A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Water Supply Assistance Grant Fund, hereafter referred to as “the Fund.” The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. All funds appropriated as matching funds for moneys available through the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, all penalties and charges directed to this fund by §§ 32.1-27, 32.1-175.01 and 32.1-176, and all other funds from any public or private source directed to the Fund shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys in the Fund shall be used solely for the purposes found in subsection B. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Commissioner at the direction of the Board.
B. The Board shall utilize the moneys appropriated as matching funds for that purpose and, subject to other available funds, may make Water Supply Assistance Grants from the Fund to localities and the owners of waterworks to assist in the provision of drinking water. The Board shall develop guidelines establishing the (i) criteria for grant eligibility, (ii) conditions to be included in grants, and (iii) grant distribution priorities. Among the factors that shall be included in the criteria for grant eligibility and in the grant distribution priorities shall be the financial condition of the locality wherein a grant is sought.
C. The Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.) shall not apply to the development of guidelines for the Fund. However, the process for development of the guidelines by the Board shall include (i) the use of an advisory committee composed of interested parties, (ii) a minimum sixty-day public comment period on draft guidelines followed by a public hearing, (iii) written responses to all comments received, and (iv) notice of the availability of draft guidelines and final guidelines to all who request such notice.
1999, c. 786.