BEFORE THE MONTANA COAL BOARD
Department of COMMERCE
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.101.302 and 8.101.305 pertaining to the policies of the Montana Coal Board and applications for Montana Coal Board grant assistance
NOTICE OF AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On January 16, 2014, the Department of Commerce published MAR Notice No. 8-101-119 pertaining to the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules at page 1 of the 2014 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 1.
2. The department has amended the above-stated rules as proposed.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT #1: Two comments were received regarding question 15, one addressing bullet point #1 and both addressing bullet points #3 & #4. One comment suggested removing bullet point #1, since it is already addressed on page 6 with questions 8 & 9. Both comments addressed the difficulty obtaining accurate and quantifiable information to address bullet points #3 & #4, and one of those comments recommended deleting bullet points #3 & #4 from the question.
RESPONSE #1: The department agrees that bullet point number one from question number 15 is duplicative and will remove bullet number one from the question. In response to comments regarding bullet points number three and number four, the department has deleted both bullet points and has modified question number 15 to read as follows:
IMPACTS FROM COAL INDUSTRY:
· Number of residents that are currently employed by the coal industry within the applicant's jurisdiction
COMMENT #2: One comment was made suggesting that references to "non-profit/not-for-profit" organizations be deleted from the application since they are not listed as eligible entities.
RESPONSE #2: While nonprofit organizations are not eligible applicants, eligible applicants can carryout eligible activities through a nonprofit organization. The eligible applicant and nonprofit relationship or subrecipient agreement is a typical method that Coal Board applicants use carryout eligible activities and other activities to meet needs in the coal impacted area. Therefore, the department will keep the nonprofit reference in the application, to provide the eligible applicant as much opportunity to discuss all activities completed in the impacted area including activities of partnering nonprofit organizations.
COMMENT #3: One comment was received regarding the inconsistent language regarding submitting applications, specifically, when applicants who have submitted electronic versions of their respective application should send the hard copies and if applicants should submit a CD with a word format of the application after already submitting an electronic version of the application. The comment also indicates that applicants do not have control over the delivery time of a package once it is turned over to a carrier. The comment suggests changing the language to:
Electronically submitted applications must be followed with the original and seven (7) signed hard copies that are mailed to the Department within seven days of the electronic submittal.
RESPONSE #3: The department agrees there is inconsistent language and no control over delivery dates. Therefore, the applicant will not need to provide a second electronic submission and applicants who have submitted an electronic copy must have seven copies postmarked by the application deadline. The department will change the language to read as follows:
Electronically submitted applications must be followed with the original and seven (7) signed hard copies that are postmarked by the application deadline.
COMMENT #4: One comment was received regarding the PAR requirements. The comment states that the language is inconsistent and that requiring a PAR for all community facilities would increase project costs significantly. The comment suggests changing the wording from:
A. A PAR MUST BE SUBMITTED AS PART OF COAL BOARD APPLICATIONS FOR:
a. Projects that are non-water/non-wastewater projects – community facilities such as a hospital, senior center, school facility, nursing home; and
A. A PAR PREPARED FOR NON-WATER/NON-WASTEWATER COMMUNITY FACILITIES PROJECTS SUCH AS HOSPITALS, SENIOR CENTERS, SCHOOL FACILITIES, NURSING HOMES, ETC. SHALL MEET THE FOLLOWING GUIDELINES:
RESPONSE #4: Appendix A has been an existing requirement but was found outside of the Coal Board application. The change to the Coal Board application guidelines has been to add Appendix A within these guidelines so the applicant does not need to reference a separate document. Therefore, the department does not agree that costs would significantly increase as this has been an existing requirement.
The department agrees the language does not clearly state the requirement of submitting a PAR. As has been previously required by the Coal Board all funds awarded to complete a PAR must follow the PAR outline, and those that apply for funds to complete construction activities following a PAR must meet the PAR outline. Therefore the language will be modified, as follows:
A. A PAR MUST BE SUBMITTED AS PART OF A COAL BOARD APPLICATION FOR:
a. Utilization of a PAR for rehabilitation or construction of Coal Board funded activities for Non-Water/Non-Wastewater community facility projects;
b. New construction of a Non-Water/Non-Wastewater community facility project;
B. A PAR MUST MEET THE REQUIREMENTS FOR:
a. Preparation of a PAR as a planning activity
COMMENT #5: One comment was received recommending that in regard to question 14, Coal Board staff provide the amounts allocated (by the Department of Revenue) with the summary reports so that the information is up-to-date and consistently presented for all coal impact areas. The comment also states that local government units receiving Coal Gross Proceeds tax pool the proceeds with other funds and are therefore unable to provide accurate information regarding the amount expended and the balance of available proceeds that remain. The comment suggests deleting Question 14 in its entirety.
RESPONSE #5: At this time the only method the department has for collecting the Coal Gross Proceeds Tax information is to obtain it from the local government applying for Coal Board funding. Therefore, the applicant will need to continue to provide the information as part of their application responses. However, the department will continue to work with the Department of Revenue to obtain direct access to the information to provide a thorough Coal Board application review. Additionally, the comment received also noted the need to clarify the question to more accurately reflect the information being requested. Therefore question 14 has been modified to read as follows:
AMOUNT OF COAL GROSS PROCEEDS TAX:
Please provide the following details:
· Total amount of Coal Gross Proceeds tax the applicant has received during the last two years
o How those monies are allocated (i.e. to general fund, etc.)
· How does the applicant decide the use of the gross proceeds?
COMMENT #6: One comment suggests changing Section B, Question 1 from:
What proportion or percentage of the need for the expansion or improvement to the public facility or public service is attributable to coal-related impacts?
Describe why the need for the expansion or improvement to the public facility or public service is attributable to coal-related impacts. If possible, provide the percentage of the project that is a result of coal impacts.
RESPONSE #6: During a previous meeting, the board members specifically requested that a question be added to the guidelines to seek information regarding the proportion of a proposed project's relationship with coal-related impacts. This question was added to assist with the consideration required for analysis of the impact; however, to provide the applicant better opportunity to respond with more accurate information the department will modify Section B Question 1 to read as follows:
Describe why the need for the expansion or improvement to the public facility or public service is attributable to coal-related impacts. Additionally, please provide the percentage of the project that is a result of coal impacts.
COMMENT #7: One comment was received regarding the opportunities interested parties were able to get to review the draft application guidelines.
RESPONSE #7: The department maintains a list of interested parties, which contains over seventy people, including consultants, nonprofits, local governments, and professional services such as engineering firms who have indicated interest in Coal Board activities. The majority of these contacts have regularly submitted applications and received funding. An electronic notice announcing the hearing and directing the interested parties to review the draft guidelines was sent to the department's list of interested parties on February 3, 2014. Additionally, a notice of the Administrative Rules Hearing was published in the Montana Administrative Register on January 16, 2014.
/s/ Kelly A. Lynch /s/ Douglas Mitchell
KELLY A. LYNCH DOUGLAS MITCHELL
Rule Reviewer Deputy Director
Department of Commerce
Certified to the Secretary of State February 18, 2014.