Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
October 3, 2007
Members Present:††††††† Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk, Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.
Members Absent:†††††††† State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Sandra Russo-Driska, Middletown Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk
Others Present:†††††††††††† Bruce Stark, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Kathryn Makover, CSL
I. The Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 10:07 p.m. The State Librarian is attending a meeting with the Gates Foundation and is unable to attend.
II. The minutes of the March 21st meeting were approved as written.
III. There were no new introductions.
IV. [The Fiscal Report was postponed until the arrival of Rich Kingston, who was delayed]
V. Old Business
1. FY2008 Grants:
a. Sheila Mosman, Grants Administrator, explained the new certification form now required by statute. This change went into effect in July although the Library was not informed of the change until August. Any grants already reviewed and returned by the Attorney Generalís office prior to this were not affected. Those towns whose grants were at the AGís office or not yet sent over were required to pass the new resolution and submit the certification form. Each town only needs to pass the resolution once, but each contract must have the certification form attached. There are a number of unanswered questions that she is working to resolve. Sheila interprets the form to mean that the person signing the contract, signs the certification form and that there is no seal required. Any clarification of the procedures will be included in the instructions for completing the grant contract.
b. Sheila reported that the new procedures have worked relatively smoothly aside from the last minute change noted above. Things should improve with the next cycle as the staff has resolved or will resolve a number of issues that arose in this cycle. There are still eight cycle 1 grants that are outstanding at various stages. Two grants are with the towns waiting for their action.
c. Kathy Makover reported that forty-five towns have submitted applications for cycle 2. It is still possible that we may receive a few more from the twenty-four towns that have not applied as the deadline was last Sunday, September 30th.
2. FY2009 grants.
a. Despite the precipitous drop in the number of documents filed over the last fiscal year, the grant portion of the fund remains healthy. Funding levels will remain the same for FY2009 grants. Even if the amount of revenue continues to decline for another year, staff projects that the program should be able to maintain these grant levels into the foreseeable future.
b. Eligible/Ineligible Expenses
1) Leasing Expenses: A review of the FY2007 expenditure reports has raised the issue of funding long term equipment and software leases for land records after the initial set up period. The long term use of grant funds to pay for the system may cross over the line for supplanting normal operational costs. If grant funding had to be reduced, how would the town pay for the system?
The town clerks on the committee stated that initial start-up costs are legitimate but that the project must have a finite end. They recommend that the program not support these systems beyond the first year after January, 2009 when everyone must be in compliance with the new statutes for electronic access to grantor/grantee indices. The town clerks stated that the vendors will adjust pricing to meet the available funding. Small towns with limited resources might want to purchase the equipment and software upfront using a grant rather than do a lease including equipment in their leases which leads to substantially higher monthly costs.
2) Kathy Makover handed out a sheet with the proposed changes for the guidelines concerning HVAC systems. The new guidelines incorporate the provisions recommended at the last meeting. Only upgrades to existing systems or new installations in vaults will be eligible beginning with the FY2009 grant year. Records centers and storage areas may be added in the future. This limitation is necessary as there are very few approved environmental engineers at this time.
The committee discussed Bristolís monitoring project through the Image Permanence Institute [IPI] at Rochester Institute of Technology. Therese Pac strongly encourages other towns to take advantage of this or any similar service. The cost was $1,000 for the service and $1,000 for each monitor point.† IPI recommends using a minimum of two monitors. After the completion of the study, she was able to purchase the monitors at a reduced price. She is able to continue monitoring conditions and receive quarterly reports from IPI. The information gathered in the study confirmed that when Bristol expands its vault next year, it must have a separate HVAC system with humidity controls. The bid requirements for the new system incorporated the data collected during the study.
The town clerks inquired as to the status of the vault regulation revisions.† The Public Records Administrator would like to restart the project after January 1, 2008. The regulation adoption process is extremely lengthy and involved. Now that the new NFPA regulations have been issued, she hopes to adopt the relevant sections by reference with attention to those areas specific to Connecticut.
3) The staff has decided to table the issue of conservation of modern land records at this time. There are many issues to be considered.† In addition, the elimination of the marginal notations may or may not resolve the issue.
4) The Public Records Administrator and the Connecticut Town Clerks Association will each send out a letter regarding the issue of public service computers as required by the new statute.† Therese Pac did a survey for the Town Clerks Association and found that 32 towns out of the 169 do not have a public search terminal. Three towns are still creating handwritten land records. These all tend to be the smaller towns.
The committee discussed the consequences if these towns fail to implement public access by January 2009. There will only be one opportunity to apply for a grant and complete the installation prior to the deadline. After that, the Public Records Administrator is considering not allowing any delinquent town to apply for any grant other than one to bring it into compliance. She is the chair of the new Land Records Advisory Committee of the CTCA which will also be dealing with the new statute.† Any information regarding the grant program and this issue needs to also be shared with the municipal chief executive officers and the chief fiscal officers as well.
5) There was no other old business
c. Kathy Makover reported that the staff has decided to reduce mailing and printing costs by only mailing out the targeted guidelines to Town Clerks.† The guidelines will refer people to the State Library website for information on the Disaster and Competitive grants.† The printed guidelines will also be available upon request.† The staff will be developing a letter or some type of informational document to be sent to the town Chief Executive Officer regarding the grant program.† Hard copies of the Competitive Guidelines will also be distributed to those who attend the grant training in January. The staff also hopes that this will also help reduce the number of incorrect forms being inadvertently used.
[The agenda was suspended for the Fiscal Report]
Fiscal Report: Richard Kingston reported on the fiscal status of the fund.† Revenues for the first month of FY2008 were 16.2% below the same month in FY2007.† Joyce Mascena noted that property values are holding or even rising so their conveyance tax is generating much income but the number of filings is down so the amount collected for the dollar fund is significantly less.
Interest payments on the fund are made quarterly so they are not reflected in the report.† As noted earlier, the grant portion of the fund is relatively stable.† The administrative side has declined significantly and the staff has begun to cut costs as much as possible.† The major portion of the administrative costs is for personnel which keep increasing.† Rich is trying to move some of the administrative costs for the Van Block facility to the State Libraryís general fund where they properly belong.†
[The agenda was resumed for the remainder of the meeting]
a. Kathy Makover is working with Kathy Sickler to resolve a number of issues for the towns concerning her projects. A major problem is that a town may use a different records series titles that does not match the title used on the General Schedules. The towns must use the General Schedule title on the disposal request submitted to the Public Records Administrator for approval. Disposal requests reached almost 3,000 last year and the office staff does not have the time to try and match the items. Also, some towns are simply attaching the lists of items eligible for disposal prepared by Kathy Sickler to the disposal request. Towns must clearly communicate to a vendor what they need and expect. Lisa Valenti stated that all the information was included in the database she received. If a town does not have Access, the town should be able to open the table with Excel.
b. The staff has taken no action on the vendor list since the last meeting.
4. There was no additional grants business.
B. Workshops & Training:†
1. The staff will be setting dates for the January grant training.† There will be two half-day sessions.† One in the morning and one in the afternoon and on different days of the week to accommodate the smaller towns who have limited operating hours and staff.
2. The spring 2008 workshop will be archival training. The session will have a limited enrollment as it will be held at the Van Block facility rather than at the Keeney Center in Wethersfield as in previous years. State Archivist Mark Jones, Assistant Archivist Bruce Stark and possibly Government Records Archivist Paul Baran will be the instructors.† This will be an interactive workshop.† The participants may be able to bring in their own records or pictures as examples.
3. This will be the last year that the HDPP fund will pay for the entire workshop.† Beginning in FY2009, there will be a charge for the workshops.† Either the Town Clerks Institute or the State Library could handle the administrative arrangements. This is due to the change in the IIMC certification process and from a desire by the Town Clerks Association to include more than just Connecticut town clerks as participants. There was discussion about making the workshop part of the annual conference either the day before or Friday afternoon. Therese Pac will bring this information back to the Education Committee.
1. Cathy Nurmi has submitted her resignation from the committee. The committee discussed possible replacements to represent Windham County.† Louisa Trakus of Plainville was recommended.
2. The committee still needs a representative for New London County and for the large municipalities.† The town clerks recommended contacting Lisa Terry from Montville for suggestions for a representative for New London County.† Chic Spinelli of Waterbury and Donna Loglisci of Stamford were recommended as possible candidates to represent the large towns.†
D. State Library Reports:† The staff distributed a summary of State Library preservation activities funded through the program in the meeting packet.
E. There was no other old business.
VI. New Business
A. There is a conflict in the wording of the guidelines for the disaster grants with the contract. Part of the difficulty is whether these are up-front or reimbursement grants.† Sheila Mosman will meet with the grant staff to try to fix the problem before the next meeting.
B. Some towns are returning less than a dollar when they have unexpended funds. After a lengthy discussion, the committee decided that the staff will add a statement to the guidelines that the towns should round the dollar amounts to the next highest level to avoid this problem, if possible.
C. The committee set the schedule for its meeting in 2008.† They will be Wednesday, March 19; Wednesday July 9; and either Wednesday, October 1 or 8 depending on when the ARMA convention is scheduled for next year.† All meetings will be at the Van Block Facility unless otherwise notified.
VII. The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 12:17 p.m.
VIII. The next meeting is scheduled for March 19, 2008 at the Van Block Facility.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
October 3, 2007