Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
October 20, 2010
Members Present: Public Records Administrator LeAnn Power, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Mark Smith, CSL; Nancy Bray, Colchester Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; and Louisa Trakas, Plainfield Town Clerk.
Members Absent: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Ginger Salisbury, Southbury Town Clerk; Antoinette Spinelli, Waterbury City Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; and Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk.
Others Present: Public Records Archivist Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Field Archivist Kathy Makover, CSL
I. The Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 1:12 p.m. The State Librarian was unable to attend the meeting due to another commitment.
II. The members reviewed the minutes of the July 28, 2010 meeting. Louisa Trakas made the motion to accept the minutes as written. Jane Cullinane seconded the motion. The motion passed.
III. There were no introductions.
IV. Fiscal Report
Mark Smith reviewed the fiscal report that was in the committee’s meeting packet. Revenue for the first 3 months was listed as down an average of 15% but there are a number of towns that have not submitted their monthly filings for this month. There are also a handful of towns who are more than one month behind. The Fiscal Office is following up with these towns. Based on the estimated amounts outstanding, he predicted that the program would end the fiscal year down by 9%.
Kathy Makover reviewed the monthly receipts report, which tracks the recording fees according to the actual date of collection in the town clerks’ offices, rather than by the date the revenue is received at the State Library. The collection figures on this report may better indicate the recording trends from month to month, as the revenue figures can vary due to towns not filing reports, or filing several reports at one time, within any given month.
Patty Strauss stated that her office is seeing steady recording numbers with a slight increase in refinancing. The other clerks agreed that recording activity in their offices is flat. They also have lower revenue from the conveyance tax as housing prices have dropped due to the number of foreclosures.
LeAnn told the committee that the State Librarian still intended to propose doubling the filing fee from $3 to $6. The fund distribution proportions would remain the same. The town clerk would keep $2 and send $4 to the State Library. Seventy per cent would go back to the towns through the grants.
V. Old Business
1. FY2011 Grants: Kathy reported that the program awarded 131 grants in cycle 1 and 18 in cycle 2 for a total of 149 grants worth $573,000. Though she sent out a reminder email several weeks prior to the September 30th deadline, twenty towns did not apply for FY2011 grants.
2. FY2012 Grants: LeAnn handed out an estimate of revenues for the rest of FY2011 as well as 6 options for next year’s grant levels. The Fiscal Office informed the staff that it estimates that $725,000 will be available for FY2012 grants. The town clerks favored option 3 which would raise the grant amount for the small towns by $500, to $3,500, but keep the amounts for the other two levels at $6,000 and $9,000. This would leave a small balance in the fund if all 169 towns applied for a grant. The staff had discussed the possibility of offering two $25,000 competitive grants for archival records, but the town clerks preferred to give the small towns some additional money.
3. Census Figures: The new population figures will be released in early 2011. The figures may not come out before towns submit their applications. LeAnn proposes that only for the FY2012 grants, if a town becomes eligible for a larger grant, it can apply for additional funding. If a town falls to a lower level, it will not be penalized with a smaller amount.
B. Workshops & Training:
1. The annual workshop will be held this year in conjunction with the Connecticut Certified Municipal Clerk Institute at Central Connecticut State University. Donia Conn, Workshop Program and Reference Coordinator at NEDCC, will be presenting “Municipal Records Preservation: The Basics and Beyond,” on December 1, 2010 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Registration will be handled through the Town Clerks Association website beginning at the end of October.
2. Lizette reported on the status of the Intergovernmental Preparedness for Essential Records [IPER] webinars. She distributed promotional folders at the Town Clerks Fall Conference in Westbrook. If a committee member did not receive a folder at the convention, see her after the meeting. Please circulate the information among the town departments. The instructional team hopes to begin offering the courses in late January/early February. The four sessions of the course must all be held on the same day of the week and at the same starting time. There will be recorded sessions for viewing at a different day or time, if necessary. Lizette will be surveying the towns to determine the best date and time to offer the on-line course.
3. Real Property Electronic Recording Committee: LeAnn reported that the committee met on September 13th at 9:30 AM at the Van Block facility. Carol Fogelsong from the Property Records Industry Association [PRIA] spoke on PRIA standards. The staff is working on a sample Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] that a town clerk would enter into with a vendor that would submit the documents electronically. The committee briefly discussed some of the issues involving eSignatures and the recording process. November 8th is the next eRecording committee meeting. The goal is to start the regulatory approval process by the end of the year so that the regulations might be in place by summer. LeAnn will be speaking to the Middlesex County meeting next week on this issue.
C. Graphical Representations: LeAnn has prepared a General Letter stating that there is no basis for town clerks to refuse to record an instrument containing a graphical representation, provided that it meets existing statutory requirements for recording. The letter is ready for distribution.
D. Grantor/Grantee Index Compliance: Kathy conducted an inspection of the town clerk’s office in Prospect. The Excel spreadsheet that the town clerk created to serve as her electronic public access index does not meet the statutory requirements. The data is entered separately from the existing indexes created by ACS. The town is applying for a grant in the second cycle to purchase a public access computer. ACS will create a combined grantor/grantee index from 1966 forward using the records already in its system. The index will be available on the public access computer purchased with grant funds.
E. State Archives Report
1. Archives Month: Mark Jones, the State Archivist, reported that every town received a poster in October. The State Library will be giving copies to the school groups that come through the library during the month. Any remaining posters will be handed out during tours of the State Capitol Building.
2. Probate Records: Records are now being transferred to the Archives from a number of the consolidating courts. The Archives staff is experiencing very few problems. There will be new compact shelving installed at the Van Block. Mark will be willing to conduct tours at the next meeting.
VI. New Business
A. The Public Records staff will be meeting on November 30, 2010 with representatives from the Town Clerks’ Election Committee, as well as Ted Bromley from the Secretary of the State Office and Registrars Judy Beaudreau and Pam Rapacz to review the changes to the M6 Elections Schedule. The town clerks will also review the M5 schedule at that time.
B. The committee looked at potential meeting dates for 2011. The three potential meeting dates are March 16, July 27 and November 30. LeAnn will confirm these dates with Ken Wiggin.
VII. Therese Pac made a motion to adjourn with a second from Nancy Bray. The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 2:32 p.m.
VIII. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 16, 2011 at the Van Block Facility. LeAnn will contact the members when the date is finalized. Everyone is welcome to share a brown bag lunch prior to the meeting.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
October 20, 2010