State of Washington
67th Legislature
2022 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Abbarno, Griffey, Sutherland, Dent, Graham, and Orcutt
Read first time 01/12/22.Referred to Committee on Capital Budget.
AN ACT Relating to capital projects for the provision of fire protection services; and adding a new chapter to Title 43 RCW.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1. The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Department" means the department of commerce.
(2) "Fire protection services capital project" means a project of a local government for the planning, acquisition, construction, repair, reconstruction, replacement, rehabilitation, or improvement of a facility providing fire protection services.
(3) "Local governments" means cities, towns, counties, special purpose districts, port districts, and any other municipal corporations or quasi-municipal corporations in the state providing fire protection services.
(4) "Rural county" means a county with a population density of fewer than 100 persons per square mile or a county smaller than 225 square miles, as determined by the office of financial management pursuant to RCW 43.62.035.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2. (1) The department must establish a competitive grant program to award funding to local governments in rural counties for fire protection services capital projects.
(2)(a) The department must establish a committee to develop the grant program criteria and process for prioritization of applications. The committee must be composed of no less than one representative each from the department, a fire protection district, a county, and a city.
(b) The department must consider, at a minimum and in any order, the following factors in prioritizing projects:
(i) The insurance services office fire rating for the jurisdiction providing the fire protection services in the facility;
(ii) The extent to which the project leverages other funds;
(iii) The ability of the local government providing the fire protection services to levy local resources;
(iv) Whether the project is critical in nature and would affect the health and safety of the people in the community of service;
(v) The extent to which the project is ready to proceed to construction;
(vi) Whether the project is located in a distressed area as defined in RCW 43.168.020; and
(vii) Whether the project consolidates or regionalizes services.
(3)(a) Funds awarded under this section may be given only after private or public match funds are committed. Private or public match funds may consist of cash, equipment, land, buildings, or like-kind. In determining the level of match required, the department shall take into consideration the financial need of the applicant and the economic conditions of the location of the proposed facility.
(b) The maximum amount of total funding that the department may provide for any jurisdiction is $2,000,000 per biennium.
(4) To ensure a grant under this section primarily serves the public interest and benefits the public, contracts for grants authorized under this section must include provisions that the capital improvements be held by the grantee for a specified period of time appropriate to the amount of the grant and that facilities be used for the express purpose of the grant. If the grantee is found to be out of compliance with provisions of the contract, the grantee shall repay to the state general fund the principal amount of the grant plus interest calculated at the rate of interest on state of Washington general obligation bonds issued most closely to the date of authorization of the grant.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3. (1) By November 1, 2023, and each year thereafter, the department must develop and submit a report regarding the fire protection services capital projects grant program to the office of financial management and the legislature. The report must include:
(a) The total number of applications and amount of funding requested for fire protection services capital projects;
(b) A list and description of projects approved in the preceding fiscal year with project scores against the department's prioritization criteria;
(c) The total amount of grant disbursements made in the preceding fiscal year; and
(d) The total amount of funds obligated and timing of when the funds were obligated in the preceding fiscal year.
(2) The department may gather data from the eligible applicants awarded the grant funding in order to develop the report.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4. Sections 1 through 3 of this act constitute a new chapter in Title 43 RCW.
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