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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center
November 20, 2002


Members present: Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Richard Kingston, CSL; State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; State Archivist Mark Jones; CSL, Grants Manager Sheila K. Mosman, CSL; Grants Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; Cynthia Ladwig, Stonington Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk.

Members absent: Joyce P. Mascena, Vernon Town Clerk; Sandra Hutton, Middletown Town Clerk/Representative Town Clerks' Association; Barbara Allen, Goshen Town Clerk; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Ed Friedeberg, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk.

Others present: Barbara Austen, Local Government Records Archivist; LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant.

I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:37 p.m.

II. The State Librarian welcomed the board members to the meeting.

III. The State Librarian introduced the newest board member Cynthia Ladwig, Town Clerk of Stonington to the board. Cynthia replaces Barbara Tarbox.

IV. In the minutes of September 26, 2002, the name of State Library Board member E. Frederick Petersen was misspelled. The minutes were approved as corrected.

V. Fiscal Report

A. State Library Fiscal Officer Richard Kingston reported that monthly filings continue to run ahead of last year. The State Library has collected $650,000 in the first three months of this fiscal year. If this pattern holds for the remainder of the fiscal year there will be a 17% increase for the year, which would amount to over $2 million dollars. The result will be $300,000 more for grants than this year. However, experts are predicting that the real estate boom will end in 2003. The current account balance is $2.3 million. Over the life of the program we have collected $3.7 million dollars.

B. In order to prepare a proper official program budget, the board to needs to formally set aside funds for the disaster grants as well as future competitive grants. After some discussion concerning the grant amount and the set asides, Catherine Nurmi made a motion and Therese Pac seconded that the disaster recovery grants remain at $10,000 and that a balance of $100,000 be maintained for the disaster recovery grants. The motion passed unanimously. The board agreed that next year, depending on the fund balance, the board may want to raise the amount or make a provision for exceptions in the event of a major disaster.

The committee also discussed the future competitive grants. After discussing the nature of competitive grants and other grant programs on the state and federal level, the committee decided to table the set asides until the next meeting so that the staff could develop some possible proposals concerning the set asides.

VI. Old Business

A. The workshop on security, Keeping Your Town Hall Safe and Protecting Your Records, held on Oct 22nd had 77 registrants. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. LeAnn Johnson thanked Mary Louise Jensen for suggesting Stevan Layne as a speaker. The next workshop will be Tuesday June 10th. Dr. Mark Langemo, Professor Emeritus, University of North Dakota, will present a workshop on implementing a successful records management program.

B. State Library Projects

1. Barbara Austen has completed processing Glastonbury town records as her first project. The collection expanded from 15 to 54 boxes. The finding aid is almost ready for publication. It will be made available to the Town Clerk's office, the local library and historical society. The State Archivist also hopes to post it on the web in a PDF format.

2. LeAnn Johnson distributed the new poster to the town clerks attending the meeting. She will mail them to all the town halls as well as the libraries and historical societies.

C. Grants.

1. FY 2002 Grant Cycles

a. LeAnn distributed copies of two letters concerning the return of unexpended funds and failure to file a timely Grant Expenditure/Evaluation Report. This will be used, if necessary, at the end of the 2003 grant year. One town has not submitted a report for 2002, but the clerk has faxed a copy to LeAnn and will mail the original to her. There were questions about filing the report when the Municipal Chief Executive Officer (MCEO) was the applicant and/or has since left. The Public Records Administrator suggested that the town clerk prepare the report and send it to the MCEO with a cover letter requesting a signature as applicant.

b. Five towns have returned unexpended funds totaling $900. In the next grant year, towns will be allowed to use this money for archival supplies or equipment up to 10% of the grant amount. Any unexpended amount above 10% will have to be returned to the State Library.

2. FY 2003 Grants

a. Fifty-five towns applied for the 2nd cycle grants. LeAnn is reviewing the applications and working with the town clerks to correct any problems.

b. Only five towns did not apply this year. Of those five, two have never applied for the grant. The staff is satisfied that it did all that it could to get applications from every town.

3. FY 2004 Grants

a. LeAnn Johnson and Lizette Pelletier reviewed the changes to the grant guidelines and forms. The grant categories discussed at the September 26th meeting have been added.

b. The funding levels will be $7,000, $12,000 and $17,000.

c. The staff, after meeting with Sheila Mosman, decided to table adding town employee salaries as eligible expenses until next year due to the complexity of the issue. A special budget form and contract language that includes all the personnel issues will need to be developed and there was not enough time before the next grant year begins to address them.

d. The committee made a number of suggestions regarding changes to the guidelines, contract and forms that the staff will integrate before they go to the printer.

D. The committee established its meeting schedule for the next calendar year. The meetings will be the third Wednesday of the month except for September, which will be on the last Wednesday due to the Town Clerks Conference. The Public Records Administrator will distribute a published list of dates to the committee members.

E. There was no other old business

VII. New Business

A. Jane Cullinane circulated a poster created by the Vermont Historical Records Advisory Committee concerning the care and handling of documents and books.

B. Patty Strauss raised the issue of third parties wanting to purchase the entire microfilm of the town land records and indexing it themselves presumably to sell commercially. The State Librarian advised the town clerks to work through their town attorneys because the State Library cannot give them legal advice. He also recommended that the Town Clerks Association talk to an attorney about protecting the towns from liability or from losing any rights or limiting future use of their own records.

VIII. The next meeting is January 15, 2003 at 12:30 p.m. at the Middletown Library Service Center.

IX. The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

November 20, 2002