We hear a lot lately about how much money is available for infrastructure and climate resilience. But so few people know how to actually get their hands on it and use it to the benefit of their communities.
StormSensor® works closely with communities across the country on efforts to capture this funding, and we have some tips and tricks.
Know what your state allows. With federal funding, it depends on how your state allocates funding. In some cases, monitoring and planning efforts are covered, which is great because they can be substantial all on their own. In others, the state only funds capital improvements and need that planning done in advance.
Plan for scale. Regional problems require regional solutions. Most of the bigger cities have the resources to get some pretty big projects funded. Smaller towns often feel left out. By working together, however, multiple communities can apply for – and receive – grant funding to cover regional programs recognizing that the issues we are tackling with infrastructure and climate don’t stop at a town border.
Dig deep into your pockets and offer to match funds. If you offer some funding from your own budget or include a plan to pay back a portion of the funding via a low- or no-interest loan, that increases your ranking and demonstrates that you have some real skin in the game.
Piggyback on those clauses. Sometimes the biggest hurdle for new projects is procurement. If your state or contracting agency allows piggybacking clauses, i.e., using existing contract terms issued by one agency for the same service or product in a different agency or town, embrace it! Just be sure that you don’t go beyond the original scope.
Share resources. Utilizing grant writers at universities, nonprofits, consultants, and potential partners helps save money upfront and avoid a significant addition to your limited budget. These same people can also review grant opportunities available to you and your projects, so you understand the array of funding available to you—and you have the resources to get it.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that there is a way to get funding! We keep hearing that the amount of money available for cities is unprecedented in our lifetime. It only matters if we can put it to use. So think big! Be bold. So we can build resilient communities together.