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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center
September 13, 2000


Members Present
State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; State Archivist Mark Jones, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Mollie Keller, Bridgeport City Archivist/State Library Board Member; Ed Friedeberg, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk; Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Barbara Allen, Goshen Town Clerk; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk/President Town Clerk's Association; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Director of Administrative Services, Richard Kingston, CSL Joyce P. Mascena, Vernon Town Clerk.

Members Absent
Barbara Tarbox, Groton Town Clerk; Leona Manville, Brooklyn TownClerk

Others Present
Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant

  1. State Librarian Kendall Wiggin called the meeting to order at 9:45am.

  2. The State Librarian welcomed the board members to the meeting. He thanked the town clerks for their support in getting PA-146 passed.

  3. The State Librarian explained the committee's makeup. Members introduced themselves and stated their affiliation.

  4. State Library fiscal officer Richard Kingston described the fiscal arrangements.

    1. The State Library will place the funds collected in a non-lapsing interest bearing account through the State Treasurer's office. Of the $2.00 per document fee sent to the State, seventy-percent of the funds will be returned to the towns and thirty percent will remain with the State Library for program support and grant funds for later distribution. Since July, $98,000 has been received making $68,000 available for the towns and $30,000 for the State Library. The fiscal office anticipates an average of $100,000 per month once the system is fully operational.

    2. To date, only twenty-three towns had not submitted their payments for July. The Library staff was very pleased with the high compliance rate and the low error rate. The office will notify delinquent towns in writing on the twenty-fifth of each month. The letter will focus on cooperation. The town clerks expressed their appreciation regarding the clarity of the reporting form and instructions.

    3. In the future, the staff will develop regulations including audit procedures on which the Advisory Committee will have input. The State Library's goal is to keep expenses as low as possible until the fund is established.

    4. Some town clerks expressed concern over their town's fiscal procedures. A few towns require that all revenues go to the general fund and then be budgeted back to the clerk's office. There could be a problem with the one-year limit for some towns. The State Library and the Town Clerk's Association must work with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and other organizations to educate other town official regarding the fund and its purpose. Rep. Steve Fontana, the bill's sponsor, is trying to work with town fiscal officers to resolve this problem.

    5. The legislation specified that the State Library will grant the funds it receives back to the towns. However, it said nothing about the $1.00 that the towns retain. As other groups in the town (i.e. public libraries and local historical societies) become aware of the fund, they have been inquiring about it for their own needs.

    6. Mr. Kingston explained the proposed revisions to the reporting form. His staff requested an accounting of documents filed but not subject to the fee for verification purposes. Town clerks should continue using the original form until further notice.

  5. The State Librarian discussed the committee's mission and name. He stated that he likes to use his advisory committee as sounding boards. He sees this committee as helping to develop the program's guidelines and regulations. In the future, the committee may recommend revisions in the bill, but it needs to report back to the legislature with examples of success.

  6. The Public Records Administrator explained the proposed funding cycles and priorities as drafted by the State Library staff. She also explained the definition of "historical record" and those records on which the grants would focus. The town clerks suggested additions to the list of records eligible for paper conservation.

    1. There will be two grant cycles per year as required by the legislation. The first cycle will be extremely tight because the legislation went into effect July 1, 2000. However, the program will gain more credibility the faster it gives out funds. The towns and legislature will see results sooner and this will aid the budget process for next year.

    2. The first two years will be for targeted rather than competitive grants. Competitive grants are more difficult to apply for as well as evaluate. The staff proposes three granting levels based on populations. The total grant amount for each cycle depends upon the current fund level. The goal is to ensure that every town gets something back from the fund. This will allow every town to reach a minimum level of record preservation.

    3. The advisory committee discussed the proposed funding priorities that target paper conservation during the first two cycles and training and preservation microfilming workshops during the second two cycles. The nature of both targeted and competitive grants for the fifth and sixth cycles will be determined later. The town clerks asked that paper conservation targeted grants continue past the second grant cycle. Some towns may need more extensive work on their collections or may not be ready to apply during the first cycle. A couple of town clerks stated that some towns have received resources to maintain their records at a high level. Other possible options for towns not needing paper conservation might be needs assessments of facilities or a records survey. Technology grants would be too difficult to evaluate and prepare in the first two years. The staff will discuss this further and make additional recommendation.

    4. Joan Gerdsen, President of the Town Clerk's Association stated that their goal is 100% participation by the towns during the first cycle. The committee discussed whether funds would be disbursed immediately to all applicants or held over to the next cycle. The amount of money in the fund would have an impact on this issue.

    5. Prior to awarding future competitive grants, the State Library will fund grant-writing workshops to assist the towns. Participation in these workshops will be a prerequisite for applying for a competitive grant.

    6. The State Library would like to set aside 10% of the 70% dedicated for town grants as an emergency fund for disaster recovery. The Library would use this money to fund a workshop during the Fall 2001 Town Clerk's Conference and provide funds for document recovery including damage assessment and document recovery, restoration, repair and replacement in an emergency.

  7. The State Archivist discussed the upcoming important dates for the granting program through 2000. These include deadlines for applications and awards as well as legislative reports and forms development.

  8. The committee decided that Wednesday morning is the best time to meet. The next meeting will be Wednesday November 15, 2000 at 9:30 am at the Middletown Service Center.

  9. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
November 29, 2000