Element 3.1: Funding Program Summaries (post)

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Summaries of common funding program are presented in this Element.  The funding program summaries present a general overview of many of the more common funding programs that are available to small communities for financing infrastructure projects.

Alternate Funding Sources

The organizations and agencies listed below are important potential sources of funding. These resources are provided to serve as a one-stop information shop about funding programs suited to small community infrastructure projects.

Public Funding Sources

Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC)

Main Office:

3120 Freeboard Drive, Suite 201. West Sacramento, CA 95691.
Tel: (916)-447-2854 Fax: (916)-447-2878

Website: http://www.rcac.org/home

North Coast Contact:

Brian Phillips, RCAC Environmental Programs Regional Manager CA/NV

(707) 489-6994;


Mission Statement: “Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) provides technical assistance, training and financing so rural communities achieve their goals and visions.”

Funding Cycles/Timing: Continuous

Funding Limits:

  • Short term loans (1-3 years):
    • Feasibility studies: Loans normally do not exceed $10,000.
    • Acquisition: Loans normally do not exceed $2 million.
    • Construction: Loans normally do not exceed $2 million.
  • Long term loans (up to 30 years): Loans normally do not exceed $5 million.

Eligible Applicants: Nonprofit organizations, public agencies, tribal governments with populations of 50,000 or less

California Rural Water Association (CRWA)

4131 Northgate Boulevard, Sacramento CA 95834Tel: (916)-553-4900 Fax: (916)-553-4904

Website: http://www.calruralwater.org/

Mission Statement: “To meet the needs of member water and wastewater systems by providing quality information, training and technical assistance and legislative representation, and assist them in maintaining a high standard of service to their communities.”

National Rural Water Association

2915 South 13th Street. Duncan, OK 93533Tel: (580)-252-0629 Fax: (580)-255-4476

Website: http://www.nrwa.org/

Purpose: To provide training, technical assistance, and advocate for small rural water systems.

Funding Limits: $100,000 or 75% or the project cost, whichever is less.

Eligible Applicants: Municipalities, counties, special purpose districts, Native American Tribes, nonprofits.

California Water Environment Association

7677 Oakport Street, Suite 600. Oakland CA 94621Tel: (510)-382-7800 Fax: (510)-382-7810

Website: http://www.cwea.org/

Purpose: Committed to keeping California’s water clean through wastewater training, technical information and policy promotion.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Federal Emergency Management Agency1111 Broadway, Suite 1200

Oakland, CA 94607-4052

FEMA Region IX: Grants Management Division Website: http://www.fema.gov/fema-region-ix-grants-management-division

Mission: “To support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.”

Funding Cycles/Timing: Typically proposal period is opened once per year – Apply through California Emergency Management Agency

Preparedness Grant Program: http://www.fema.gov/preparedness-non-disaster-grants

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: http://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-grant-program

Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program: http://www.fema.gov/pre-disaster-mitigation-grant-program

Eligible Applicants: Varies – Call grants division for more information

EPA Region 9 Tribal Funding

EPA Region 9’s Water Division provides technical and programmatic assistance to promote clean and safe water including water pollution control, source water assessments, groundwater investigations, and wastewater and drinking water infrastructure to 147 Native American tribes in the Pacific Southwest.Drinking Water Programs Manager

Corine Li email: li.corine@epa.gov

Tel: (415)-972-3560

Website: http://www.epa.gov/region9/water/tribal/index.html

Indian Health Services

650 Capitol Mall, Suite 7-100. Sacramento CA 95814

Tel: (916)-930-3927 Fax:(916)-930-3952

Website: http://www.ihs.gov/California/


Redding District
Arcata Field Office

1125 16th Street

Suite 100

Arcata, CA 95521-5585

Tel: (707) 822-1688

Sacramento District
Ukiah Field Office

1252 Airport Park Blvd.

Suite B5

Ukiah, CA 95482-5979

Tel: (707) 462-5314 or 045

Indian Community Development Block Grant Program

Website: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/ih/grants/icdbgPurpose: “Provides eligible grantees with direct grants for use in developing viable Indian and Alaska Native Communities.”

Funding Resources: Further information on funding can be found in the ICDBG Training Manual found here.

Eligible Applicants: Indian tribes, bands, groups, or nations.

Private Funding Sources

Mclean Foundation

1336 Main Street. Fortuna CA 95540

Website: http://mcleanfoundation.org/

Mission Statement: “The McLean Foundation empowers communities in the Eel River Valley and Humboldt County by providing funding, leadership and support.”

Funding Amounts:

  • Small Grants: $5,000 or less
  • Large Grants: $5,000 or more

Eligible Applicants: Funding programs related to health and medical care, funding city and community projects that benefit the residents of Humboldt County.

Humboldt County Headwaters Fund

Website: http://theheadwatersfund.org/Purpose: “To support the growth of industry clusters, to increase the number of sustainable jobs that pay at or above the median income, to enhance the quality of life for residents of Humboldt County Through project that promote healthy communities and protect and enhance the natural environment.”

Funding Types: Grant programs, loan programs

Funding Amounts (loans): $500,000 to $1.8 million

Eligible Applicants: Government and nonprofit organizations

The toolbox elements summarized in this section are presented in Table 3.1 and provide an introduction to funding programs available to small operations. In addition, Capital Recovery Tables are presented that are used to convert an up-front loan amount into annual payments. Capital Improvement Financing Summaries are presented to highlight common mechanisms for generating revenue to pay off debts associated with loans and other capital improvement costs. Information related to Cash Flow is also presented to assist small communities manage funds during a project’s development and construction.

Funding Program Summaries

Summaries of common funding program are presented in Element 3.1.  The funding program summaries present a general overview of many of the more common funding programs that are available to small communities for financing infrastructure projects.

How to Use the Toolbox Element

The summaries in Element 3.1 provide general characteristics of the common funding programs and requirements.  This information can be used by local staff and officials to begin to identify possible loan and grant funding opportunities, and in many cases initiate the funding process. Funding programs are competitive and complex; therefore, local agencies may need professional expertise to help them through the overall process.  Nonprofit assistance agencies (listed in Element 1.1) or the funding agencies themselves may be able to help as well.

A one-stop information shop about funding programs suited to small community infrastructure projects

Capital Recovery Tables

Capital Recovery Tables are presented in Appendix 3.2. The purpose of a Capital Recovery table is to convert a loan amount into an annual payment amount given a forecasted interest rate.  This is very useful when considering funding options and possible loan amounts so that annual costs to pay back loans can be calculated.  These annual loan repayment costs are also known as the debt service.  These debt service costs are part of the overall annual operating cost of a system and can then be factored into the overall rate setting process.

How to Use the Toolbox Element

The Capital Recovery Tables are used for selecting the appropriate Capital Recovery Factors (CRF). The appropriate CRF is selected by finding the intersection between the term of the loan on one axis and the interest rate on the other axis. The CRF is multiplied by the loan amount to yield the annual payment over the term of the loan.  This is a simple tool to help with planning annual costs and cash flow.

In some cases, more than one loan may be used and so the annual payment for each loan is determined separately and the resulting annual payments are added together. The terms of loans may be different or there may be other special repayment provisions and so annual payments may vary over time. Considering all costs and revenues for each year during the life of a project is valuable for forecasting long term cash flow.

Lookup tables to translate the portion of total project costs not paid by grant into annual debt service requirements met through a revenue mechanism

Capital Improvement Financing Summaries

Capital project financing summaries that provide information on three common types of debt financing are summarized in Appendix 3.3. There are a variety of financing methods that can be established by a local agency or tribe as a means to collect revenue and to pay the debt service on a loan for design and construction of projects. The following financing methods are presented in Appendix 3.3:

  • Enterprise Revenue Borrowing
  • Assessment or Special Tax Bonds
  • General Obligation Bonds

How to Use the Toolbox Element

The summary presented in Appendix 3.3 is meant as a simple introduction to several of the more common debt financing methods. A table is provided, which includes an overview of the major features of these common methods of repaying loans. Agencies wishing to consider financing options should consult a financing specialist to better understand the details of potential financing methods, attorneys needed, and their overall funding strategy.

Summary of strategy options for generating revenue to pay the annual debt service associated with capital improvement

Cash Flow Considerations

Cash flow is the management of all revenue and expenses associated with operating a system. Guidance for planning cash flow is presented in Appendix 3.4. Cash flow needs to consider all aspects of operating a system including operations, maintenance, depreciation, reserves, debt service, and other aspects of the system that include the inflow and outflow of cash. Cash flow should be based on considering all needs of the system based on the overall long term broad view of the utility management cycle. Short term or narrow view of expenses or revenues creates an unrealistic picture of cash flow and can lead to inadequate rates and charges, lack of appropriate maintenance and replacement, deferred costs, and future significant financial difficulties.

How to Use the Toolbox Element

The guidance provided in Appendix 3.4 is meant to provide an overview of the main considerations for cash flow management during the planning, design, permitting, and implementation of a project.  Agencies should retain specialist to help in the planning of cash management, especially in terms of Asset Management and capital improvement planning where existing infrastructure is inventoried and future costs are forecasted.  Specialized expertise should also be employed for conducting overall rate setting studies as this is the mechanism that will generate necessary revenue to operate the system over the long term. Additional information on capital improvement planning and rate setting can be found in Appendix 6.3 and Appendix 6.4.


Assists entities in understanding the funds needed to move a project through planning, design, and construction

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