February 1, 2010

    We recently had the opportunity to listen in to the Vision Iowa Board's December 2009 meeting, held by conference call.  The Vision Iowa Board is the Board that supervises the granting, funding and implementation of Community Attraction and Tourism Grants (CAT grants).  

    The Board is taking its role as supervisor of public funds seriously, as it should.  Consequently, however, those of you who are applying for CAT grants or currently have CAT grants, may want to be sure that you do the following:

    1.    Make sure you do not spend any funds for a potential project prior to the CAT grant date.  Apparently, there is language in the CAT grant that states that any funds expended before the official grant date will not be reimbursed.  It did not appear that the Board will make exceptions to this rule even when circumstances would be appealing to make an exception.

    2.    If you are not able to expend the funds by the grant completion date, you should request an extension of the grant completion date.  Many of the requests at the meetings were requests for extensions after the grant completion date had expired.  It may be that it would be easier to get an extension if the request for the extension was submitted before the expiration date.  

    3.    If the project involves historic tax credits or New Market tax credits, you may have to request the Vision Iowa Board to consent to a change in the ownership structure.  Such a change may involve extensive study and significant lead time so be sure to consider that factor.

    Note:  This memo is current as of 12-14-09.  It does not take the place of specific legal advice based on the facts and circumstances of an entity's individual circumstances. 

Please feel free to contact Ahlers & Cooney  Public Finance & Law Group with questions in regards to your project.

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