MSTU Special Projects Funding Application Instructions
Introduction and Purpose
Municipal Services Taxing Units (MSTUs) are defined geographic areas of unincorporated Pinellas County that receive specific government services, including law enforcement, recreational services and facilities, and other essential municipal programs. Established by the Board of County Commissioners, MSTUs are supported by voter-approved taxes assigned to those areas.
A small portion of MSTU funds, called special project awards, are used to support culture, recreation and community engagement opportunities for residents in unincorporated areas of Pinellas County. We are accepting applications from eligible non-profit organizations who wish to provide these types of projects, according to the following guidelines.
Funding Priorities and Eligible Projects
For the MTSU special projects awards, we prioritize projects that enhance Pinellas County’s unincorporated communities, and are otherwise not funded by our capital improvement sources. Examples include:
- Projects that improve community facilities, property and equipment.
- Projects that help preserve our natural resources.
- Projects that benefit community and family centers, community service organizations, libraries and recreation complexes.
- Projects that support community events and activities.
To be eligible, projects:
- Must be a one-time expense.
- Cannot pay for ongoing services or programs.
- Cannot span over multiple years or funding cycles.
- Cannot pay for or support salaries, staff costs or operating expenses.
We anticipate that approximately $220,000.00 in funding will be available for the current Fiscal Year, subject to any subsequent amendments to the approved budget.
The maximum grant award is $20,000.00 per year per applicant.
Project Period Timeframe
Applications will be accepted on a one-year open application period. All awards depend on funding availability and Board approval.
Projects should be completed, with close-out documentation provided, within one year of the award. If applicants fail to provide receipts or a confirmation of completion, or spend funds on unapproved items, they may become ineligible for future funding opportunities.
- To apply, you must:
- Be a not-for-profit organization, with a designated tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
- Be registered with the State of Florida Division of Corporations for at least one year.
- Be located in Pinellas County.
- Your mission must be consistent with the goals of our strategic plan.
- If you are a faith organization, your proposed programs must:
- Have a secular purpose.
- Neither advance nor inhibit religion.
- Not require worship or religious instruction activities as a condition of participation, per federal guidelines.
How to Apply
To apply, complete the MSTU Special Projects Funding FY23 Application Form.
Please fill out all fields and provide accurate contact information for your organization. You should include three comparative quotes for materials and labor for the proposed project.
We will review all applications to make sure you meet all required submission guidelines.
- For more information on the evaluation criteria, review Appendix A — Sample Review Form.
- Reviewer feedback will be available to help you understand both the strengths and weaknesses of your application.
- A high evaluation review does not guarantee that we will fully fund an application. We may use other criteria, such as other unmet needs of the community, to determine the final award amount. If we don’t award full funding, you may be required to modify your project in order to align it with the amount awarded.
- The review committee will present their recommendations to the county administrator for review and approval.
- The Board will have final approval of the recommended awards.
- If selected, you will receive advance notification of your award.
- After you receive your award, county staff will conduct a technical assistance meeting with you to evaluate opportunities to leverage funds and provide a bridge to other county services, if available.
Pinellas County reserves the right to:
- Cancel the application process.
- Accept or reject any or all applications received.
- Request any necessary clarifications of an applicant’s data without changing the terms of the proposed program.
- Negotiate with any qualified applicant.
- Award funding in the best interest of the county.
- Cancel the request, in part or its entirety, if it is in the best interest of the county.
- Reject the project of any applicant who has previously failed to perform properly or within the specified time frame.