Text: S.2458 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (12/12/2007)


110th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 2458


To promote and enhance the operation of local building code enforcement administration across the country by establishing a competitive Federal matching grant program.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

December 12, 2007

Ms. Landrieu introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affair


A BILL

To promote and enhance the operation of local building code enforcement administration across the country by establishing a competitive Federal matching grant program.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2007”.

SEC. 2. Grant program authorized.

(a) Grant authorization.—The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall provide grants to local building code enforcement departments.

(b) Competitive awards.—The Secretary shall award grants under subsection (a) on a competitive basis pursuant to the criteria set forth in section 6, but also taking into consideration the following:

(1) The financial need of each building code enforcement department.

(2) The benefit to the local jurisdiction of having an adequately funded building code enforcement department.

(3) The demonstrated ability of each building code enforcement department to work cooperatively with other local code enforcement offices, health departments, and local prosecutorial agencies.

(c) Maximum amount.—The maximum amount of any grant awarded under this section shall not exceed $1,000,000.

SEC. 3. Required elements in grant proposals.

In order to be eligible for a grant under section 2, a local building code enforcement department shall submit to the Secretary the following:

(1) A demonstration of the jurisdiction’s needs in executing building code enforcement administration.

(2) A plan for the use of any funds received under this Act that addresses the needs discussed in paragraph (1) and that is consistent with the authorized uses established in section 4.

(3) A plan for local governmental actions to be taken to establish and sustain local building code enforcement administration functions, without continuing Federal support, at a level at least equivalent to that proposed in the grant application.

(4) A plan to create and maintain a program of public outreach that includes a regularly updated and readily accessible means of public communication, interaction, and reporting regarding the services and work of the local building code enforcement department to be supported by the grant.

(5) A plan for ensuring the timely and effective administrative enforcement of building safety and fire prevention violations.

SEC. 4. Use of funds; matching funds.

(a) Authorized uses.—Grants awarded under section 2 may be used by the grant recipient to supplement existing State or local funding for building code enforcement administration. Such funds may be used to increase staffing, provide staff training, increase staff competence and professional qualifications, support individual certification or departmental accreditation, or for capital expenditures specifically dedicated to the administration of the local building code enforcement department.

(b) Matching funds required.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to receive a grant under this Act, a local building code enforcement department serving—

(A) a community that is very economically disadvantaged, shall provide matching, non-Federal funds in an amount equal to not less than 5 percent of the total amount of any grant to be awarded under this Act;

(B) a community that is moderately economically disadvantaged, shall provide matching, non-Federal funds in an amount equal to not less than 10 percent of the total amount of any grant to be awarded under this Act; or

(C) any other community, shall provide matching, non-Federal funds in an amount equal to not less than 20 percent of the total amount of any grant to be awarded under this Act.

(2) ECONOMIC DISTRESS.—

(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary may waive the matching fund requirements under paragraph (1), and institute, by regulation, new matching fund requirements based upon the level of economic distress of the local jurisdiction in which the local building code enforcement department seeking such grant is located.

(B) CONTENT OF REGULATIONS.—Any regulations instituted under subparagraph (A) shall include—

(i) a method that allows for a comparison of the degree of economic distress among the local jurisdictions of grant applicants, as measured by the differences in the extent of growth lag, the extent of poverty, and the adjusted age of housing in such jurisdiction; and

(ii) any other factor determined to be relevant by the Secretary in assessing the comparative degree of economic distress among such local jurisdictions.

(c) In-kind contributions.—In determining the non-Federal share required to be provided under subsection (b), the Secretary shall consider in-kind contributions, not to exceed 50 percent of the amount that the department contributes in non-Federal funds.

(d) Waiver of matching requirement.—The Secretary shall waive the matching fund requirements under subsection (b) for any recipient jurisdiction that has legislatively dedicated all building code permitting fees to the conduct of local building code enforcement.

SEC. 5. Rating and ranking of applications.

Eligible applications shall be rated and ranked according to the criteria described in section 6. All complete applications will be compared to one another and points assigned on a continuum within each criterion, with the maximum points awarded to the application that best meets the criterion.

SEC. 6. Criteria.

(a) Need and community benefit from code enforcement grant funds.—Applications shall be rated and ranked on the degree to which the application demonstrates the intent and means to ensure cooperative and effective working relationships between local building code enforcement officials and other local agencies, as well as a community-oriented approach to building code enforcement, with the award of points as follows:


Description Maximum Points
A detailed description of the capital expenditures to be acquired with grant funds and a demonstration that the items’ costs are reasonable. 0–10
The jurisdiction’s need for the capital expenditure and how the grant funds will fulfill this need. 0–10
The joint benefits provided by the proposed expenditure for the following groups or activities: Provide a brief explanation of the benefit. (1 point will be awarded for each response, 5 points maximum). 1. Code enforcement program. 2. Community or jurisdiction. 3. Interdisciplinary code enforcement team. 4. Housing preservation, rehabilitation programs, or neighborhood improvement programs. 5. Special needs groups (disabled, elderly or low or very-low income, etc.). 0–5
Does the proposed capital expenditure provide a cost savings benefit to the jurisdiction? Provide a brief explanation of the cost savings. 0–5

(b) Current code enforcement and housing conservation plan.—Each application shall be rated and ranked on the degree to which the local legislative body in which the applicant resides adopted a “plan” which addresses residential structure conservation and building code enforcement, with the award of points as follows:


Description Maximum Points
The plan provides for proactive code enforcement (not just responding to complaints), an interdisciplinary approach, and includes funding options for repairs and rehabilitation. 10
The plan only provides for proactive code enforcement (not just responding to complaints) and calls for an interdisciplinary approach and does not address funding options for repairs and rehabilitation. 8
The plan provides for some type of proactive code enforcement (other than just responding to complaints) but doesn’t address coordinated interdisciplinary activities with other local public agencies or funding options. 6
The plan provides for only reactive code enforcement. 4
The plan only refers to a need to preserve and/or improve existing housing stock, without any code enforcement program. 2
No existing plan. 0

(c) Community-oriented or interdisciplinary code enforcement.—Each application shall be rated and ranked on the degree to which the application demonstrates the intent and means to ensure cooperative and effective working relationships between building code enforcement officials and other local agencies, as well as a community-oriented approach to code enforcement, with the award of points as follows:


Description Maximum Points
Identify current or proposed interdisciplinary code enforcement programs or activities and the team members (example: code enforcement, police, local prosecutors, health department, building and planning, fire, etc.). Provide a description of the team’s code enforcement and coordination procedures, activities and services provided. If the current programs or resources are limited in scope, explain how receipt of the grant will be used to improve the program. 0–10
Identify current or proposed community-oriented code enforcement programs, activities or services. (Examples: community clean-ups, Neighborhood Watch programs, community meetings, door-to-door code enforcement knock and talks, etc.). If the current programs or resources are limited in scope, explain how receipt of the grant will be used to improve the program. 0–10

(d) Proactive code enforcement activities.—Each application shall be rated and ranked on the effectiveness of the proposed or existing proactive activities and programs operated by any existing building code enforcement program, with the award of points as follows:


Description Maximum Points
Encourages repairs and preservation, rather than demolition or abandonment, of substandard residences. 0–5
Abatement of (a) lead hazards and lead-based paints, (b) toxic molds and dampness, and (c) displacement or relocation of residents. 0–5
Community clean-up campaigns, which may include recycling dates, free or reduced disposal rates at dumpsite, public clean-up days that encourage removal of unwanted or excess debris by making available extra trash pick-ups, dumpsites or trash or recycling containers on specific dates to dispose of household debris, inoperable vehicles, tires, toxic materials, etc. 0–5
Resource or referral programs for Federal, State, local, and private funds and other resources available in your jurisdiction that can assist with housing rehabilitation and repairs to rectify code violations. 0–5
Public education programs on housing issues. These could include community housing meetings dealing with homeownership, tenant/landlord issues, housing code enforcement, school age children's programs with coloring books or handouts, housing safety pamphlets, etc. 0–5
Programs that encourage community involvement with groups; such as schools, church non-profits, community service groups, utility companies, local stores, housing agency banks, etc. 0–5

(e) Capacity To financially and technically support proposed capital expenditures.—Each application shall be rated and ranked on the degree to which the application demonstrates the jurisdiction’s financial and technical capacity to properly use and successfully support the proposed capital expenditure during the term of the grant, with the award of points as follows:


Description Maximum Points
The anticipated ongoing program funding for the duration of the grant program is adequate to financially support the use of the grant-financed equipment. Include details of funding and technical support sources for the capital expenditure (examples: insurance, paper, maintenance, training, supplies, personnel, monthly billing costs, etc.). 0–5
The jurisdiction has the technical capabilities to use and support equipment (examples: adequately trained staff or resources to provide training to operate technical equipment, local service provider for cell phones or 2-way radios, trained personnel to operate equipment, etc.). 0–5

SEC. 7. Evaluation and report.

(a) In general.—Grant recipients shall—

(1) be obligated to fully account and report for the use of all grants funds; and

(2) provide a report to the Secretary on the effectiveness of the program undertaken by the grantee and any other criteria requested by the Secretary for the purpose of indicating the effectiveness of, and ideas for, refinement of the grant program.

(b) Report.—The report required under subsection (a)(2) shall include a discussion of—

(1) the specific capabilities and functions in local building code enforcement administration that were addressed using funds received under this Act;

(2) the lessons learned in carrying out the plans supported by the grant; and

(3) the manner in which the programs supported by the grant are to be maintained by the grantee.

(c) Content of reports.—The Secretary shall—

(1) require each recipient of a grant under ths Act to file interim and final reports under subsection (b) to ensure that grant funds are being used as intended and to measure the effectiveness and benefits of the grant program; and

(2) develop and maintain a means whereby the public can access such reports, at no cost, via the Internet.

SEC. 8. Definitions.

For purposes of this Act, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) BUILDING CODE ENFORCEMENT DEPARTMENT.—The term “building code enforcement department” means the building code inspection or enforcement agency of a local jurisdiction.

(2) JURISDICTION.—The term “jurisdiction” means a city, county, parish, city and county authority, or city and parish authority having local authority to enforce building codes and regulations and collect fees for building permits.

(3) SECRETARY.—The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

SEC. 9. Authorization of appropriations.

(a) In general.—There are authorized to be appropriated $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2013 to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to carry out the provisions of this Act.

(b) Reservation.—From the amount made available under subsection (a), the Secretary may reserve not more than 5 percent for administrative costs.

(c) Availability.—Any funds appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) shall remain available until expended.


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