies at our 
discretion. Applications from Federally-recognized Indian Tribes are 
not subject to Intergovernmental Review.
    6. Funding Restrictions.
    i. Pre-award Costs. Pre-award costs are not authorized.
    ii. Use of Funds. Award funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent 
of the project costs.
    iii. Period of Performance. The maximum Period of Performance is 2 
years. Applicants should anticipate a Period of Performance beginning 
September 30, 2018 and ending no later September 30, 2020.
    iv. Indirect Cost Rate. The indirect cost rate is limited to 10 
percent of direct charges for all nonprofit institutions, including 
institutions of higher education. All other organizations must use the 
rate identified in their Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Approval 
(NICRA). If you do not have a NICRA, you may elect to charge only 
direct costs to the award. If you have never had a NICRA, you may also 
choose to use a de minimis rate of 10 percent of modified total direct 
costs in accordance with 2 CFR 200.414(f). Your indirect cost rate must 
be included on Form SF-424A.
    v. Program Income. If you expect to earn Program Income during the 
Period of Performance, you must identify the amount and how you expect 
to use it (e.g. Matching Funds) in your application. If your 
application is funded, unexpected Program Income or Program Income 
earned in excess of the amount you identify in your application will be 
deducted from the Federal share of the project in accordance with 2 CFR 
200.307(e)(1).
    vi. Prohibited Costs. In addition to costs identified as 
unallowable by 2 CFR part 200, the following costs are prohibited for 
this program. Neither award funds nor matching funds can be used to pay 
for the following types of expenses.
    a. Duplicating services currently provided;
    b. Funding a revolving loan fund;
    c. Construction (in any form);
    d. Salaries for positions involved in construction, renovations, 
rehabilitation, and any oversight of these types of activities;
    e. Intermediary preparation of strategic plans for recipients;
    f. Funding prostitution, gambling, or any illegal activities;
    g. Grants to individuals;
    h. Funding a grant where there may be a conflict of interest, or an 
appearance of a conflict of interest, involving any action by the 
Agency;
    i. Providing assistance to only one individual, organization, or 
business;
    j. Paying obligations incurred before the beginning date without 
prior Agency approval or after the ending date of the cooperative 
agreement;
    k. Purchasing real estate;
    l. Improvement or renovation of the recipient's office space or for 
the repair or maintenance of privately owned vehicles;
    m. Any purpose prohibited in 2 CFR part 200 or 400;
    n. Using cooperative agreement assistance or matching funds for 
Individual Development Accounts;
    o. Purchasing vehicles.

V. Application Review Information

    Applications will first be reviewed to determine if they meet the 
eligibility requirements and comply with the funding restrictions in 
this Notice. If we determine that your application is ineligible, we 
will discontinue processing it, which means that we will not evaluate 
it further or provide any scoring information. We will notify you in 
writing regarding the reason(s) for ineligibility, and we will provide 
a description of your options if you believe that our determination is 
incorrect. Note that in the event that our determination is reversed, 
either due to the discovery of an Agency error or through a formal 
appeal, funding is restricted to available fiscal year 2018 funds.
    If your application is determined to be eligible, we will further 
evaluate it based on the following criteria. All applications will be 
competitively ranked and the minimum score requirements for a 
cooperative agreement award under this Notice is 60 points.
    1. Evaluation Criteria: We will only use the information that you 
provide in your application to evaluate your proposed project. We will 
not review references to websites or publications, so we encourage you 
to fully address each criterion.

[[Page 41052]]

    i. Soundness of Approach (0-20 points). The applicant can receive 
up to 20 points for soundness of approach. The maximum 20 points for 
this criterion will be based on the following:
    a. The objectives must be clearly stated in the proposal and the 
applicant must define how this proposal will be implemented. The 
applicant must demonstrate how the proposal will strengthen the 
capacity of rural communities in developing and implementing regional 
plans for economic development. The applicant must demonstrate how the 
proposed technical assistance includes both the planning and 
implementation components referenced in Section C. The applicant must 
also demonstrate how the proposed technical assistance will expand 
rural communities' ability to access funding and planning resources to 
convene community members. The applicant must also demonstrate how the 
proposal will support implementation of regional economic development 
plans and should include descriptions on how proposed technical 
assistance will result in actionable steps to support implementation of 
these plans. (10 points)
    b. The applicant clearly outlines their ability to provide the 
proposed technical assistance based on clearly stated and well-
documented prior accomplishments. (5 points)
    c. The proposal clearly outlines how it will implement activities 
to support alignment with one or more of the five key strategies 
(achieving e-connectivity, developing the rural economy, harnessing 
technological innovation, supporting a rural workforce, and improving 
quality of life in Rural America) the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity 
Task Force Report. (5 points)
    ii. Partnerships (0-25 points). The applicant can receive up to 25 
points for quality of the applicant's existing partnerships and 
proposed new partnerships for this effort. The applicant must recruit 
one or more private and/or public partners to meet match requirements 
and maximize leveraging of regional economic development plans 
developed through this project. The maximum 25 points for this 
criterion will be based on the following:
    a. The applicant demonstrates how their proposal will focus on the 
quantity and quality of partnerships, including the ability to leverage 
new partners that have previously had limited engagement with RD 
projects or priorities to leverage resources, enhance technical 
assistance, and/or increase reach to underserved areas. The proposal 
must demonstrate that partners with shared missions and goals will be 
engaged to amplify reach in rural areas. (10 points)
    b. The applicant demonstrates how their proposal will support the 
quantity and quality of match commitments to support this project, and 
percentage of match in cash form versus in-kind contributions. (5 
points)
    c. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will support 
the ability of applicant to leverage other community-driven plans or 
projects such as Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) 
or other Federally-recognized regional economic development plans. (5 
points)
    d. The applicant will demonstrate how their proposal will utilize 
partnerships outside of RD. The applicant will identify such 
partnerships and will demonstrate how they will provide access to such 
partnerships to support implementation of projects identified through 
development of regional economic development plans. (10 points)
    iii. Innovation (0-10 points). The applicant can receive up to 10 
points for innovative methods and practices to support development of 
regional economic development plans. The maximum 10 points for this 
criterion will be based on the following:
    a. The applicant's proposal should demonstrate the ability of the 
applicant to propose methods and practices to utilize unique and 
innovative planning methods that are currently not being implemented at 
scale. (5 points)
    b. The applicant's proposal should demonstrate the ability of the 
applicant to demonstrate that the proposed innovative methods and 
practices have been field-tested and ready to scale. (5 points) We are 
looking for unique and innovative ideas that are not currently being 
implemented at scale, so projects that propose innovative solutions 
that haven't been readily deployed before will receive higher points.
    iv. Organizational Capacity & Qualifications (0-15 points). The 
applicant can receive up to 15 points based on organizational capacity 
and qualifications. The maximum 15 points for this criterion will be 
based on the following:
    a. The applicant's proposal should demonstrate that the applicant 
has knowledge and prior experience in regional planning, particularly 
related to rural issues. The applicant should specify years of 
experience, types of communities served, and outcomes achieved. (10 
points)
    b. The applicant's proposal should demonstrate that the applicant 
has identified appropriate key personnel, both in terms of number of 
personnel and qualifications of personnel, to carry out the approach 
identified. Capacity of personnel to access data for needs assessments 
and access to planners and other technical experts will be evaluated. 
(5 points)
    v. Work Plan (0-15 points). The applicant can receive up to 15 
points based on the quality of the proposed work plan and approach. The 
maximum 15 points for this criterion will be based on the following:
    a. Applicants should use the approved work plan template to include 
the following information: Description of objective, background 
approach, timeframe for key tasks along with substantial involvement, 
budget and deliverables that are necessary to implement project to 
support regional economic development planning in rural communities. 
Reasonableness and appropriateness of key tasks will be evaluated based 
on proposed project approach. (5 points)
    b. The applicant's proposal should include a description of the 
types and general locations of rural communities to be served through 
this project, including the ability to support multiple rural planning 
activities across the nation and the reasonableness of effectively 
serving these communities based on key personnel, established 
timeframes, and budget. (5 points)
    c. The applicant's proposal should include a description and 
appropriateness of the tasks to incorporate active participation from 
RD staff. (5 points)
    vi. Performance Outcomes (0-15 points). The applicant can receive 
up to 15 points based on the quality of the proposed performance 
measures to evaluate progress and impacts of proposed project. The 
maximum 15 points for this criterion will be based on the following:
    a. The applicant's proposal should include a description for how 
the results of the technical assistance will be measured, including the 
benchmarks to be used to measure effectiveness. Benchmarks should be 
specific and quantifiable. (10 points)
    b. The applicant's proposal should include a description of 
benchmarks and outcomes achieved during previously deployed planning 
efforts. (5 points)
    2. Review and Selection Process: All eligible applications will be 
evaluated based on the process described below.
    i. Review Process. All eligible applications will be evaluated by 
an Application Review Panel using the criteria described in Section E.1 
of this Notice. Panel members will be

[[Page 41053]]

appointed by the Agency and they will be qualified to evaluate the 
applications, based on the type of work proposed by the applicant.
    ii. Selection Process. Applications will be ranked in descending 
order, according to the scores awarded by the Panel. Applications will 
be funded in rank order, until all available funds have been expended. 
Applications at or near the funding line may be funded in part, if the 
Agency believes an appropriate benefit can result from partial funding 
and if the applicant agrees to the amount of partial funding. In the 
event the Agency considers partial funding to be appropriate, we will 
contact the applicant and negotiate the final work plan and budget 
prior to approving an award.
    iii. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates. All awards must be 
obligated by September 30, 2018.

VI. Award Administration Information

    1. Federal Award Notices:
    i. Successful applicants. Successful applicants will be notified in 
writing by the Agency with a Letter of Conditions (LOC). The LOC is a 
notice of selection and does not indicate that an award has been 
approved, nor is it an authorization to begin performance on the award. 
While there may be special conditions that apply on a case-by-case 
basis, the following conditions are standard for all successful 
applicants.
    a. Complete Form RD 1942-46, ``Letter of Intent to Meet 
Conditions.''
    b. Complete Form RD 1940-1, ``Request for Obligation of Funds.''
    c. Complete FMMI Vendor Code Request Form.
    d. Provide a copy of your organization's Negotiated Indirect Cost 
Rate Agreement.
    e. Certify that all work completed for the award will benefit a 
rural area.
    f. Certify that you will comply with the Federal Funding 
Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and report information 
about subawards and executive compensation.
    g. Certify that the U.S. has not obtained an outstanding judgement 
against your organization in a Federal Court (other than in the United 
States Tax Court).
    h. Execute Form SF-424B, ``Assurances--Non-Construction Programs.''
    i. Execute Form SF-LLL, ``Disclosure Form to Report Lobbying,'' if 
applicable or certify that your organization does not lobby.
    j. Execute Form AD-1047, ``Certification Regarding Debarment, 
Suspension, and Other Responsibility Matters-Primary Covered 
Transactions.''
    k. Obtain a certification on Form AD-1048, ``Certification 
Regarding Debarment, Suspension, Ineligibility and Voluntary Exclusion-
Lower Tier Covered Transactions,'' from anyone you do business with as 
a result of this award.
    l. Execute Form AD-1049, ``Certification Regarding a Drug-Free 
Workplace Requirements (Grants).''
    m. Execute Form AD-3031, ``Assurance Regarding Felony Conviction or 
Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants.''
    n. Execute Form RD 400-4, ``Assurance Agreement.''
    Once the conditions described in the LOC have been met, the award 
will be approved through the execution of Form RD 4280-2 in conjunction 
with the RDCA Program Attachment. If an applicant is unable to meet the 
conditions of the award within 90 calendar days, the award will be 
withdrawn.
    ii. Unsuccessful applicants. Unsuccessful applicants will be 
notified in writing no later than October 31, 2018.
    2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements. The terms of 
the award are available at: https://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/efcommon/eFileServices/eForms/RD4280-2.PDF.
    3. Reporting Requirements. The following reporting requirements 
apply to awards made through this program.
    i. Performance Reports: Form SF-PPR, ``Performance Progress 
Report,'' must be submitted quarterly based on the following time 
periods: January 1-March 31, April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, and 
October 1-December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar 
days of the end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 
90 calendar days of the completion of the project or the end of the 
period of performance, whichever comes first. Both quarterly and final 
performance reports must be submitted electronically to 202-568-9832 or 
[email protected].
    ii. Financial Report: Form SF-425, ``Federal Financial Report'' 
must be submitted quarterly based on the following time periods: 
January 1-March 31, April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, October 1-
December 31. Quarterly reports are due within 30 calendar days of the 
end of the reporting period. A final report is due within 90 calendar 
days of the completion of the project or the end of the period of 
performance, whichever is comes first. Both quarterly and final reports 
must be submitted electronically to [email protected].
    iii. Report Suitable for Public Distribution: A report suitable for 
public distribution that describes the accomplishments of the project 
is due within 90 calendar days of the completion of the project. There 
is no format prescribed for this report, but it is expected that it 
will be 1-2 pages in length and describe the project in such a way that 
a member of the public not familiar with the project would gain an 
understanding of the impact of the project.

VII. Federal Awarding Agency Contact

    If you have questions, you may contact Christine Sorensen at 202-
568-9832 or [email protected].

VIII. Notice to Applicants

    The Federal Government is not obligated to make any Federal award 
as a result of this announcement. Only authorized Federal officials can 
bind the Federal Government to the expenditure of funds.

IX. Nondiscrimination Statement

    In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its 
Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or 
administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on 
race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including 
gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital 
status, family/parental status, income derived from a public assistance 
program. Political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil 
rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA 
(not all bases apply to all programs). Remedies and complaint filing 
deadlines vary by program or incident.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of 
communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, 
audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the responsible 
Agency or USDA's TARTET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or 
contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. 
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages 
other than English.
    To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA 
Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at: https://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office 
or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of 
the

[[Page 41054]]

information requested in the form. To request a copy of a complaint 
form, call, (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to 
USDA by:
    1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant 
Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 
20250-9410;
    2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
    3. Email at: [email protected].
    USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

    Dated: August 10, 2018.
Anne Hazlett,
Assistant to the Secretary, USDA Rural Development.
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[FR Doc. 2018-17765 Filed 8-16-18; 8:45 am]
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