Montana Administrative Register Notice 8-111-173 No. 20   10/18/2019    
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In the matter of the amendment of ARM 8.111.602 definitions and 8.111.603 housing credit allocation procedure







          TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On November 7, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Commerce will hold a public hearing in Room 228 of the Park Avenue Building at 301 South Park Avenue, Helena, Montana, or by conference call 1-877-273-4202, conference room 7865396, to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rules.


2. The Department of Commerce will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice.  If you require an accommodation, contact the Department of Commerce no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 5, 2019, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need.  Please contact Bonnie Martello, Department of Commerce, 301 South Park Avenue, P.O. Box 200501, Helena, Montana, 59620-0501; telephone (406) 841-2596; fax (406) 841-2771; TDD (406) 841-2702; or e-mail docadministrativerules@mt.gov.


3. The rules as proposed to be amended provide as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:


            8.111.602 DEFINITIONS (1) and (2) remain the same.

            (3)  "QAP" means the board's "Housing Credit Program 2020 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan," which sets forth the application process and selection criteria used by the board for evaluation and selection of projects to receive awards for allocation of housing credits for calendar year 2020 2021. The board adopts and incorporates by reference the Housing Credit Program 2020 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan, copies of which may be obtained by contacting the Board of Housing by mail at P.O. Box 200528, Helena, MT 59620-0528, by telephone at (406) 841-2845 or (406) 841-2838, or at the board's web site www.housing.mt.gov.

            (4) remains the same.


AUTH: 90-6-106, MCA

IMP: 90-6-104, MCA


REASON: The proposed amendments to ARM 8.111.602 are necessary to adopt and incorporate by reference the board's Housing Credit Program 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP).


Federal low income housing tax credits are allocated by the federal government to the states, according to their population, for allocation to particular buildings.  Each state's share of federal low income housing tax credits is allocated to particular buildings under programs administered by the respective states' housing credit agencies. The Montana Board of Housing is Montana's housing credit agency for purposes of administering the tax credit program and allocating tax credits in the state of Montana. In Montana, the program is known as the Montana Housing Credit Program. Federal law requires that tax credits allocated to the state by the federal government must be allocated by the state pursuant to a "qualified allocation plan" or "QAP."


Prior to publication of this notice, the board conducted several public meetings to consider suggestions and comments regarding the provisions of the 2021 QAP. Thereafter, at its August 7, 2019 meeting, the board considered and approved public notice and distribution of the proposed 2021 QAP. After public notice of the proposed 2021 QAP and of the opportunity for public comment was published and distributed, a public hearing on the proposed 2021 QAP was held on August 22, 2019 and written comments were also received. At its September 10, 2019 meeting, after considering all written and oral comments on the proposed 2021 QAP, staff recommendations, additional public comment, and various proposed revisions in response to comments, the board approved the 2021 QAP for submission to and approval by the Montana Governor, as required by the federal tax credit statute, 26 U.S.C. § 42. The Governor approved the 2021 QAP on September 24, 2019.


A copy of the 2021 QAP is available at http://housing.mt.gov/MFQAP or by requesting a copy from: Mary Bair, Board of Housing, Department of Commerce, 301 South Park Avenue, P.O. Box 200528, Helena, Montana, 59620-0528; telephone (406) 841-2845; fax (406) 841-2841; or e-mail mbair@mt.gov.


 8.111.603 HOUSING CREDIT ALLOCATION PROCEDURE  (1) through (8) remain the same.

            (9)  The board will select those projects to receive an award of housing credits that it determines best meet the most pressing affordable housing needs of low income people within the state of Montana, taking into consideration the selection criteria as defined in the QAP. The awarding of points to projects pursuant to the development evaluation criteria of the QAP is for purposes of determining that the projects meet at least the minimum criteria required for further consideration under the QAP and to assist the board in evaluating and comparing projects. Development evaluation criteria scoring is only one of several considerations taken into account by the board and does not control the selection of projects that will receive an award of housing credits. In addition to any other selection criteria specified in the QAP, the board may consider the following factors in selecting projects for an award of housing credits to qualifying projects:

            (a) through (i) remain the same.

            (j)  the project is being developed in or near a historic downtown neighborhood; and/or

            (k)  the frequency of awards in the respective areas where projects are located.;

            (l)  preserving project rental assistance or having or planning to add Section 811 units to an existing project (Section 811 units are units subsidized by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development with available supportive services for very low income and extremely low income adults with disabilities); and/or

            (m)  augmentation and/or sources of funds.


AUTH: 90-6-106, MCA

IMP:  90-6-104, MCA


REASON: The proposed amendments to ARM 8.111.603(9) are necessary to clarify that the board will select those projects to receive an award of housing credits that it determines best meet the most pressing affordable housing needs of low income people within the state of Montana. The affordability of housing funding and development is a critical part of the board's statutory mission.  


The proposed amendments to ARM 8.111.603(9) are also necessary to specify two additional factors that may be considered by the board as provided in the QAP in selecting projects for an award of credits. Given the shortage of funding for affordable housing, it is critical that housing credits be used in a manner that preserves and expands available housing and that leverages other funding sources for affordable housing. Various forms of rental assistance and rent subsidies expand the availability of affordable housing opportunities and therefore allow housing credits to benefit more low income people within the state of Montana. Similarly, augmenting project funding and obtaining and using additional funding sources allow housing credits to benefit more low income people within the state of Montana.  Therefore, preservation or expansion of rental assistance, and augmentation and inclusion of funding and funding sources, are relevant factors in selecting projects for credit awards. 


4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing, at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to:  Bonnie Martello, Department of Commerce, 301 South Park Avenue, P.O. Box 200501, Helena, Montana, 59620-0528; telephone (406) 841-2596; fax (406) 841-2841; or e-mail docadministrativerules@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., November 15, 2019.


5. Bonnie Martello, Paralegal, Department of Commerce, has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.


6. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency.  Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices.  Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request.  Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 4 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department


7. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.


8. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the amendment of the above-referenced rules will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.


                                                                        MONTANA BOARD OF HOUSING

                                                                        Patrick E. Melby, Chairman



/s/ Amy Barnes__________________                /s/ Tara Rice___________           

Amy Barnes                                                         Tara Rice      

Rule Reviewer                                                      Director

                                                                             Department of Commerce


Certified to the Secretary of State October 8, 2019.



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