(1) During each calendar year in which funds are available from the Site and Building Development Fund for use by the Department of Economic Development, the department shall allocate a specific amount of funds, not less than forty percent, to nonmetropolitan areas. For purposes of this section, nonmetropolitan areas means counties with fewer than one hundred thousand inhabitants according to the most recent federal decennial census. In selecting projects to receive fund assistance, the department shall develop a qualified action plan by January 1 of each even-numbered year. The plan shall give first priority to financially viable projects that have an agreement with a business that will locate a site within ninety days of the signed agreement and to financially viable projects located in whole or in part within an enterprise zone designated pursuant to the Enterprise Zone Act. The plan shall set forth selection criteria to be used to determine priorities of the fund which are appropriate to local conditions, including the community's immediate need for site and building development, proposed increases in jobs and investment, private dollars leveraged, level of local government support and participation, and repayment, in part or in whole, of financial assistance awarded by the fund. The Director of Economic Development shall submit the plan to the Governor for approval.
(2) The department shall fund in order of priority as many applications as will utilize available funds less actual administrative costs of the department in administering the program. In administering the program the department may contract for services or directly provide funds to other governmental entities or instrumentalities.