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FAQs

About LGRMIF, Grants & Awards

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 archgrants@nysed.gov, and we will answer the question and add the question and answer to these FAQs.

Grants & Awards, Eligibility

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 a 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.

Pursuant to Chapter 508 of the Laws of 2014 (volunteer) fire companies and voluntary ambulance services, as defined in section 100 of the General Municipal Law, are now eligible to apply for LGRMIF grants. As these entities are not local governments under the Local Government Records Law, they are not at this time required to appoint a records management officer (RMO) or adopt State Archives records retention and disposition schedules.

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.

As stated above, (volunteer) fire companies and voluntary ambulance services, as defined in section 100 of the General Municipal Law, are now eligible to apply for LGRMIF grants. Not-for-profit entities other than volunteer fire companies incorporated under section 1402 of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law are required to register in the New York State Grants Gateway, https://grantsmanagement.ny.gov/, and to complete the Vendor Prequalification process in order for their LGRMIF grant applications to be evaluated.

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.

Grants & Awards, Application

Is the SAM number on the Payee Information Form required to apply for an LGRMIF grant?

No. SAM (System Award Management) is a government-wide registry of organizations doing business with the federal government. The LGRMIF program is funded by state money and no federal funds are involved; thus, a SAM number is not required to apply for an LGRMIF grant.

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 grant writer 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. Files Management projects involving the purchase of filing equipment, such as lateral and/or locking files, also require the submission of a floor plan.

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 (DOCX), Excel (XLSX), Portable Document Format (PDF), JPEG, BMP, or PNG. 

Are photographs helpful for documenting the extent of a records problem?

Yes, but don’t provide so many that they become a distraction or overwhelming. Also, don’t substitute photographs for a detailed description of the problem in the Project Narrative.

The information on the application sheet for my local government is inaccurate; how do I correct it?

To correct inaccurate information on the application sheet, email, fax, or mail a completed Standard Data Capture form to the State Archives, Grants Administration Unit.

Where do I find the standard data capture form?

The Standard Data Capture form can be accessed either through the eGrants system or the LGRMIF webpages on the Archives’ website.

Do I need to obtain a resolution from my board appointing a Project Director if the Project Director will not receive any grant funded compensation?

No. There is no requirement under the LGRMIF that the local board appoint the Project Director. 

The RFP states that the lead applicant “must be responsible for the greatest percentage of the budget relative to the other collaborating members.” What do you mean by this?

That the lead applicant must be an active participant in the project and cannot act simply as a flow-through for grant funds to pass to other recipients. 

The RFP states that the Commissioner of Education must approve storing records in a facility not maintained by the applicant. Does this include storing files on a BOCES or RIC server?

Yes, this includes storing an applicant’s electronic records on a BOCES or RIC server. 

Does the Commissioner’s consent need to be obtained before the grant application due date?

No. Applicants simply need to indicate in the application their intent to obtain the Commissioner’s approval by the end of the grant project period.

We received a previous LGRMIF grant to digitize records and were unable to digitize all of the records included in the grant. Can we now apply for funding to digitize the remaining records?

Yes, you may apply for an LGRMIF grant to complete the previous project.

Can a partner in a shared services application also submit an individual application?

Yes, but only if it is for a disaster management project and does not exceed $10,000

Our document conversion application will improve our current business process, does this make it ineligible?

No. The primary focus of your application must be on improved records management; improved business process is an expected secondary benefit. 

Do we need a Board resolution in order to apply for a LGRMIF grant?

The State Archives does not require a board resolution. You may want to check with your Board, though, to see if it requires a resolution authorizing submitting an application.

What is the deadline for submission of electronic applications? What is the deadline for submission of paper forms?

The deadline for submission of electronic applications is March 13, 2020. All electronic applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on March 13, 2020. The required paper signature forms that accompany your online application must also be postmarked no later than March 13, 2020.

Grants & Awards, Application Types

We completed a needs assessment and developed policies and procedures as part of our grant; do we need to submit these to the State Archives?

Yes, you should upload a copy of any product produced with grant funds to your application in the eGrants system.

What are Shared Services Grants?

Shared Services grants provide funding for two or more local governments to cooperate on a grant project that will develop a permanent cooperative arrangement to solve a shared records management problem. Shared Services applicants may request up to $150,000.

How do we achieve a permanent arrangement?

Your Shared Services application must demonstrate how the grant project will establish a permanent cooperative relationship between participating governments. This relationship must result in sustainable programmatic change. You can demonstrate your commitment to this relationship in one or more of the following ways:
  • An inter-municipal agreement, which is a legal agreement indicating that all participants have agreed to a permanent cooperative relationship
  • Board resolutions, documented in the official minutes of each participant, that indicate support of an ongoing cooperative relationship
  • Written policies and procedures that support shared operations or a well-documented description of how operations will be coordinated permanently
  • A fee structure showing how the costs of maintaining the project will be assumed by the partners after the grant year has ended
  • A dedicated staffing plan indicating which staff member or members, in each government, will have direct responsibility for maintaining this cooperative records program

What kinds of Shared Services projects can be funded?

A Shared Services project is eligible for funding if it meets the basic LGRMIF application criteria, includes two or more local governments, and provides for the establishment of a permanent arrangement to carry out an archives or records management function. Projects can be submitted under any of the LGRMIF grant categories and applicants can receive funding over multiple years to implement the project fully. See a list of Shared Services Examples for more ideas on potential projects.

How are Shared Services projects organized?

One local government must act as a lead applicant for the project and the grant must be submitted under the lead applicant’s name. The lead applicant will act as the fiscal agent for the grant, managing all funds and filing all reports and paperwork. Beyond this requirement participants may organize the cooperative arrangement anyway they choose:
  • Hierarchical. A larger unit of local government provides services for smaller units. For example, a county may choose to set up a shared services arrangement with all the towns in the county or a town may wish to do the same for all the villages in the town.
  • Equal. Participants enter an arrangement as equals. For example, a group of 7 towns or 10 school districts all equally sharing in the work and benefits of maintaining the shared services arrangement. Also, different local government types can enter into an arrangement. For example, a town, village, and school district can apply together for a Shared Services grant.

Grants & Awards, Categories

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. Choose the predominant element of your project when indicating the category for your application.

Grants & Awards, Budget and Personnel

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 is the correct budget code to use for a vendor to implement an Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS)?

Vendor costs should be budgeted in code 40 Purchased Services, while ECMS software should be budgeted in code 45 Supplies and Materials. 

Are LGRMIF grantees required to pay prevailing wage for work to be carried out under a LGRMIF project?

Yes. According to section 6 of Appendix A Standard Clauses for NYS Contracts, which is required for federal and state discretionary grant programs, any contractor and its subcontractors must pay or provide the prevailing supplements, including the premium rates for overtime pay, as determined by the State Labor Department in accordance with the Labor Law.

Can staff be hired as consultants, or consultants hired as staff?

No. Per SED’s Fiscal Policies and Guidelines where there exists an employer-employee relationship between the local agency and project personnel, such personnel should not be budgeted as consultants. Individuals listed in any of the personnel codes are considered to be local government employees and cannot also be listed as a consultant in the Purchased Services (budget code 40).

What is the correct budget code to include shelving, supplies and materials or equipment?

It depends on the unit cost of the shelving. Items with a unit cost of $5,000 or more go in the Equipment budget code (code 20). Items with a unit cost of less than $5,000 go into Supplies and Materials (code 45). Most shelving has a unit cost well below $5,000, therefore it would go in the Supplies and Materials budget code.

Grants & Awards, Quotes and Vendors

Are quotes required for products and services on state contract or from a preferred vendor?

Yes. In these instances, you must provide a single quote for products and services over $10,000.

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 application and 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.

Are BOCES considered a Preferred Source for School Districts?

No. However, for purposes of applying for an LGRMIF grant, School Districts and BOCES proposing to contract with a BOCES do not have to submit three quotes when the service costs over $10,000. Applicants must be sure to include an RFQ and the detailed quote clearly delineating individual project costs. In such instances, though, School Districts and BOCES are still required to comply with SED’s M/WBE goals.

Do we need to select a vendor prior to submitting our application?

No. You need an RFQ and quotes from vendors, but the selection of the vendor may occur once you receive notification of funding.

We plan on contracting with our BOCES. Do they have to have a CoSer in place before the application deadline?

No. The CoSer does not need to be in place before the application submission deadline.

Do we need to conduct 100% image verification if we are not destroying the originals?

No, but you may want to spot check to ensure quality images.

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 vendor, 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 standards and guidelines, 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. Compliance with SED's M/WBE requirements may be justification for not choosing the lowest quote.

Grants & Awards, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Participation Goals

How do I find NYS certified M/WBE consultants or vendors?

NYS Empire State Development, Division of Minority and Women's Business development maintains a directory of certified firms.

What if I cannot find NYS certified M/WBE consultants or vendors?

Although SED's preference is full compliance, you can request a partial or complete waiver if you can demonstrate that you have made a good faith effort to achieve full compliance.

Does using a vendor from the NYC Online Directory of Certified Businesses fulfill SED's M/WBE requirements for submitting a LGRMIF application?

No, in order to meet SED's M/WBE requirements vendors must be in the NYS M/WBE Directory of Certified Firms maintained by the New York State Department of Economic Development, Division of Minority and Women's Business Development.

If an applicant proposes to use a Preferred Source vendor should they request a waiver from SED'S M/WBE requirements?

No, applicants proposing to use a Preferred Source, as defined by Section 162 of the State Finance Law, do not have to complete a waiver request, nor do they need to provide Good Faith Efforts documentation. They only need to complete a Cover Letter, the Goal Calculation Worksheet, and the EEO Staffing Plan (form 100). This is only true, however, when the goal calculation amounts to $0 on line 9 of the Worksheet. If the amount is above $0, they would need to complete the forms for No Participation, Request a Complete Waiver if meeting the calculated goal is not an option. SED will review each waiver request and accompanying documentation on a case-by-case basis. For LGRMIF grants, the New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) is the Preferred Source for scanning services, records storage boxes, and secure document destruction only, per the Office of General Services Preferred Source Offerings

Does an applicant still need additional quotes from an M/WBE if it proposes to purchase a service or commodity from a preferred or sole source?

No, if an applicant proposes to purchase a service or commodity from a preferred or sole source it does not need to obtain and submit additional quotes. 

What if I have additional questions?

SED's M/WBE Coordinator is available to answer questions and to assist you in meeting SED's M/WBE goals. You can reach the Coordinator at mwbegrants@nysed.gov. Additionally, you can contact the State Archives Grants Administration Unit at archgrants@nysed.gov.

Are original signatures needed on any of the M/WBE forms or can all be scanned and submitted digitally?

SED’s M/WBE unit now requires that all forms must be submitted electronically. M/WBE forms that require signatures may be scanned and submitted digitally to archgrants@nysed.gov, or can be scanned and uploaded to your application in eGrants. The file name should include the project number and the M/WBE form, i.e. 0580181234_MWBE105.

We will hire project staff using a BOCES or RIC. Can we include staff salary and benefits in the salary and benefits portion of the M/WBE goal calculation worksheet?

Project staff budgeted under Professional and Support Staff salaries are excluded from the M/WBE goal calculation. Project staff budgeted as Purchased Services must be included in the M/WBE goal calculation.

Is staffing through a BOCES considered exempt from the M/WBE requirement?

No. Applicants seeking services from a BOCES are required to meet SED’s M/WBE requirements.

If the applicant is covering certain costs as an in-kind contribution, should those costs be included in the project budget? Similarly, should those costs be included in the M/WBE calculation?

No. In-kind contributions should not be included in the project budget and should not be included in the M/WBE goal calculation.

Under which business type codes should I be searching the MWBE Directory for MWBE vendors to do digitizing and indexing?

IMAGING SYSTEMS AND SERVICES;
IMAGING, DOCUMENT;
MICROFILM SERVICES

What is SED's Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) participation goal?

SED's participation goal is that 30% of each LGRMIF grant budget, exclusive of salaries and benefits, will go towards services, materials, or supplies purchased from minority and women-owned firms certified by NYS Empire State Development, Division of Minority and Women's Business Development.

Do SED's (M/WBE) performance goals apply to all LGRMIF applications?

No, SED's M/WBE performance goals apply only to requests exceeding $25,000.

Do I need to meet this goal when I submit my application?

You should submit the required M/WBE information and documentation at the time of submission. If you cannot do this, you will have to submit the necessary M/WBE information and documentation within thirty days of your grant award notification.

Grants & Awards, Award Notification and Project Management

If we are not awarded a grant, can we request an explanation as to why?

You can request a Debriefing Letter that will explain the reasons for not funding your project. These Letters are designed to explain the strengths and weaknesses of your application as well as provide suggestions on how to improve any future application. 

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. 

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 funds if the change doesn't violate the original 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 (BAS). For certain changes SED Fiscal Guidelines also require the filing of an FS-10-A (Project Amendment) form. The form is automatically populated by data entered into the BAS. Print out the FS-10-A, have your CEO sign it 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. Instructions are also available in the eGrants user manual.

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, online in the eGrants system. Instructions are also available in the eGrants user manual.

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
Cultural Education Center, Room 9A81
Albany, NY 12230
 
Instructions for completing and submitting all post-grant award forms are available online in the eGrants system. Instructions are also available in the eGrants user manual.