As a result of the strategic planning process, five priority projects were identified and confirmed by the City of West Monroe, Steering Committee, and public at-large. The identification of these projects was an important step in the process, but the downtown master plan cannot be implemented without significant public and private investment.
Based on the key elements of each project, Alchemy curated a list of funding programs and resources from federal, state and local sources to launch the fundraising process for Downtown West Monroe.
To implement and sustain the projects identified in the downtown master plan, the City of West Monroe will have to allocate some local funds each fiscal year to ensure adequate and timely deployment of resources. The commitment of local funds is essential, especially when applying for federal and state grants. In most cases, local funds are considered an eligibility requirement when applying for grant funding. In other cases, local funds greatly enhance the competitiveness of an application.
However, the end almost always justifies the means. For example, in 2018 the City of West Monroe was awarded $1 million from the Delta Regional Authority to upgrade infrastructure at the West Monroe Commercial Park near Ike Hamilton Exposition Center. The City of West Monroe committed $500,000 for a $1 million grant to complete a $1.5 million project that would not have happened otherwise. Not to mention, this local investment is supporting both existing businesses and jobs as well as new companies that will create even more jobs in the community.
The City of West Monroe is also fortunate to have three Economic Development Districts (EDD), including the Central Downtown Development District. In Louisiana, an Economic Development District is a special taxing district established by a governmental body to provide funding for economic development projects within a well-defined geographical area. EDDs may collect funds either as incremental taxes or as “new” taxes. New Orleans-based firm, Fishman Haygood LLP, explains the difference between these two types of taxes as follows:
Incremental taxes are based on the increased or incremental amount the governing body (in this case, the City of West Monroe) receives from the property located within the EDD’s boundaries. The calculation of incremental taxes begins with the amount of sales and hotel occupancy taxes collected within the EDD’s boundaries for the year prior to the establishment of the EDD. The governing body will continue to collect that base number after the establishment of the EDD. However, to the extent that future tax collections exceed this base number, the governing body will pay an agreed percentage of this increase to the EDD. If taxes collected in a given year do not meet or exceed the base number, the governing body will make no payment to the EDD.
An EDD may also receive funding through “new” taxes, rather than from a portion of existing taxes imposed by the governing body. An EDD has the authority to levy new sales and use, hospitality and/or property taxes within the EDD only. The maximum tax that an EDD may impose is 2% of the value of the good or service (sales or hotel occupancy tax) or 5 mills of ad valorem tax (5 mills = .005% or 5/1000). By way of illustration, if an item or hotel stay within the EDD costs $100, additional taxes of $10 (based on a 10% sales or use tax, common throughout most parishes) and $2 (the maximum tax an EDD may impose) would be payable, with the $2 going directly to the EDD.
EDD revenues can be used to reimburse the governing body or private developers for costs associated with an eligible project, such as for property acquisition; design and “soft” costs (including professional services); debt service (through conventional debt and/or bonds issued by the EDD); and construction and other “hard” costs. In addition to helping construct public and private buildings, parks and open areas, EDDs can help close the financing gap for streets, utilities, drainage, sewer lines and other necessary infrastructure — all of which are included in the City of West Monroe’s Downtown Master Plan.
Ultimately, the City of West Monroe can use the Central Downtown Development District to strengthen the local economy by:
- Encouraging cooperative public-private development efforts
- Attracting new real estate investment
- Enhancing public infrastructure
- Creating new jobs
- Increasing the tax base
Federal and State Funding Opportunities
You can use the search form below to filter and search available federal and state funding opportunities.
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The Economic Development funds are to be used to provide grants to local governments for infrastructure improvements which will facilitate the location of a particular business. Examples include sewer, water, and street/road access on public property to the private industrial/business site boundaries. The State also allows funding for program administration.
July 13, 2020
The Demonstrated Needs funds to be used to provide grants to make improvements to existing sewer systems involving collection and treatment, existing water systems addressing potable water, and existing gas systems.
The Public Facilities funds are to be used to improve sewer systems primarily involving collection lines, sewer systems involving collection and treatment, sewer treatment only, water systems addressing potable water, and new construction of graveled residential streets, rehabilitation, and/or reconstruction of residential streets (no asphaltic surface treatment). Drainage improvements is an eligible activity but is allowed only within a streets improvements application. The State also allows funding for application preparation and program administration.
Funding to build and repair critical pieces of freight and passenger transportation networks. Eligible activities are surface transportation capital projects that include, but are not limited to: (1) highway, bridge, or other road projects, (2) public transportation projects, (3) passenger and freight rail transportation projects; (4) port infrastructure investments (including inland port infrastructure and land ports of entry); (5) intermodal projects; and (6) projects investing in surface transportation facilities that are located on tribal land.
July 10, 2020
Funding to support public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation, the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, learning in the arts at all stages of life, and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Projects may be large or small, existing or new, and may take place in any part of the nation’s 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
Funding to support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. These projects require a partnership between a local government entity and nonprofit organization, one of which must be a cultural organization; and should engage in partnership with other sectors (such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development).
Funds support projects that provide employment-related services for dislocated workers. The Department of Labor funds two types of DWGs: Disaster Recovery and Employment Recovery. Employment Recovery DWGs temporarily expand capacity to serve dislocated workers and to meet the increased demand for employment and training services following a qualifying event. Qualifying events include major economic dislocations, such as plant closures, mass layoffs, or higher-than-average demand for employment and training activities for dislocated members of the Armed Forces and their spouses.
Funding supports subgrant programs that enable the rehabilitation of historic properties and rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development of rural communities. This program funds preservation projects for historic sites, including architectural and engineering services and physical building preservation through subgrants to communities, determined rural by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Funding to help preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections that convey the country’s rich heritage to future generations. Funds can be used for the preservation, rehabilitation, and conservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections.
Funds are awarded to eligible national and regional non-profit organizations and consortia to purchase home sites and develop or improve the infrastructure needed to set the stage for sweat equity and volunteer-based homeownership programs for low-income persons and families. Land acquisition, infrastructure improvements, and reasonable and necessary planning and administration costs (not to exceed 20 percent) are the only eligible uses for SHOP grant funds. The SHOP units must be sold to homebuyers at prices below the prevailing market price. Homebuyers must be low-income and must contribute a significant amount of sweat equity towards the development of the SHOP units.
Funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subawards to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.
Funding to carry out a range of eligible assessment and cleanup activities with a proposed target area, such as a neighborhood, a number of neighboring towns, a district, a corridor, a shared planning area, or a census tract.
The Public Works Program provides catalytic investments to help distressed communities build, design, or engineer critical infrastructure and facilities that will help implement regional development strategies and advance bottom-up economic development goals to promote regional prosperity.
A competitive grant program designed to support economic development activities by investing in basic public infrastructure, transportation improvements, flood control, workforce development, business development and entrepreneurship projects in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Mississippi River Delta Region.
A competitive grant program designed to support economic development activities by investing in basic public infrastructure, transportation improvements, and flood control projects in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Mississippi River Delta Region.
A competitive grant program designed to support economic development activities by investing in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, workforce development, small business development and entrepreneurship projects in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Mississippi River Delta Region including parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Funds are awarded to sponsoring organizations for the repair or rehabilitation of housing owned or occupied by low- and very-low-income rural citizens. Eligible expenses include: repairing or replacing electrical wiring, foundations, roofs, insulation, heating systems and water/waste disposal systems; handicap accessibility features; labor and materials; and administrative expenses.
This program provides 1 percent low-interest loans to local lenders or “intermediaries” that re-lend to businesses to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities. Funds can be used to acquire, construct, convert, enlarge or repair a business or business facility, particularly when jobs will be created or retained; to purchase or develop land (easements, rights of way, buildings, facilities, leases, materials); to purchase equipment, machinery or supplies, or make leasehold improvements; for start-up costs and working capital; for pollution control and abatement; for transportation services; to cover feasibility studies and some fees; towards the building of hotels, motels, convention centers; for educational institutions; for aquaculture-based rural small business; and to establish revolving lines of credit.
This program bolsters the availability of private credit by guaranteeing loans for rural businesses. Eligible uses of the funds include but are not limited to: business conversion, enlargement, repair, modernization, or development; purchase and development of land, easements, rights-of-way, buildings, or facilities; purchase of equipment, leasehold improvements, machinery, supplies, or inventory; debt refinancing when refinancing improves cash flow and creates or saves jobs; and business and industrial acquisitions when the loan will create or save jobs.
A competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Programmatic activities are separated into Enterprise or Opportunity type grant activities.
July 9, 2020
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