2021 Code of Alabama
Title 41 - State Government.
Chapter 23 - Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
Article 9 - Healthy Food Financing Act.
Section 41-23-153 - Establishment and Administration of Financing Program.

Universal Citation: AL Code § 41-23-153 (2021)

Section 41-23-153

Establishment and administration of financing program.

(a) The department, in cooperation with public and private sector partners, shall establish a financing program to provide financing to retailers to construct, rehabilitate, or expand grocery stores in underserved communities in urban and rural low and moderate income areas.

(b) The department may contract with one or more qualified nonprofit organizations or community development financial institutions to administer this program through a public-private partnership. The department shall establish program guidelines, promote the program statewide, evaluate applicants, underwrite and disburse grants and loans, and monitor compliance and impact. The department may develop rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act to carry out the program and to meet the intent of this article. No more than 10 percent of the monies in the fund shall be reserved for administrative and operational costs to manage the program by the department, unless those costs are provided for from other budgets or in-kind resources.

(c) The department shall establish monitoring and accountability mechanisms for projects receiving financing and shall report annually to the Legislature on the projects funded, the geographic distribution of the projects, the costs of the program, the administrative cost of the program, and the outcomes, including the number and type of jobs created and health impacts associated with the program.

(d) The department shall create eligibility guidelines and provide financing through an application process. Projects shall be located in an underserved community and primarily serve low or moderate income areas. Projects eligible for financing include the following:

(1) Construction of new grocery stores.

(2) Store renovations, expansion, and infrastructure upgrades that improve the availability and quality of fresh produce and other healthy foods.

(e) An applicant for financing may be a for-profit or nonprofit entity, including, but not limited to, a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, cooperative, nonprofit organization, nonprofit community development entity, university, or government entity. An applicant for financing shall do all of the following:

(1) Demonstrate the capacity to successfully implement the project and the likelihood that the project will be economically self-sustaining.

(2) Demonstrate the ability to repay the debt.

(3) Agree, for a period of at least five years, to comply with the following conditions:

a. To allocate at least 30 percent of food retail space for the sale of perishable foods, which may include fresh or frozen dairy, fresh produce, whole grains, fresh meats, poultry, and fish.

b. To comply with all data collection and reporting requirements established by the department.

c. To promote the hiring of local residents.

(f) In determining which qualified projects to finance, the department shall consider all of the following:

(1) The level of need in the area to be served.

(2) The degree to which the project requires an investment of public financing to move forward, create impact, or be competitive, and the level of need in the area to be served.

(3) The degree to which the project will have a positive economic impact on the underserved community, including by creating or retaining jobs for local residents.

(4) The degree to which the project will participate in state and local health department initiatives to educate consumers on nutrition and promote healthier eating.

(5) Other criteria the department determines to be consistent with the purposes of this article.

(g) Financing made available for projects may be used for any of the following purposes:

(1) Site acquisition and preparation.

(2) Construction and build-out costs.

(3) Equipment and furnishings.

(4) Workforce training or security.

(5) Pre-development costs such as market studies and appraisals.

(6) Energy efficiency measures.

(7) Working capital for first-time inventory and startup costs.

(Act 2015-240, §4.)

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