Indiana’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Program

The State of Indiana received funds from the federal government as part of the CARES Act to address COVID-19-related matters. The state has allocated $300 Million to local municipalities. We have received a few questions on how the funds can be used. 

Our friends at the Association of Indiana Counties (AIC) have a page on their website that provides resources to local municipalities on how the CARES Act funds can be used. Click here to go to AIC’s COVID-19 page. 

We also want you to know that Region 3-A is here to help you through this very trying time. If we can help answer questions on CARES Act funding please contact us.

About the AIC 

The Association of Indiana Counties (AIC) was established in 1957 for the betterment of county government. AIC’s purposes and goals are to seek the betterment of county government through: representation of counties at the Indiana General Assembly; research and dissemination of information; communications through publications and seminars; professional training and educational programs; liaison between counties, state and federal agencies; and technical and managerial assistance.

While there are a number of agencies and groups offering assistance to county government, AIC is the only entity that represents the legislative needs of Indiana counties.

Funding Options for Indiana Drinking Water Projects

Communities often want to upgrade their drinking water capacity but are limited by available finances. There are loan and grant options available, which allow for projects to be completed in a timely manner. 

The funding agencies are aware of the challenges that small towns face. When grants are involved the agency focuses on the financial impact a project will have for a community. When a town chooses a loan option, agencies provide repayment terms that allow for a community to pay back the loan so that residents aren’t drastically impacted with their monthly utility bills. 

The items below represent grant and loan options where Region 3-A can provide technical assistance to a community in getting a drinking water project funded.

OCRA 

Wastewater/Drinking Water Program 

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs offers funding for drinking water projects under their wastewater/drinking water program. The funds for this program come from the federal level under Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funds come to the state as a community development block grant. The state through OCRA disburses the funds to projects that meet eligibility requirements. Communities must submit a grant application to OCRA for consideration. The grant applications are competitive. They typically have two rounds of funding per year. Below is OCRA’s matrix for determining the maximum grant amount available for a project. The local match requirement is at least 20% of the project cost.

Urgent Need 

OCRA can fund projects under the urgent need designation. 

There are two criteria that need to be met for OCRA to consider a project under this designation. 

  1. The project must address an emergency situation
  2. The community must demonstrate that no other means of paying for the project exist and that OCRA funds are the only option. 

Based on information presented at OCRA continuing education events they have stated this designation has only been used once in the last 40 years.

State Revolving Fund

 The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Programs provide low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. The Program’s mission is to provide eligible entities with the lowest interest rates possible on the financing of such projects while protecting public health and the environment. 

SRF also funds non-point source projects that are tied to a wastewater loan. Currently, SRF’s rates are in the low two-percent range.

USDA

Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program

  • Loan term as long as 40 years
  • Low interest rates
  • Typically, a loan program, but some of the funds can be used as grant dollars to keep user costs reasonable

Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants

  • Up to $500,000 available to construct water source, intake or treatment facility
  • Up to $150,000 available to construct waterline extensions, or repair breaks or leaks
  • No funds available currently

National Rural Water Association Rural Water Loan Fund

Eligible projects include planning costs, replacing equipment, system upgrades, and disaster recovery.

  • Loan amount up $100,000 or 75% of the total project cost
  • Interest rate of 3% and a 10-year term
  • Emergency loans are 90-day no interest, and immediate turn around on applications

EPA – Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act

Eligible projects include drinking water treatment and distribution, alternative water supply, water recycling projects, and enhanced energy efficiency at drinking water facilities.

  • A single fixed interest rate is established at closing
  • Interest rate is not impacted by the borrower’s credit or loan structure
  • Customized repayment schedules
  • Long repayment period
  • Deferred payment – Up to five years
  • Subordination
  • Loans can be combined with various funding sources
  • More Information

If you’re looking for more information on available water funding, contact us at region3a@region3a.org to learn about the best options for your community.

COVID-19 Regional Planning and Recovery

As a regional unit of government serving Northeast Indiana, our sole imperative has always been to support the advancement of Northeast Indiana. We have assisted with many community, economic development, transportation and housing projects throughout the region. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 public health crisis, we are working on ways to help our community heal, help area businesses, and assist with economic growth to keep our region moving forward. 

Point of Contact

Region 3A has also served as a regional liaison to many state and federal agencies, providing an efficient single point of contact for 6 counties and 32 municipalities. As an agency governed by local county and municipal officials, Region 3A is here to support development and rehabilitation needs. 

Reliable Information 

Our promise to the counties that we serve is that we will always be informed with accurate and up-to-date information on emerging federal, state, local and private sector business support initiatives and programs, and available as a source for information. Now more than ever, we encourage businesses and organizations to reach out to explore options for grants and assistance under our services offerings. 

Relief and Moving Forward 

Region 3A is developing a plan with local and regional organizations to provide information and help our community receive short-term relief and assistance. We are here to help residents navigate the quick changes of available resources, provide necessary details, and meet deadlines for upcoming relief funding. 

If you would like more information on relief funding for businesses as it becomes available, please reach out to us at region3a@region3a.org.

Transportation Grant Programs

Our transportation department works to improve local road conditions and offers the resources needed for transportation grant planning.

We’ve added information on some available grants. Find all of the details on these programs under the Transportation Grant Opportunities section of the website.

Community Crossing Matching Grant

A partnership between INDOT and Hoosier communities, both urban and rural, to invest in infrastructure projects that catalyze economic development, create jobs, and strengthen local transportation networks.

Local Public Agency Programs Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) issues a project call for local rural projects. Funding is available for PLA’s interested in any type of new project including: bridge, road, safety, sidewalk or any type of project that is eligible under the federal transportation highway bill  (FAST Act). 

Local Tax Matching Grant

The rail overpass program provides grants to cities, towns and counties bodies for grade separation, crossing closure and other safety enhancement projects at rail-highway intersections on local roads.

Funding for this program is provided through changes in HEA 1002 effective July, 2017.

Highway Safety Improvement Program

The program provides remediation for six types of accidents.  The countermeasures are detailed in the Indiana Strategic Highway Plan (SHSP). This program applies to areas that display a higher than normal rate of fatal and incapacitating injury accidents.

Safe Routes to School

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) administers the Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS).  This program provides for the construction and/or improvement of sidewalks that lead to schools.  program has been combined with the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).