ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FUND GUIDELINES
Purpose: The purpose of the Economic Opportunity Fund is to address unemployment and underemployment of County residents by assisting County businesses in providing higher wage permanent jobs by providing matching funding to federal or state economic development projects.
1) Minimum Requirements for Consideration
a) Approved Application: Prior approval from a state or federal grant program requiring a local match, such as the Governor’s Opportunity Fund
b) Qualifications: The applicant needs to demonstrate his or her qualifications and experience in following through on the proposed project.
2) Evaluation Criteria
a) High-wage jobs: An important goal of the Albemarle County Strategic Plan is to increase the ability of those individuals and families, who are living in lower-income households, to become self-sufficient. Eligible projects should increase the number of jobs, especially higher-wage jobs.
b) Local Workforce Recruitment and Development: Applicants should describe the commitment to recruit local residents to fill vacant positions, including the number of jobs and expected wages, compared to comparable average wages in the chosen industry. Eligible projects should provide work-force training.
c) Matching Funds: This fund was capitalized on a one-time basis for a maximum amount of $250,000. To maximize the fund’s impact, projects are considered more highly if demonstrating the success of the project is tied to other supporting financial resources. Though not a strict requirement, preferred projects should require from the Fund less than 20% of total project cost, in keeping with the goal of providing “gap” funding. Eligible projects will include federal or state funding.
d) Tangible Benefits to the Community: Each applicant is expected to demonstrate how the project will provide measureable and tangible benefit to the community. In order to satisfy this criterion, an applicant must address each of the following elements:
i) Capital Investment: Like workforce development, project applications need to specify and quantify expected capital investment (land purchase, building development, machinery, tools and equipment).
ii) Estimated Economic Value/Return on Investment: The applicant is encouraged to furnish data on anticipated County revenues. This can include property taxes, machinery and equipment taxes, and sales taxes.
e) County Goals and Objectives: The County Comprehensive Plan and the County’s Strategic plan can be accessed online at the following address, www.ablemarle.org. A project will receive more favorable consideration where the project ties to specific goals and objectives of either plan.
3) Conditions for Receipt of Funds
a) Performance Agreement: Approved projects will be subject to a performance agreement which will require commitments in the following areas, at a minimum:
i) Total jobs created for local residents
ii) Wage levels for jobs created
iii) Capital investment
iv) Matching funds
b) Performance Surety: An approved project will be required to provide some form of surety acceptable to the County Attorney guaranteeing the County’s investment is refunded if agreed upon performance criteria are not met.
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