Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
22 November 2013
- What is the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Act?
- What if I have a question that is not in this list of FAQs?
- Who can apply for a Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Grant (LGRMIF)?
- Do we need to adopt a retention schedule and appoint an RMO every time we apply?
- Can Fire Departments apply for LGRMIF grants?
- Can a local government apply for more than one grant?
- Must I apply for a grant online?
- What is the deadline for submission electronic applications?
- What is the deadline for submission of paper forms?
- Is there a character limit for parts of the Project Narrative in the eGrants System?
- Is there a time limit for how long I can work in the eGrants System?
- How do I give rights to use the eGrants System to my grantwriter?
- May we submit faxes or copies of vendor quotes?
- When do I need to submit a floor plan?
- Are photographs helpful for documenting the extent of a problem?
- Can we submit an application involving two distinct categories?
- Why did the Archives create this new demonstration grant type?
- So what is a demonstration grant?
- What requirements do I have to meet if I submit a demonstration grant application?
- Demonstration grant projects sound like a lot of work. Can I get funding to conduct a needs assessment and plan out a scope of work?
- What if I need more than a year to complete such a complex demonstration project?
- How much funding can I receive for a demonstration implementation grant?
- How much funding can I receive for a demonstration planning grant?
- How much money does the Archives have available this year to fund demonstration grants?
- May I cooperate with other local governments on a demonstration grant project?
- If I include other local governments in my demonstration grant application, does the application limit on funds increase?
- If I want to apply with other local governments for a demonstration grant, why should I not just propose a shared services grant?
- Can I propose any type of demonstration project I want as long as it involves electronic records?
- What do you mean by a records management application (RMA) in a demonstration grant?
- What do you mean by preservation of electronic records in a demonstration grant?
- What are the requirements for the two project types for demonstration grants?
- If I’m interested in doing a demonstration grant, what are my first steps?
- Are there matching requirements for these grants?
- What is the difference between professional staff (code 15) and support staff (code 16)?
- Is funding available for developing a website?
- What if shelving costs are $30,000 and installation is part of that cost. Would three quotes be needed since it would be a service over $10,000?
- When working with a vendor, should we tell them how much money we are looking for in a project? With a conservation project, sometimes you do not know the actual condition and what needs to be done. How do we come up with expense figures?
- My vendor does 100% quality control of the images they produce. Do I have to look at the images also?
- What if we are seeking a consultant in a very specialized field?
- If a grant proposal involves microfilming, imaging, or otherwise producing copies of long-term records that could be discarded according to state retention schedules, could that be a negative?
- We didn’t choose the lowest quote provided. How should we handle that?
- Are quotes required for products and services on state contract?
- When using a vendor quote, do we include the whole quote or just the page with the prices?
- What is the difference between a quote and a bid?
- If we are not awarded the money, are we told why?
- How long do I have to complete my project?
- Am I able to transfer monies from one budget category to another during the grant year?
- What are the final reporting requirements and when are reports due?
- Where do I send my final reports?
What is the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Act?
The Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Act (Chapter 78, Laws of 1989) established a dedicated fund to improve records management and archival administration in New York’s local governments. The Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) is comprised of the fees collected by county clerks and the New York City Register for the recording of selected documents, and for the assignment by county clerks of index numbers for certain court cases. The Act authorizes the Commissioner of Education to provide training and technical assistance, administer a grants program for local governments, and appoint a Local Government Records Advisory Council (LGRAC) to advise on the operation of the LGRMIF program.
What if I have a question that is not in this list of FAQs?
If you have a question not listed in this document, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will answer the question and add the question and answer to these FAQs.
Who can apply for a Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund Grant (LGRMIF)?
LGRMIF grants are intended for local governments in New York State. Any local government in the state can apply for an LGRMIF grant so long as it has no outstanding final grant reports or reimbursements to the state and so long as it has an Records Management Officer (RMO) and has adopted an appropriate State Archives records retention and disposition schedule by the application deadline. Note that housing authorities across the state as well as agencies of New York City are exempted from the requirement of having an RMO.
Do we need to adopt a retention schedule and appoint a Records Management Officer every time we apply?
No, once you have done both, they continue year to year, though you will have to replace any Records Management Officer who leaves the position.
Can fire agencies apply for LGRMIF grants?
Fire districts are eligible to apply for LGRMIF grants because they are considered local governments and city and village fire departments can apply as units of their respective municipalities. However, not-for-profit volunteer fire companies and volunteer ambulance and emergency rescue services are not considered local governments, and are therefore not eligible to apply for LGRMIF grants.
Can a local government apply for more than one grant?
A local government may submit or be a party to only one Individual, Shared Services, or Demonstration grant application, unless the second application is for a project under the Disaster Management category or in the case of a county where the second application is focused entirely on the records of its community college. The maximum amount allowed for a Disaster Management project is $10,000 when an applicant applies for this as a second application
Must I apply on line?
Yes, you must apply electronically. The eGrants system will save your local government the cost paper and postage, you won’t have to worry about the order in which you submit the forms and supporting material, and we will be able to process all information concerning your application more quickly than we can in paper. Please contact the Grants Administration Unit at (518) 474-6926 if you need assistance in submitting an application on line. Note that all signature forms must still be signed (in blue ink) and submitted in paper.
What is the deadline for submission electronic applications? What is the deadline for submission of paper forms?
We anticipate a deadline of 3 February 2013. All electronic applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on 3 February 2014. The required paper signature forms that accompany your online application must also be postmarked no later than 3 February 2014.
Is there a character limit for sections of the Project Narrative in the eGrants system?
No. Applicants may go into as much detail as they need to justify and describe their projects.
Is there a time limit for how long I can work in the eGrants System.
The system will time out if there is no activity for 30 minutes, which means you could lose some or all of your work if you had not previously saved it. As a precaution, we advise you to write your Project Narrative and Project Budget on your own computer hard drive and cut and paste text into the online application, and be sure to hit the “Save” button often when working in eGrants.
How can my grantwriter gain access to the eGrants System?
Your password and username for accessing eGrants represent your institution. Your government’s RMO may disclose this information to a grantwriter, but we strongly urge all RMOs to retain responsibility for reviewing and submitting the final application.
When do I need to include a floor plan?
Inactive Records or Historical Records projects involving renovation to an existing facility or the installation of shelving, require the submission of a floor plan. A floor plan is also required when Minor Remodeling funds are requested.
May we submit faxes or copies of vendor quotes?
No, you must submit any materials from vendors or consultants as attachments in eGrants in one or more of the following formats: Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), Excel (XLS), Portable Document Format (PDF), JPEG, BMP, or PNG.
Are photographs helpful for documenting the extent of a records problem?
Yes, but don’t provide too many, and don’t substitute photographs for a detailed description of the problem in the Project Narrative.
Can we submit an application involving two distinct categories?
Yes, but indicate only one category on the Application Sheet and be sure to address the category requirements of both categories in addition to the General Application Requirements and any requirements for application type, such as Shared Services or Demonstration. Choose the predominant element of your project when indicating the category for your application.
Why did the Archives create this new demonstration grant type?
After surveying local government records programs and talking to local government records management officers and consulting with the Local Government Records Advisory Council, the State Archives has confirmed that electronic records management continues to be a huge challenge for local governments and is the weakest part of most local government records management programs. A new type of Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund (LGRMIF) grant is the demonstration grant, designed to help local governments tackle the challenging issue of electronic records management.
So what is a demonstration grant?
The goal of the LGRMIF demonstration grants initiative is to fund projects that address electronic records management issues and produce results, best practices, and models that can be replicated, are scalable, or can be used more broadly in other governments or groups of governments of all types and sizes.
What requirements do I have to meet if I submit a demonstration grant application?
Demonstration Grant applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Demonstrate the benefits of the project and the benefits of the project to other local governments.
- Submit as part of the grant application a needs assessment whenever one is needed to prove the viability of a project.
- Include a detailed estimated five-year cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the clear financial and administrative advantages of the demonstration project into the future. This analysis must provide information on upfront and continuing costs, including system maintenance, and show the source of all estimated costs.
- Provide detailed information about the governments, governmental departments, archives and records management functions, and records that will be the focus of the project.
- Demonstrate the proposed project is sustainable and will result in permanent, positive programmatic change.
Further, all applicants must meet these required project outcomes:
- Develop a webpage or a subsite of a website to publicize the program developed by the grant, including enough information to allow other local governments or consortia of local governments to replicate the program.
- Develop a canned one-hour webinar that explains, in layman’s terms, the elements of the program and how the program was developed.
- Create and make available the governance documents of any consortium participating in a multi-government project, including the intergovernmental agreement for the consortium, the bylaws of its governance committee, and the policies for running the consortium. (Applicable only for the final year of an implementation project.)
- Create a set of policies and procedures, including, at minimum, system management and maintenance, training and support, auditing systems, system performance assurance, information governance, and security, and make these policies and procedures (minus any sensitive information) available for use by others. (Applicable only for the final year of an implementation project.)
- Publicize the results of the project through at least one public event, such as a one-day symposium or a presentation at a statewide or regional meeting of a local government, archives, or records management association.
- Indicate in all of these materials that the source of startup funding for the project was the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund, New York State Archives, State Education Department.
Demonstration grant projects sound like a lot of work. Can I get funding to conduct a needs assessment and plan out a scope of work?
Yes, there are two types of demonstration grants: planning and implementation. You may request up to $100,000 to conduct a planning grant. You can then base a future implementation grant on the results of the planning grant.
What if I need more than a year to complete such a complex demonstration project?
Demonstration grants that are implementation projects can last for one or two years, but planning projects can last for only one year. If planning a two-year implementation project, your initial grant must describe the full two-year project, include the estimated costs for the entire project, and submit a full budget for the first year of the project. For the second year, you will need to submit evidence that your project is progressing well along with the full budget for the second year, and, if necessary, an updated plan of work. If your project is essentially on schedule (or you can show how you will return to schedule) and if your budget is approved by a review panel, your project will be funded for a second year.
How much funding can I receive for a demonstration implementation grant?
You can receive up to $500,000 for one project, whether it takes one or two years to complete.
How much funding can I receive for a demonstration planning grant?
You can receive up to $100,000 for one project.
How much money does the Archives have available this year to fund demonstration grants?
The Archives has set aside one million dollars for demonstration grants. Any money not expended on the demonstration grants will be reallocated and used for shared services and individual grants.
May I cooperate with other local governments on a demonstration grant project?
Yes, you may cooperate with other local governments on a multi-governmental demonstration project.
If I include other local governments in my demonstration grant application, does the application limit on funds increase?
No, the funding levels remain the same: $100,000 for a planning grant and $500,000 for an implementation grant.
If I want to apply with other local governments for a demonstration grant, why should I not just propose a shared services grant?
You can, but there are advantages to doing a multi-government demonstration grant, such as a higher funding limit and the ability to conduct a planning grant to better plan for the implementation. Shared services grants are capped at $150,000 as compared to $500,000 for demonstration grants. A demonstration grant will also give you more time to complete your project, since you have the option of proposing a two-year implementation grant. If you’re unsure which is the right choice for you, discuss it with your Regional Advisory Officer (RAO) or other Archives’ staff person.
Can I propose any type of demonstration project I want as long as it involves electronic records?
No, the Archives will accept applications for only two specific projects that are outlined in the 2014-2015 LGRMIF Grant Application Guide. The two projects are the implementation of a records management application (RMA) and the preservation of electronic records.
What do you mean be records management application (RMA) in a demonstration grant?
A records management application (RMA) is an add-on module to an electronic document management system (EDMS) or an electronic content management system (ECMS) that allows you to apply retention schedules to your electronic records and to ensure destruction of obsolete records within the system. The RMA will alert you when records retention periods have expired and will destroy records once you have approved their destruction, and it will also keep a record of all dispositions.
An ECMS or EDMS is a large robust electronic repository where you can manage all of your electronic records. These often have many add-on modules such as the RMA, workflow, and electronic forms.
What do you mean by preservation of electronic records in a demonstration grant?
Preservation of electronic records is about setting up systems and processes to ensure that all electronic records with historical value can be maintained and kept accessible indefinitely. Such systems must preserve both born-digital records (those records that were created and always maintained electronically) and digitized records (those records that have been converted from analog forms, such as paper or audiotape, to digital forms). Such systems must ensure that records are stored in formats that remain accessible, that records cannot be altered or destroyed without authorization, and that adequate backups of all historical records are maintained.
What are the requirements for the two project types for demonstration grants?
For the Records Management Application you must set up reusable products and protocols that will incorporate records retention and disposition controls for electronic records. Proposed projects must propose to use an electronic content management system (ECMS) or a cloud-based ECMS solution to implement the goals of this project. Applications for this project must be submitted in the Records Systems grant category. A demonstration project applicant must design a planning or implementation project that lays out how the applicant will
- develop a method for implementing and/or implement within the ECMS the appropriate New York State Archives’ retention schedules or big-bucket retention solutions based on those schedules
- design and/or implement a filing schema for organizing records and associating retention schedule items to folders of records
- design and/or implement a system of access controls to protect records from both inappropriate access and accidental or otherwise unauthorized modification, replacement, or destruction
- design and/or implement systems that allow each local government in the consortium control over its own records (for multi-government projects only)
- design and/or implement an auditing system to ensure that records cannot be changed without such changes being documented within the system
- design and/or implement a process for authorizing retention and disposition and ensuring that records can be destroyed only after all appropriate authorizations have been granted
- design and/or implement a system that completely destroys any electronic records from both the system and any backups once their destruction has been authorized
For preservation of electronic records grants, you must set up reusable products and protocols that will provide for the preservation of digitized and born-digital archival electronic records. Proposed projects must propose to use an electronic content management system (ECMS) or a cloud-based ECMS solution to implement the goals of this project. Applications for this project must be submitted in the Historical Records grant category. A demonstration project applicant must design a planning or implementation project that lays out how the applicant will
- develop and/or implement protocols for ingesting electronic records into the archival records management system
- demonstrate that each local government in the consortium will maintain some level of control over its own records (for multi-government projects only)
- develop and/or implement standards for file conversion of both born-digital and paper archival records that will be managed in this system (including preferred file formats for long-term retention and conversion procedures that address all records that will at first be stored within the system)
- develop and/or implement standards for descriptive metadata that cover at least the most important or heavily used archival records of the government or consortium
- design and/or implement quality assurance protocols to verify the accuracy of any document conversions and of all metadata
- design and/or implement security controls to protect the archival records from both inappropriate access and accidental or otherwise unauthorized modification, replacement, or destruction
- design and/or implement methods to make the most important and heavily used archival records of the local governments accessible via any combination of methods, including the archival records system itself, a website or websites, media sharing sites on the Internet, removable media, email, or visits to the government or governments
- develop and/or implement backup protocols that will ensure that the archival electronic records cannot be destroyed by human or natural disaster
If I’m interested in doing a demonstration grant, what are my first steps?
First, talk to your RAO or other Archives’ staff. You should consider doing a planning grant first, since there are many requirements you must meet in an implementation grant application, including the costs and technical requirements of your project.
Are there matching requirements on these grants?
No, but your application will be stronger when you show in-kind contributions to the project that illustrate how your local government will continue to support an activity started with grant funds.
What is the difference between professional staff (code 15), and support staff (code 16)?
Ultimately, you can decide, but generally someone doing professional level work, such as developing retention schedules, writing series descriptions, etc., would be code 15, while clerical or support work, such as boxing records, data entry, and reorganizing files, would be code 16.
Is funding available for developing a website?
Any website with a records component is eligible for funding. Keep in mind that no funding is available for maintenance, however, since the LGRMIF will only fund start-up costs.
What if shelving costs are $30,000 and installation is part of that cost? Would three quotes be needed since it would be a service over $10,000?
No, it would not. The key is the unit cost of the shelving. Since one unit of shelving is well below the $10,000 threshold and installation is part of that per-unit cost, three quotes would not be required.
When working with a vendors, should we tell them how much money we are looking for in a project?
It is best to tell the vendor the problem to be addressed and what you would like to do about it. Allow them to develop a dollar figure for the work to be done.
With a conservation project, sometimes you do not know the details of the condition of the records involved and what needs to be done to stabilize the records. How do we come up with expense figures in this situation?
Such a situation requires an evaluation by a conservation expert, and you can apply for a grant under the Historical Records category to develop a proposed conservation treatment plan. When applying for a grant to conserve the records, be sure to submit a copy of the conservation treatment report so reviewers can evaluate whether the proposed treatment is appropriate.
My vendor does 100% quality control of the digital or micrographic images they produce. Do I have to look at the images also?
As an LGRMIF grantee, you will be required to follow all of the relevant State Archives, and one of these is that you conduct your own content verification to ensure that the vendor did not miss images in the course of filming or scanning. This is especially important for projects where you propose to destroy the original records.
What if we are seeking a consultant in a very specialized field and cannot obtain three quotes?
If this is the case, be sure to demonstrate the effort you made trying to obtain quotes and justify why you need someone in such a specialized field.
Is it appropriate to request funding to microfilm or digitize records that could be destroyed according to a State Archives’ retention schedule but which we have decided to keep?
The reviewers are unlikely to recommend funding for records that have met their retention requirements. However, if you believe holding the records beyond their required retention period is the best course of action, you must make a strong case for why the LGRMIF should invest in records that could be destroyed.
We didn’t choose the lowest quote provided. How should we handle that?
If you choose a quote other than the lowest quote, justify why you did not choose the lowest one and explain what makes the one you chose more desirable. The reviewers will evaluate whether the case you make for a higher quote is justifiable or not.
Are quotes required for products and services on state contract or from a preferred vendor?
No. The requirement for three quotes for products and services over $10,000 does not apply for products and services that are on state contract or from a preferred vendor.
What if we have been working with a vendor to complete similar work? Do we still have to provide three quotes?
If you have a longstanding relationship with an existing vendor and your local government does not require you to re-bid for the services of this vendor periodically, then you can provide a quote from that vendor without providing two other quotes. Unless your government has no written procedures on procurement, your application must demonstrate compliance with these procedures by providing copies of the official procurement procedures you are following along with an explanation of how you will follow these during your proposed grants project. In the absence of any written procedures, you must provide a description of your standard procedures along with a separate written explanation of how you will be adhering to these.
When using a vendor quote, do we include the whole quote or just the page with the prices?
Include the entire, detailed quote. For Purchased Services over $10,000, also provide the Request for Quotes (RFQ) you distributed to vendors, even if the vendor is on state contract or is a preferred vendor.
What is the difference between a vendor quote and a bid?
A vendor quote is a price quote provided by a vendor for a specific product or service associated with your proposed project. Generally, it is in response to a Request for Quote (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP), or Request for Information (RFI) that you developed. Upon notification of a LGRMIF grant award you are required to follow state law and locally adopted procurement policies and procedures for the acquisition of project-related products and services. Depending on the product or service and amount awarded, this may require a formal competitive bid process or you may be able to purchase project-related products or services off state contract or from a preferred source vendor. For additional information on the procurement process, including competitive bidding and preferred sources, please refer to the Office of the State Comptroller’s Local Government Management Guide: Seeking Competition in Procurement.
If we are not awarded the grant, are we told why?
Yes, you will receive an explanation why your project was not funded. In addition to this, your Regional Advisory Officer may be able to provide you with more information and help you consider how to revise and resubmit your application in the following year.
How long do I have to complete my project?
You have only one year to complete a project, from July 1 of one year until June 30 of the following year. You cannot accrue grant expenses before July 1, and you cannot encumber expenses or continue any grant-related work after June 30th. Due to recent delays in announcing our grant awards, however, we are advising applicants to plan their projects to cover only a six- to eight-month, in order to ensure the projects can be completed in under a year.
Can I transfer funds from one budget category to another during the grant year? If so, what is the process and timeline?
Local governments can transfer monies if the change doesn't violate the intent of the grant award, if they justify the request in writing, and if the change is consistent with the FS-10-A (Project Amendment) instructions. The local government must first gain approval from its State Archives Regional Advisory Officer, and then complete and submit before June 1 the online Budget Amendment Summary. Note that you must then sign an FS-10-A (Project Amendment) form in blue ink and mail three copies to the State Archives' Grants Administration Unit with a postmark of no later than June 1. The FS-10-A form and instructions are available in the eGrants System.
What are the final reporting requirements and when are reports due?
The following reports are due by July 31, one month after the end of the project: Final Narrative Report, Final Project Budget, Final Statistical Report, Final Expenditure Report, and Final Signoff. You can find these forms, with instructions for submitting them, on line in the eGrants system. Note that if you submit the FS-10-F after the July 31 due date, you must complete and submit the FS-10-F Long Form.
Where do I send my final reports?
That depends on the form. Most final reports and forms are completed and submitted within the eGrants system. Once you have completed the final project budget, the Final Expenditure Report (FS-10-F) must be printed, signed and submitted to the State Archives. You must submit three (3) copies of the form with original signature in blue ink to
New York State Archives
Grants Administration Unit
9A81 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
Instructions for completing and submitting all post-grant award forms are available on line in the eGrants system.