Organization of department: (1) History . The department of commerce was implemented under 2-15-104, MCA, on July 1, 1981.
(2) Director . The director of commerce, appointed by the governor, heads the department. The director is responsible for the administration of the department and its programs.
(3) Board of Investments . The board of investments invests the state's pension funds, trust funds, surplus treasury cash and other miscellaneous funds. A short-term investment program is managed for the state of Montana and local governments. The board also manages development finance programs. The development finance programs utilize the state's available assets for loans and the issuance or backing of bonds.
(4) Business Resources Division . This division is comprised of a variety of programs designed to improve Montana's economic and business climate. The division works closely with other department programs, local development organizations, other state agencies, federal agencies and private programs to leverage appropriate assistance to businesses and communities. Assistance provided by the division includes regional development, small business technical assistance, information, finance, and trade.
(5) Board of Research and Commercialization Technology . This board provides a predictable and stable source of funding for research and commercialization projects aimed at strengthening the state's basic industries and provides funding to expand research efforts in new industries with the goal of diversifying and improving the state's economy.
(6) Economic Development Advisory Council . The economic development advisory council advises the department concerning the distribution of funds to certified regional development corporations for business development purposes, and regarding the creation, operation, and maintenance of the microbusiness finance program and the policies and operations affecting the certified microbusiness development corporations. The council also advises the governor and the department on significant matters concerning economic development in Montana.
(7) Workforce Training Grant Review Committee . The committee awards training grants to qualified primary sector businesses that have prospects for achieving commercial success and for creating new jobs in the state, for collaboration between the public and private sectors of the state's economy, and for commercial success related to a specific product, process, or business development methodology.
(8) Montana Capital Investment Board . Subject to appropriation by the legislature, the board seeks to benefit Montana by attracting out-of-state venture investment funds interested in providing equity capital and near-equity capital to Montana entrepreneurs and economic innovators in Montana. Through investment incentives, the board seeks to create a private seed and venture capital industry in Montana to fund academic, technological, and innovative startup companies and other companies that are expanding or restructuring.
(9) Housing Division . The housing division consists of several programs designed to increase the affordability and availability of safe and decent housing for Montana citizens. The board of housing issues tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds to provide below market interest rate financing to primarily first-time home buyers. The board also administers programs designed to develop lower income multifamily rental housing. The section 8 housing program provides rental assistance to qualified lower income families in Montana. The Montana HOME program is designed to expand the supply of safe, decent, affordable housing in the state by providing gap financing which is unavailable.
(10) Facility Finance Authority . Authorizes the sale of bonds in order to provide funding for eligible facilities to purchase major equipment and capital construction. By making this bonding authority available, costs will be contained by reducing the costs of facilities and equipment so that these savings may be passed on to consumers.
(11) Community Development Division . The community development division directly administers two grant programs:
(a) the public facilities and the housing and neighborhood renewal categories of the federally-funded community development block grant (CDBG) program. Projects include water and sewer facilities for lower income communities or neighborhoods and special purpose public facilities that serve lower income clientele, including Head Start or senior centers, nursing homes, and mental health centers. Housing-related projects include rehabilitation or weatherization of homes owned by lower income families and neighborhood clean up and demolition of vacant, deteriorated properties.
(b) the state-funded treasure state endowment program (TSEP) provides matching grants for basic infrastructure projects including water, wastewater, storm drainage, solid waste, and bridges.
(12) Coal Board . The primary function of the coal board is to receive grant applications from local governmental units, state agencies, school districts and federally recognized Indian tribes and to award grants to assist these local units in meeting the impact of coal development or decline. A majority of the funds awarded are to governmental units within the designated coal impact area. In addition, the board shall consider:
(b) degree of severity of impact from coal development or decline,
(c) availability of funds,
(d) degree of local effort in meeting these needs, and
(e) the need for community planning before the full impact of coal development or decline is realized.
(13) Hard-Rock Mining Impact Board . Provides analysis and mediation between communities and hard-rock mining companies so that adverse impacts resulting from mining can be addressed and positively corrected.
(14) Montana Promotion Division . The division consists of the travel promotion function which markets the state as a vacation destination, the motion picture and television commercial location site and the tourism infrastructure grants program.
(15) Montana Film and Television Advisory Council . Pursuant to Executive Order No. 3-2005, the council furnishes advice and recommendations to the governor and governor's office of economic opportunity, as well as the department and its film office, regarding ways in which the state can promote Montana to the film, television and related media industries.
(16) Tourism Advisory Council . The council advises the governor and the department on significant matters relative to Montana's travel industry and tourism promotion. The council also oversees distribution of funds to regional nonprofit tourism corporations and to nonprofit convention and visitors bureaus, and encourages regional nonprofit tourism corporations to promote tourist activities on Indian reservations in their regions.
(17) Management Services Division . The management services division performs the centralized services for the department in the areas of purchasing, information and education, accounting, budgeting, payroll, personnel, statistics, reports, records management and internal department procedures. The division also provides manual and automated systems analysis, system design and systems development for entities within the department. This division has no rulemaking or rule-adjudication functions under the Administrative Procedure Act.
(18) Montana Heritage Preservation and Development Commission . The purpose of the Montana heritage preservation and development commission is to acquire and manage, on behalf of the state, properties that possess outstanding historical value, display exceptional qualities worth preserving, are genuinely representative of the state's culture and history, and demonstrate the ability to become economically self-supporting. The Montana heritage preservation and development commission achieves this purpose by purchasing fee title interests in real and personal property and by managing those properties in a manner that protects the properties and encourages economic independence.
(19) Information or Submissions . General inquiries regarding the department may be addressed to the director. Specific inquiries regarding the functions of each division may be addressed to the administrator of that division or the bureau chiefs under the division. All requests for hearing, declaratory rulings and for participation in rulemaking may be addressed to the director unless the notice in the Montana Administrative Register makes specific provisions for submissions.
(20) Charts of Agency Organization . Descriptive charts of the department of commerce are attached as the following one page of these rules and by this reference are herein incorporated.