(1) The purpose of this section is to assist in implementing the legislative declaration of public policy as contained in s. 403.021 by establishing a self-perpetuating program to accelerate the implementation of water pollution control projects. Projects and activities that may be funded are those eligible under s. 603 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act), Pub. L. No. 92-500, as amended; including, but not limited to, planning, design, construction, and implementation of wastewater management systems, stormwater management systems, nonpoint source pollution management systems, and estuary conservation and management.
(2) As used in this section and s. 403.1837, the term:
(a) “Bonds” means bonds, certificates, or other obligations of indebtedness issued by the corporation under this section and s. 403.1837.
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 403.1835
- Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
- Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
- Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
- Department: means the Department of Environmental Protection. See Florida Statutes 403.281
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
- Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
(b) “Corporation” means the Florida Water Pollution Control Financing Corporation created under s. 403.1837.
(c) “Local governmental agencies” refers to any municipality, county, district, or authority, or any agency thereof, or a combination of two or more of the foregoing, acting jointly in connection with a project having jurisdiction over collection, transmission, treatment, or disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, stormwater, or other wastes and includes a district or authority whose principal responsibility is to provide airport, industrial or research park, or port facilities to the public.
(3) The department may provide financial assistance through any program authorized under 33 U.S.C. s. 1383, as amended, including, but not limited to, making grants and loans, providing loan guarantees, purchasing loan insurance or other credit enhancements, and buying or refinancing local debt. This financial assistance must be administered in accordance with this section and applicable federal authorities.
(a) The department may make or request the corporation to make loans to local government agencies, which may pledge any revenue available to them to repay any funds borrowed.
(b) The department may make or request the corporation to make loans, grants, and deposits to other entities eligible to participate in the financial assistance programs authorized under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or as a result of other federal action, which may pledge any revenue available to them to repay any funds borrowed. Notwithstanding s. 17.57, the department may make deposits to financial institutions that earn less than the prevailing rate for United States Treasury securities that have corresponding maturities for the purpose of enabling such financial institutions to make below-market interest rate loans to entities qualified to receive loans under this section and the rules of the department.
(c) The department shall administer financial assistance so that at least 15 percent of the funding made available each year under this section is reserved for use by small communities during the year it is reserved.
(4) The department may assess grant allocations on the loans made under this section for the purpose of making grants to financially disadvantaged small communities.
(5) The department shall prepare an annual report detailing the amount of grants, amount loaned, interest earned, grant allocations, and loans outstanding at the end of each fiscal year.
(6) Prior to approval of financial assistance, the applicant shall:
(a) Submit evidence of credit worthiness, loan security, and a loan repayment schedule in support of a request for a loan.
(b) Submit plans and specifications and evidence of permittability in support of a request for funding of construction or other activities requiring a permit from the department.
(c) Provide assurance that records will be kept using generally accepted accounting principles and that the department, the Auditor General, or their agents will have access to all records pertaining to the financial assistance provided.
(d) Provide assurance that the subject facilities, systems, or activities will be properly operated and maintained.
(e) Identify the revenues to be pledged and document their sufficiency for loan repayment and pledged revenue coverage in support of a request for a loan.
(f) Provide assurance that financial information will be provided as required by the department.
(g) Provide assurance that a project audit prepared by an independent certified public accountant upon project completion will be submitted to the department in support of a request for a grant.
(h) Submit project planning documentation demonstrating a cost comparison of alternative methods, environmental soundness, public participation, and financial feasibility for any proposed project or activity.
(7) Eligible projects must be given priority according to the extent each project is intended to remove, mitigate, or prevent adverse effects on surface or ground water quality and public health. The relative costs of achieving environmental and public health benefits must be taken into consideration during the department’s assignment of project priorities. The department shall adopt a priority system by rule. In developing the priority system, the department shall give priority to projects that:
(a) Eliminate public health hazards;
(b) Enable compliance with laws requiring the elimination of discharges to specific water bodies, including the requirements of s. 403.086(10) regarding domestic wastewater ocean outfalls;
(c) Assist in the implementation of total maximum daily loads adopted under s. 403.067;
(d) Enable compliance with other pollution control requirements, including, but not limited to, toxics control, wastewater residuals management, and reduction of nutrients and bacteria;
(e) Assist in the implementation of surface water improvement and management plans and pollutant load reduction goals developed under state water policy;
(f) Promote reclaimed water reuse;
(g) Eliminate failing onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems or those that are causing environmental damage;
(h) Reduce pollutants to and otherwise promote the restoration of Florida’s surface and ground waters;
(j) Promote efficiency by planning for the installation of wastewater transmission facilities to be constructed concurrently with other construction projects occurring within or along a transportation facility right-of-way.
(8)(a) If a local governmental agency becomes delinquent on its loan, the department shall so certify to the Chief Financial Officer, who shall forward the amount delinquent to the department from any unobligated funds due to the local governmental agency under any revenue-sharing or tax-sharing fund established by the state, except as otherwise provided by the State Constitution. Certification of delinquency shall not limit the department from pursuing other remedies available for default on a loan. The department may impose a penalty for delinquent loan payments in an amount not to exceed an interest rate of 18 percent per annum on the amount due in addition to charging the cost to handle and process the debt. Penalty interest shall accrue on any amount due and payable beginning on the 30th day following the date upon which payment is due.
(b) If a loan recipient, other than a local government agency, defaults under the terms of a loan, the department may pursue any remedy available to it at law or in equity. The department may impose a penalty in an amount not to exceed an interest rate of 18 percent per annum on any amount due in addition to charging the cost to handle and process the debt. Penalty interest accrues on any amount due and payable beginning on the 30th day following the date upon which the amount is due.
(9) Funds for the loans and grants authorized under this section must be managed as follows:
(a) A nonlapsing trust fund with revolving loan provisions to be known as the “Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund” is established in the State Treasury to be used as a revolving fund by the department to carry out the purpose of this section. Any funds therein which are not needed on an immediate basis for grants or loans may be invested pursuant to s. 215.49. The cost of administering the program shall be paid from federal funds, from reasonable service fees that may be imposed upon loans, and from proceeds from the sale of loans as permitted by federal law so as to enhance program perpetuity. Grants awarded by the Federal Government, state matching funds, and investment earnings thereon shall be deposited into the trust fund. Proceeds from the sale of loans must be deposited into the trust fund. All moneys available in the trust fund, including investment earnings, are hereby designated to carry out the purpose of this section. The principal and interest payments of all loans held by the trust fund shall be deposited into this trust fund.
1. The department may obligate moneys available in the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund for payment of amounts payable under any service contract entered into by the department under s. 403.1837, subject to annual appropriation by the Legislature. Amounts on deposit in the trust fund in each fiscal year shall first be applied or allocated for the payment of amounts payable by the department under this subparagraph and appropriated each year by the Legislature before making or providing for other disbursement from the trust fund.
2. Under the provisions of s. 19(f)(3), Art. III of the State Constitution, the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund is exempt from the termination provisions of s. 19(f)(2), Art. III of the State Constitution.
(b) Revenues from the loan grant allocations authorized under subsection (4), federal appropriations used for the purpose of administering this section, and service fees, and all earnings thereon, shall be deposited into the department’s Federal Grants Trust Fund. Service fees and all earnings thereon must be used solely for program administration and other water quality activities specifically authorized pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act), Pub. L. No. 92-500, as amended, and set forth in 40 C.F.R. part 35, Guidance on Fees Charged by States to Recipients of Clean Water State Revolving Fund Program Assistance. The loan grant allocation revenues and earnings thereon must be used solely for the purpose of making grants to financially disadvantaged small communities. Federal appropriations and state matching funds for grants authorized by federal statute or other federal action, and earnings thereon, must be used solely for the purposes authorized. All deposits into the department’s Federal Grants Trust Fund under this section, and earnings thereon, must be accounted for separately from all other moneys deposited into the fund.
(10) The department may adopt rules regarding program administration; project eligibilities and priorities, including the development and management of project priority lists; financial assistance application requirements associated with planning, design, construction, and implementation activities, including environmental and engineering requirements; financial assistance agreement conditions; disbursement and repayment provisions; auditing provisions; program exceptions; the procedural and contractual relationship between the department and the corporation under s. 403.1837; and other provisions consistent with the purposes of this section.
(11) Any projects for reclaimed water reuse in Monroe County funded from the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund must take into account water balances and nutrient balances in order to prevent the runoff of pollutants into surface waters.