(1) The department, in consultation with the 9-1-1 Advisory Council, shall apply the applicant priority in 10-4-306(3), MCA.
(2) When evaluating eligible applications for grant funding, after applying the preference in 10-4-306(3), MCA, the department, in consultation with the 9-1-1 Advisory Council, may consider:
(a) completeness and effectiveness of the application. The application must be complete and fully address the requirements in the application form and clearly describe the fulfillment of grant award criteria;
(b) the extent to which the application supports planning, implementation, operation, or maintenance of 9-1-1 systems, 9-1-1 services, or both as provided by 10-4-306(2), MCA;
(c) support for the project demonstrated by letters of support from private telecommunications providers, local governments, public safety answering points, and emergency services agencies;
(d) project duration. The department may prioritize projects that require two years or less to complete;
(e) number of applications submitted. The department may prioritize applicants that submit one application over applicants that submit multiple applications in a single grant application cycle;
(f) cost estimate detail. The department may prioritize applications that include a detailed cost estimate, with supporting documentation, that provide a clear justification for the grant funds requested;
(g) equipment and system life cycle. The department may prioritize applications to replace equipment and systems that are at or near end of life or support;
(h) proportion of grant funding requested. The department may prioritize applications that request less than 33% of the total amount of grant funding available during the grant cycle; and
(i) support in the statewide 9-1-1 plan. The department may prioritize applications that address needs identified in the statewide 9-1-1 plan.
(3) The 9-1-1 Advisory Council shall provide grant award recommendations to the department utilizing the criteria listed in (2). All grant determinations are made in the department's discretion, in consultation with the 9-1-1 Advisory Council, subject to the statutory preference in 10-4-306(3), MCA. A grant award may be made even if the applicant does not meet all of the criteria listed in (2); however, it must be clear from the application that the applicant is requesting funds to support an allowable project or expense identified in 10-4-306(2), MCA.
(4) The department, in consultation with the 9-1-1 Advisory Council, may make conditional or partial grant awards.
(5) The department shall post on its website the 9-1-1 Advisory Council’s grant award recommendations and the department’s final grant awards.