Wilmington Façade Improvement Grants Program Guidelines
The Façade Improvements Grants Program Fund is financed through monies received from the 1% Local Option Tax. The program is used to help offset the costs of improving facades of commercial buildings on main thoroughfares in Wilmington.
The 2017 program is funded at $75,000 and will be awarded through a one-time competitive grant process. Applications are available now with a deadline of February 1, 2017 at 4pm.
The Program is administered by the Town, with review authority and final approval provided by a committee consisting of one Select Board Representative, the Town Manager and the Economic Development Specialist. Assistance is available for filing your application through the Economic Development Specialist.
Applicants must meet the following criteria;
· Commercial property owners (Business, Rental Properties, and Non-profits) located on Route 100 North, Route 9 East & West, South Main Street, Coldbrook Road, and East Dover Road. The Property cannot be claimed as a Homestead and if rental property owner must provide proof they have not lived in the property for more than 2 years and will not occupy for 5 years.
· Projects include: Full façade change, siding, windows, painting, signage and landscaping.
· Projects must be on the exterior of the building and visible from the road or major parking lot.
· Projects must obtain all state and local permits if needed.
· Based on the total project cost, between $500 and up to a maximum of $5,000 can be reimbursed, with a required 25% cash match (In-kind is not eligible) from the commercial property owner. Commercial Property owners may also apply for a façade design rendering grant up to $1,000 for a design consultant.
· A $7,500 Façade funding cap is placed on property owners that own more than one property.
· Applicants must be current on all Town of Wilmington taxes and fees.
· Expenses that are payable with Town funding: Design expenses from a qualified design professional, labor costs/contractor fees, and cost of materials.
· Expenses that are not payable with Town funding: Roofs, projects not visible from the road or major parking lot, projects that started prior to the application (1 year from application date),
· Vendors are required to present a Certificate of Liability Insurance and a W-9 Form.
· The use of local businesses for services and supplies is encouraged.
· Buildings that have received prior Façade Funds are not eligible, unless the maximum grant was not received.
· FEDERAL INCOME TAX PROVISIONS– Funds dispersed under this program may be treated as income subject to Federal Income Tax Provisions. The Town of Wilmington is not liable for any tax implications resulting from the grant. Applicant should consult a tax advisor for clarification.
· “Sweat equity” work performed by the applicant, family members of the applicant or employees of the applicant are ineligible, unless the work is done as an agent of a construction company which has provided a quote included in the original application and approved by the committee.
· Expenses not directly related to the façade, including (but not limited to): interior renovations, heating and air conditioning, plumbing, electrical work other than that required for exterior lighting or signage are not covered under the program.
· Refinancing existing debt and non-fixed improvements is not covered under the program.
· Design elements changed during the project in which the applicant did not seek review and approval of the Selectboard was not obtained.
1. APPLICATION SUBMISSION & REVIEW
The applicant must submit a complete Façade Application and attachments. The Committee will review the applications for eligibility and if eligible will be scored using the criteria. Determinations of awards will be made by February 28,2017. All decisions made by the committee are final.
2. FAÇADE GRANT AGREEMENT AND CONSTRUCTION
If the application is approved by the Committee, the applicant shall sign a Façade Program Grant Agreement, which is a legal agreement between the applicant and the Town outlining the conditions under which the grant will be received and administered. After the Façade Grant Agreement has been executed by all parties and the applicant has secured all required permits, the project may proceed with the obligation of the Town to reimburse costs as approved in the Agreement. In order to assure funds are available, improvements to be made under this grant agreement must be initiated within one-hundred-eighty (180) calendar days after the execution of the Façade Grant Agreement. Projects must be completed November 1, 2017. Extensions may be granted at the discretion of the Economic & Community Development Specialist for documented just cause.
3. MODIFICATION OF APPROVED PLANS
If at any time during the course of carrying out the project work, the applicant finds he/she is unable to substantially adhere to the work as described in the application, work should be halted and contact the Economic Development Coordinator. Depending on the extent of the changes, it may require written permission.
The owner shall submit documentation that will be used to track the expenditures and demonstrate financing for reimbursement to the owner or directly to the vendor providing the service/construction. Such requests shall include the following:
· A detailed breakdown of any costs associated with the Project showing amounts expensed to date and the amounts then due and unpaid.
· Receipts and invoices.
· Lien Waivers from each material dealer, contractor and subcontractor who has done work or has furnished materials for the Project.
Reimbursements, to the maximum extent possible, will be made within 30 business days of the Economic Development Coordinator certifying a request is complete and accurate. No funds will be disbursed if completed work does not accurately reflect the Project as submitted for approval by the Committee. No funds will be disbursed if the Project does not meet all applicable codes and if work performed is not subject to an approved municipal permit.
Few people realize how complicated a construction process is, until they find themselves lost in the maze of design options, building codes, zoning laws, contractors, and so on. No two building projects are exactly alike, so there is no single, clear-cut path to follow. It is for that reason that the services of a design professional shall be required for all projects except for surface work such as paint, tuck-pointing, and awning improvements.
Drawings and specifications are the graphic and text descriptions of the project. Having a single, complete set of architectural drawings and specifications present to a number of prospective contractors allows an applicant to choose among comparable bids that are based upon the same expectations. Clear construction documents can also minimize costly delays and change orders. These documents also assist the Committee when reviewing your project for potential façade grant funding.
LEAD PAINT ABATEMENT
For all projects involving the removal of lead paint or the potential of removing lead paint, the recipient or its agents shall utilize the services of a certified lead paint abatement contractor. The recipient and its agents shall comply with all Vermont and Federal Laws pertaining to the removal and disposal of lead paint.
QUALITY OF WORK
All work under the Façade Program shall be performed in a professional and workmanlike manner. Prior to the work commencing, award recipients must secure applicable Federal, State, and Town permits. All proposed and actual work must conform to all applicable rules and regulations of all regulatory agencies and bodies of Federal, State, County, and Town governments. All completed work must pass appropriate inspection(s) of applicable reviewing agencies. The Economic & Community Development Coordinator reserves the right to withhold the grant reimbursement payment should the final inspection reveal that work performed was not completed in a professional and workmanlike manner and/or is not consistent with the application or construction documents.
POST AWARD PROJECT ALTERATIONS
Grant recipients shall agree not to alter, modify, or remove the improvements made in accordance with the Façade Grant Agreement for a period of five (5) years from the date the grant is disbursed without written permission of the Select board. The Select Board may recommend approval of such alterations, modifications, or removal of the improvements when it determines that the proposed work would not undermine the goals, objectives and policies of the grant program. If changes are made without seeking approval of the Select Board, the Town may take legal action to recoup some of the grant dollars.
The Town of Wilmington and its staff, officials and boards shall not be responsible for the planning, design, or construction of improvements to subject property. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied by the description of, application for or participation in the Town Façade Improvement Grant Program. The applicant is advised to consult with licensed architects, engineers, building contractors and attorneys before proceeding with final plans or construction.