SECTION 1. Chapter 23A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after section 64 the following section:-
Section 65. (a) The executive office of housing and economic development shall establish a local economic development assistance program. The purpose of the program shall be to provide technical assistance and financial assistance, in the form of grants, to cities and towns.
(b) To participate in the local economic development assistance program, a city or town, or two or more cities or towns applying jointly, shall: (1) file an application for technical assistance with the executive office of housing and economic development in a form and manner to be prescribed by the office; and (2) have completed, within the five years preceding the application, an economic self-assessment identifying a document or report that identifies opportunities for growth, including but not limited to an economic self-assessment, an economic development plan or strategy, or an economic Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis.. Following completion of the economic self-assessment of this document, the city or town, or two or more cities or towns applying jointly, shall be deemed eligible to apply for financial assistance.
(c) An eligible city or town, acting by and through its municipal officers or by and through any agency designated by such municipal officers to act on their behalf, may apply to the program for a grant in a specific amount to fund an economic development initiative identified as an opportunity for growth in the economic self-assessment document described in (b)(2). Two or more municipalities may apply jointly, with 1 municipality acting as fiscal agent, or through a regional planning agency acting as fiscal agent. The grants may be made in addition to other forms of local, state, and federal assistance.
(d) Funding for the local economic development assistance program in any single fiscal year shall be available subject to appropriation in a total amount of not more than $10 million, or through other funds as the governing board of the Massachusetts Development Finance Authority shall provide.
(e) The office shall adopt rules, regulations, and guidelines for the administration and enforcement of this section, including, but not limited to, establishing applicant criteria, application forms and procedures, and reporting requirements.
(f) The office shall annually, no later than April 1, submit a report to the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies, the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight, and the senate and house committees on ways and means detailing the expenditures and results relative to the local economic development assistance program.
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