Department Issues RFP for COVID-Response Connected Community Resilience Program

20 July 2020

COVID-Response Connected Community Resilience Program Grant

As provided by H. 966, which was signed into law by Governor Phil Scott on July 2, 2020, the purpose of the COVID-Response Connected Community Resilience Program (the “Program”) is to fund recovery planning efforts of communications union districts, particularly with regard to accelerating their deployment schedules. (Request for Proposals)

Accelerated deployment is necessary in direct response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This grant program provides CUDs with the necessary funding to identify, evaluate options and to accelerate the deployment of solutions that will improve the connectivity of unserved and underserved residents, particularly for purposes of facilitating their capabilities for remote learning, telehealth, and remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Communications Union District (“CUD”) is an organization consisting of two or more towns that joined together as a municipal organization to solve the connectivity issues facing residents of their region.  The COVID-19 public health emergency has seen the CUDs emerge as an important community resource for gathering information, documenting needs, and implementing emergency responses related to remote learning and telehealth.

Grants to each CUD shall not exceed $100,000. 

Eligible Costs
Costs eligible for funding under this Program include consultant fees, administrative expenses, staff, and any other recovery planning costs deemed appropriate by the Commissioner. 

All costs incurred must be eligible under Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act, as added by Section 5001 of the CARES Act. This section requires that States, Tribal governments, or units of local government use the funds received to cover only those costs that (1) are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19); (2) were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020, for the State or government; and (3) were, or will be,  incurred during the period beginning on March 1, 2020, and end on December 30, 2020.

Any capital costs to be covered by this grant must accelerate deployment and significantly improve connectivity by December 30, 2020.  For such projects, the applicant must identify an anticipated “in-service” date for deployment and improved connectivity. Expenses must also not be eligible for FEMA reimbursement.

Additional state guidelines may affect the administration of this grant program and the Department of Public Service reserves the right to make changes to this program as necessary to ensure compliance with Section 601(d) of the Social Security Act.
 

Proposal Submission
Proposals must be submitted electronically to psd.telecom@vermont.gov as a PDF.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Staff will make a recommendation to the commissioner within one week of receipt of the application. Applicants will be notified of the Commissioner’s decision with ten business days of the receipt of the application.