December 22, 2023, Number 50



Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 50

Updated TML Publications Now Available

Several TML publications have been updated to reflect new laws enacted by the 88th Legislature and any other recent developments. The following handbooks have been updated:

These and other helpful publications explaining municipal law are available on the TML website here.

U.S. Treasury to Host Workshop on SLFRF Reporting

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will host a workshop on the 2024 State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) annual report due April 30, 2024. The workshop is to help recipients with key resources and a live “how-to” training demonstration to complete the annual report.

The following areas will be covered in the workshop:

  1. Reporting responsibilities;
  2. Updating user roles;
  3. A Treasury Reporting Portal demonstration; and
  4. Compliance responsibilities.

The workshop will be on January 16, 2024 at 2:00 CST. Interested city officials can register here. Treasury recommends that staff who administer their city’s SLFRF funds attend. Specifically, staff directly administering budget, finance, policy, grants, housing programs, Capital Improvement Plan programs, emergency management programs, or other functions of the SLFRF program.

In addition, Treasury has provided the following resources for cities:

  1. Link to subscribe to the SLFRF Newsletter
  2. NEU Quick Reference Guide
  3. SLFRF Explainer Video Series:
    a. SLFRF New User Explainer Video
    b. How-To Troubleshoot the Quarterly and Annual Report
    c. SLFRF User Roles Explainer Video
    d. SLFRF Reporting Resources Explainer Video

TWDB Opens Various Applications

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has opened application periods for entities to submit information on projects to be included in certain programs’ Intended Use Plan (IUP):

  • State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2025 Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds’ “General Activities” IUPs: Cities that wish to be included in the initial Project Priority List for SFY 2025 must submit a completed project information form either by TWDB’s online loan application system or by emailing the application to CWSRF@twdb.texas.gov or DWSRF@twdb.texas.gov. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on Friday, March 1, 2024. More information can be found here.
  • SFY 2024 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Lead Service Line Replacement IUP: Cities that wish to be included in the initial Project Priority List for SFY 2024 must submit a completed projection information form by email to DWSRF@twdb.texas.gov. Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, April 1, 2024. More information can be found here.
  • SFY 2024 Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds’ Emerging Contaminants IUPs: Cities that wish to be included in the initial Project Priority List for SFY 2024 must submit a completed projection information form by 11:59 p.m. CST on Monday, April 1, 2024. More information can be found here.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) appropriated additional funds for projects that reduce exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants through drinking water to help address discharges through wastewater and nonpoint sources. The League previously reported on the ongoing PFAS litigation here.

  • Flood Infrastructure Fund Project Priority Invitation: Cities that wish to be included in the initial project priority list for the upcoming SFY 2024-2025 Flood Infrastructure Fund Intended Use Plan must submit a completed abridged application by 11:59 CST on March 15, 2024. Applications must be emailed to FIF@twdb.texas.gov. More information can be found here


U.S. Census Estimates Shows Texas’ Growth

This week, U.S. Census Bureau released its 2023 population estimates. Texas experienced the largest population growth than any other state in the nation, gaining over 470,000 new residents in the last year – a 1.6% growth. Florida and North Carolina experienced the second and third largest growth, respectively. Texas’ population has now reached 30.5 million. According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. population growth stems from a decrease in deaths along with migration returning to pre-pandemic levels. The nation experienced the largest population gain since 2018 with 1.6 million new people – a .5% growth.

Federal Infrastructure Bill Update

In November 2021, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. The IIJA is altogether a $1.2 trillion bill that will invest in the nation’s core infrastructure priorities including roads, bridges, rail, transit, airports, ports, energy transmission, water systems, and broadband.

The League will monitor state and federal agencies and work with the National League of Cities (NLC) to access the latest information relating to the IIJA. We will provide periodic updates in the Legislative Update on resources for Texas cities on how to access IIJA funding for local infrastructure projects.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Rural Business Development Grant Program

The USDA is accepting applications for its Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. The RBDG program seeks to promote economic development and job creation by providing business development grant funding to rural state and local governmental entities and non-profit entities serving rural communities. The RBDG program will provide funding to support business development and enterprise projects in rural areas or towns outside the urbanized periphery of any city whose population is 50,000 or greater.

Business opportunity projects include establishing business centers or funding job training or leadership development programs. Examples of eligible business opportunity projects include:

  • Feasibility studies and business plans;
  • Leadership and entrepreneur training;
  • Rural business incubators;
  • Long-term business strategic planning;
  • Community economic development-related projects; or
  • Technology-based economic development-related projects.

Business enterprise projects help finance or develop small and emerging businesses. Examples of eligible business enterprise projects include:

  • Revolving loan fund programs, including funds that will make loans for startups and working capital;
  • Providing or supporting training and technical assistance, such as project planning, business counseling and training, market research, feasibility studies, professional or/technical reports, or producer service improvements;
  • Acquiring or developing land, easements, or rights-of-way; construction, conversion, and renovation of buildings; plants, machinery, equipment, and access for streets and roads; and parking areas and utilities;
  • Rural transportation improvements;
  • Rural distance adult learning for job training and advancement; or
  • Pollution control and abatement-related projects.

The USDA will prioritize funding for projects designed to advance the following key program objectives:

  • Helping rural communities recover economically through increased market opportunities and improved infrastructure;
  • Ensuring all rural residents have equitable access to the funding agency’s programs and benefits from projects funded by the funding agency; or
  • Reducing climate pollution and increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change through economic support to rural communities.

City officials can find more information about the RBDG program here.

 Applicants must contact the appropriate USDA state office to initiate their RBDG application. Texas applicants should contact:

United States Department of Agriculture
Lillian Salerno, State Director
Federal Building, Suite 102
101 South Main Street
Temple, TX 76501
Phone: (254) 742-9700
Fax: (844) 496-8123

City officials can also request technical assistance or guidance from the USDA for the RBDG application until February 10, 2024.

Interested applicants must submit their applications by 4:30 PM CST on February 28, 2024.

Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households Grant Program

 The USDA is accepting applications for its Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households (SEARCH) grant program. The SEARCH program seeks to support small, financially distressed rural communities by providing funding to state and local governmental entities and non-profit organizations for predevelopment costs related to rural community water and waste disposal-related projects. The SEARCH program will fund various predevelopment costs and activities, including feasibility studies, preliminary design and engineering analyses, and technical assistance.

To be eligible for the SEARCH program, the project must serve a rural area that is considered financially distressed and: (1) is in a city, town, or unincorporated area whose population is 2,500 or less; and (2) has a median household income below the poverty line or is less than 80% of the statewide, non-metropolitan median household income using 2006-2010 American Community Survey data.

.Examples of eligible projects include:

  • Feasibility studies;
  • Preliminary design and engineering analysis;
  • Predevelopment planning costs related to projects that build, enlarge, extend, or improve rural water, wastewater, solid waste, or stormwater disposal facilities;
  • Predevelopment costs related to projects that build or relocate public or private buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities; or
  • Predevelopment costs for improvements necessary to successfully operate or protect water and waste disposal-related facilities. 

City officials can find more information about the SEARCH program here.

Applicants must contact the appropriate USDA state office to initiate their SEARCH application. Texas applicants should contact:

United States Department of Agriculture
Lillian Salerno, State Director
Federal Building, Suite 102
101 South Main Street 
Temple, TX 76501
Phone: (254) 742-9700
Fax: (844) 496-8123

The USDA is accepting SEARCH applications on a rolling basis.

 Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program 

The USDA is accepting applications for its Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) grant program. The WFPO program seeks to protect land and water resources from the impact of erosion, floodwater, and sediment. The WFPO program will provide funding to plan and implement authorized watershed projects designed to address:

  • Flood prevention;
  • Watershed protection;
  • Public recreation;
  • Public fish and wildlife;
  • Agricultural water management; 
  • Municipal and industrial water supply; 
  • Water quality management; or 
  • Watershed structure rehabilitation.

Eligible watershed projects may cover up to 250,000 acres and demonstrate that at least 20% of the total project benefits are directly related to agriculture or rural communities. Examples of eligible projects include: 

  • Constructing or improving flood control dams or levees; 
  • Conservation practices, including terraces, grassed waterways, grade stabilization projects, animal waste facilities, or aquatic species crossings; or
  • Converting open channel irrigation canals to pressurized pipelines. 

The USDA is accepting WFPO applications on a rolling basis. City officials can find more information about the WFPO program here.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.