446A.081 Drinking water revolving fund.
Subdivision 1. Definitions. (a) For the purposes of this section, the terms in this subdivision have the meanings given them.
(b) "Act" means the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996, Public Law 104-182.
(c) "Department" means the Department of Health.
Subd. 2. Establishment of fund. The authority shall establish a drinking water revolving fund to provide loans and other forms of financial assistance authorized by the act, as determined by the authority under the rules adopted under this section for the purposes and eligible costs authorized under the act. The fund must be credited with repayments. The act requires that the fund corpus must be managed so as to be available in perpetuity for the financing of drinking water systems in the state. At a minimum, 15 percent of the funds received each federal fiscal year shall be available solely for providing loans to public water systems which regularly serve fewer than 10,000 individuals.
Subd. 3. State funds. A state matching fund is established to be used in compliance with federal matching requirements specified in the act.
Subd. 4. Capitalization grant agreement. The authority shall enter into an agreement with the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to receive capitalization grants for the fund. The authority and the department shall enter into an operating agreement with the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to satisfy the criteria in the act to operate the fund. The authority and the department may exercise the powers necessary to comply with the requirements specified in the agreements and to ensure that loan recipients comply with all applicable federal and state requirements.
Subd. 5. Intended use plan. The authority shall annually prepare and submit to the United States Environmental Protection Agency an intended use plan. The plan must identify the intended uses of the amounts available to the drinking water revolving loan fund. The department shall provide a prioritized list of drinking water projects and other eligible activities to be considered for funding by the authority. The plan may be amended by the authority and include additional eligible projects proposed by the department.
Subd. 6. Applications. Applications by municipalities, privately owned public water systems, and eligible entities identified in the annual intended use plan for loans from the fund must be made to the authority on the forms prescribed by the rules of the authority and the rules of the department adopted under this section. The authority shall forward the application to the department within ten days of receipt. The department shall approve those applications that appear to meet the criteria in the act, this section, and the rules of the department or the authority.
Subd. 7. Award and terms of loans. The authority shall award loans to those municipalities, privately owned public water systems, and other eligible entities approved by the department, provided that the applicant is able to comply with the terms and conditions of the authority loan, which must be in conformance with the act, this section, and the rules of the authority adopted under this section.
Subd. 8. Loan conditions. (a) When making loans from the drinking water revolving fund, the authority shall comply with the conditions of the act, including the criteria in paragraphs (b) to (e).
(b) Loans must be made at or below market interest rates, including zero interest loans, for terms not to exceed 20 years.
(c) The annual principal and interest payments must begin no later than one year after completion of the project. Loans must be amortized no later than 20 years after project completion.
(d) A loan recipient must identify and establish a dedicated source of revenue for repayment of the loan, and provide for a source of revenue to properly operate, maintain, and repair the water system.
(e) The fund must be credited with all payments of principal and interest on all loans, except the costs as permitted under section 446A.04, subdivision 5, paragraph (a).
Subd. 9. Other uses of fund. The drinking water revolving loan fund may be used as provided in the act, including the following uses:
(1) to buy or refinance the debt obligations, at or below market rates, of public water systems for drinking water systems, where such debt was incurred after the date of enactment of the act, for the purposes of construction of the necessary improvements to comply with the national primary drinking water regulations under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act;
(2) to purchase or guarantee insurance for local obligations to improve credit market access or reduce interest rates;
(3) to provide a source of revenue or security for the payment of principal and interest on revenue or general obligation bonds issued by the authority if the bond proceeds are deposited in the fund;
(4) to provide loans or loan guarantees for similar revolving funds established by a governmental unit or state agency;
(5) to earn interest on fund accounts;
(6) to pay the reasonable costs incurred by the authority, the Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the department for conducting activities as authorized and required under the act up to the limits authorized under the act; and
(7) to develop and administer programs for water system supervision, source water protection, and related programs required under the act.
Subd. 10. Payments. Payments from the fund to borrowers must be in accordance with the applicable state and federal laws governing such payments, except no payment for a project may be made to a borrower until and unless the authority has determined that the total estimated cost of the project and the financing of the project are assured by:
(1) a loan authorized by state law or appropriation of proceeds of bonds or other money of the borrower to a fund for the construction of the project; and
(2) an irrevocable undertaking, by resolution of the governing body of the borrower, to use all money made available for the project exclusively for the project, and to pay any additional amount by which the cost of the project exceeds the estimate by the appropriation to the construction fund of additional money or proceeds of additional bonds to be issued by the borrower.
Subd. 11. Rules of the authority. The commissioner of employment and economic development shall adopt rules containing the procedures for the administration of the authority's duties as provided by this section that include: setting of interest rates, which shall take into account the financial need of the applicant; the amount of project financing to be provided; the collateral required for public drinking water systems and for privately owned public water systems; dedicated sources of revenue or income streams to ensure repayment of loans; and the requirements to ensure proper operation, maintenance, and repair of the water systems financed by the authority.
Subd. 12. Rules of the department. The department shall adopt rules relating to the procedures for administration of the department's duties under the act and this section. The department and the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development may adopt a single set of rules for the program.