Policy for the Beautification/Infrastructure Grant Program

  1. The purpose of this program is to fund one-time public infrastructure and/or beautification projects deemed to be of benefit to the unincorporated County of San Luis Obispo by the County Board of Supervisors. County funds may be used for the specific purpose of funding a particular infrastructure and/or beautification project being carried out by an IRS tax exempt non-profit organization, Board recognized advisory body and/or commission, community services district, or other qualified public agency including a County agency or department that will achieve a certain goal which is beneficial to County residents and/or visitors. The County may not, however, make donations, pay for completed projects or "match funds" raised by a certain group because such donations are considered a gift of public funds and are specifically prohibited by state law. A public infrastructure and/or beautification project is defined as a one-time project that enhances a community’s cultural, environmental, recreational or historical assets. 
  2. Organizations must either have non-profit designation at the time of the grant application submission or be a public agency such as a Board recognized advisory body and/or commission, community services district, or County agency or department. Evidence of IRS tax exempt status will be required at the time of the grant application submission.
  3. The project which the County is funding may actually be only part of a project currently being carried out by a group or organization. For grants request of $10,000 or more, County funding shall not be the only source of funding for the project.
  4. Although the cost of insurance, salaries and equipment may be a part of the project (i.e. necessary to carry out the project); grant funding will not be used to maintain the project or to pay for insurance, salaries, or equipment to maintain the project. The project description should concentrate on the final outcome or benefit that the project will provide to the community and what will be achieved with the grant funding.
  5. It is important that the project description be very specific, as it may be audited for verification that it has been carried out in accordance with the terms of the agreement with the County. Thus, for example, carrying out the "good work" of the group or organization is not an acceptable project.  The project must be defined in terms of the benefit that County residents and/or visitors to the County will receive from the project. 
  6. Each applicant must complete an application in order to be considered for these funds. An application should include details about the project and include an overall project budget. 
  7. On an annual basis, applications shall be submitted to the County Administrative Office within the time frame specified in the request for application. A review committee will review all grant applications and will recommend a specific level of grant if any, for the project.  All grant recommendations will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Once a grant funding level has been approved by the Board of Supervisors, an agreement specifying the terms and conditions for funding of the project will be sent to each agency or organization for signature.
  8. After a signed agreement is returned by the applicant, County Counsel will review and sign the agreement as to form legal effect. Final approval and processing of the agreement will be done according to the following guidelines: 
    1. For funding amounts of $50,000 or less: Signature by the County Administrative Officer, or designee, on behalf of the County; 
    2. For funding amounts of $50,000 or more: Placement on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for Board approval.
  9. Monies to fund the project will be issued by the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector following approval of the agreement by either the County Administrative Officer, (or designee), or by the Board of Supervisors.
  10. No funds will be released until all permits, licenses and/or required authorizations are obtained. As noted in #3 above, for grant request of $10,000 or more, County funding shall not be the only source of funding for the project. All funding should be in place prior to the submittal of a grant application. 
  11. The amount of funds available on an annual basis is at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors.
  12. With the exception of the first grant year (FY 2015-16), all projects will be completed within the fiscal year that the funds are granted in.
  13. A report will be submitted to the County Administrative Office within 60 days of the completion of the project. The report shall also include a final comparison of the approved budget to actual expenditures.