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Federal Acts Compliance

Build America Buy America Act (BABAA)

The Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA) requires all federal agencies, including FEMA, to ensure by May 14, 2022, that no federal financial assistance for “infrastructure” projects is provided “unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.”

On April 18, 2022, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo that provides implementation guidance for federal agencies on the application of “Buy America” preference to federal financial assistance programs for infrastructure and a transparent process to waive such preference, when necessary.

The Build America Buy America Act, requires federal infrastructure programs to provide for the use of materials produced in the United States.

Each federal agency must submit to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress a report that identifies each federal financial assistance program for infrastructure administered by the agency and (1) identify domestic content procurement preferences applicable to the assistance, (2) assess the applicability of such requirements, (3) provide details on any applicable domestic content procurement preference requirement, and (4) include a description of the type of infrastructure projects that receive funding under the program.

Each agency shall ensure that none of the funds made available for such a program may be used for a project unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured products used in the project are produced in the United States, subject to waivers where inconsistent with the public interest, where not produced in sufficient quantities or satisfactory quality, or where such inclusion will increase the cost of the project by more than 25%.

"Buy America" Preference in FEMA Financial Assistance Programs for Infrastructure

Davis-Bacon Act for Schools

The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, apply to contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works. Davis-Bacon Act and Related Act contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The Davis-Bacon Act directs the Department of Labor to determine such locally prevailing wage rates. The Davis-Bacon Act applies to contractors and subcontractors performing work on federal or District of Columbia contracts. The Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage provisions apply to the “Related Acts,” under which federal agencies assist construction projects through grants, loans, loan guarantees, and insurance.

For prime contracts in excess of $100,000, contractors and subcontractors must also, under the provisions of the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, as amended, pay laborers and mechanics, including guards and watchmen, at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act may also apply to DBA-covered contracts.

Davis-Bacon and Related Acts - From the U.S Department of labor, this website offers general guidance, fact sheets, e-tools, posters, forms, interpretive guidance, laws, executive orders, and regulations.

Wage Determinations

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Historic Preservation

Preservation and Adaptive Re-use of Iowa's Historic School Buildings by Conversion to Affordable Rental Housing

School districts who are contemplating closing a building are often faced with the question of what to do with the building. Demolition can be expensive especially when asbestos or lead-based paint might be present.

An alternative that some districts in Iowa and around the nation have used is to sell or give the building to a housing developer for conversion to affordable rental apartments. Some successful examples in Iowa include: the former Emerson and Whittier Elementary Schools in Waterloo; the former Central High School in Sioux City is now Castle on the Hill Apartments; St. Katherine's Girls School in Davenport is now Senior Apartments and the entire campus of Marycrest College in Davenport is being converted to a senior housing campus with independent and assisted living options.

Affordable housing financing is available to housing developers through the Iowa Finance Authority using federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). Developers apply for the credits through an annual competitive process. The apartments are restricted to persons whose incomes are below 60 percent Area Median Income and rent levels are similarly restricted to keep the units affordable. Many times when buildings are in older neighborhoods, the income and rent restrictions are not very different then the current market for the neighborhood. However, the redevelopment project can bring investment to these neighborhoods for the first time in many years. Further the preservation of an historic building is often the spark that results in reinvestment in the housing stock of an older neighborhood.

If a district is interested in this process and would like to contact prospective developers with experience using the credits and managing such apartments, contact:

The Iowa Finance Authority
East Grand Office Park
100 East Grand Avenue, Suite 250
Des Moines IA 50309

Protecting Historic Properties & the Section 106 Process

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation strives to ensure federal agencies implement their work in harmony with the National Historic Preservation Act of 196636 CFR Part 800 and the Section 106 review process ensures that historic preservation is considered in federal project planning. Section 106 requires federal agencies and other participants to consider the effects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties. This includes school districts that receive federal funds for the renovation or demolition of school facilities over fifty years old. In Iowa, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) reviews projects that are federally funded, licensed, or permitted and may affect historic properties. 

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Student Construction

The student construction fund is used to account for all financial transactions for houses or facilities built by students as part of their instructional or extracurricular program. These programs are financed by the sales of the student-built houses and facilities.

Student Construction FAQs - Answers questions about accounting, start up costs, sales proceeds, interfund loans, uses of funds, and disposition of balances from a discontinued student construction program.

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