Montana Administrative Register Notice 8-94-99 No. 4   02/23/2012    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.94.3815, and the repeal of ARM 8.94.3806, 8.94.3808, 8.94.3810, 8.94.3811, and 8.94.3813 pertaining to governing the submission and review of applications for funding under the Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP)












TO:  All Concerned Persons


1.  On December 22, 2011, the Department of Commerce published MAR Notice No. 8-94-99 pertaining to the public hearing on the proposed amendment and repeal of the above-stated rules at page 2723 of the 2011 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 24.


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:  One comment was received related to the reorganization of Statutory Priority #1 scoring level definitions and examples.  The commenter was concerned that the reorganization will result in more projects achieving the same scores and reduce the clear distinction between scores and project differences for this ranking priority. An additional concern related to the reorganization is the unintended consequence will be reducing project scores and deemphasizing the importance of TSEP program in communities.


RESPONSE #1:  The scoring level definitions and examples for Statutory Priority #1 are guidance for grantees and examples of how a project may rank.  Each project will be scored dependent on its own merit as described by the applicant.  MDOC engineers and ranking staff will use current available scoring levels and comparative judgment, past experience, and professional knowledge to determine the score based on the health and safety problems associated with the project.  It is not the intent of the MDOC to score all projects similarly, but to assess each project on its health and safety consequences.


COMMENT #2:  One commenter expressed concerns about the amended environmental requirements, consistency with other funding agencies, and consistency with state and federal environmental review requirements.  The commenter was also concerned that the new environmental requirements add work load and cost to local communities. 


RESPONSE #2:  The purpose of Appendix C is to provide applicants with a template for conducting environmental review of a proposed project prior to the submission of a TSEP application, in accordance with the requirements of the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and as described in detail in Chapter 1 of the Application Guidelines.  There is no requirement that an applicant utilize Appendix C to complete environmental review of a proposed TSEP project, or that environmental review be conducted by an engineer.  The new guidelines require only that the applicant complete environmental review for a proposed project in accordance with MEPA prior to submission of an application for TSEP funding.


COMMENT #3:  One commenter noted that the total points for ranking did not add correctly.


RESPONSE #3:  The addition on the Total Maximum Points Possible for application scoring was reconciled to reflect the accurate total amount of 5000.


COMMENT #4:  One commenter requested clarification regarding narrative related to the bridge specific information as opposed to all projects.


RESPONSE #4:  The examples for scoring of Bridge Projects continues to the heading of Statutory Priority #2.  A clearer distinction between the sections has been made. 


COMMENT #5:  One commenter requested a table of contents be added to the guidelines.


RESPONSE #5:  A Table of Contents was added to the guidelines.


            4. The Department of Commerce has repealed ARM 8.94.3806, 8.94.3808, 8.94.3810, 8.94.3811, and 8.94.3813.         



/s/ KELLY A. CASILLAS                              /s/ DORE SCHWINDEN     

KELLY A. CASILLAS                                   DORE SCHWINDEN

Rule Reviewer                                               Director

                                                                        Department of Commerce



Certified to the Secretary of State February 10, 2012.




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