Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Van Block Facility
July 11, 2007
Members Present:††††††† State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Sandi Wieleba, East Hampton Town Clerk, Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.
Members Absent:†††††††† Sandra Russo, Middletown Town Clerk; Patty Strauss, Westport Town Clerk
Others Present:†††††††††††† Bruce Stark, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Kathryn Makover, CSL
I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.
II. The minutes of the March 21st meeting were approved with a correction to the spelling of Cathy Nurmiís first name in item II.† Joe Quartiero and Sandi Wieleba abstained as they did not attend that meeting.
III. Fiscal Report: Richard Kingston reported on the fiscal status of the fund.† Revenues at the end of FY2007 were 8.9% below FY2006.† The Town Clerks reported that filings have stabilized. †They believe that the housing market has finally returned to a normal level and that the fund will be fairly stable from now on.†
IV. Old Business
1. FY2007 Grants: Kathy Makover reported that the grant period for FY2007 ended on June 30th.† Final reports have been received from 62 of the 148 towns to date.† She will send out a reminder in late July to towns that have not submitted a report by then.† The staff encourages towns to submit their reports soon after completing their grants rather than waiting until the September 1 deadline.
2. FY2008 Grants:
a. Kathy Makover reported that the new procedures instituted with Cycle 1 appear to be working smoothly.† The Attorney Generalís Office has been approving the contracts in a timely manner.† Towns that returned a signed and certified contract by early June were able to begin their grant projects by about July 1, just as in the past. †Eighty-five per cent of the towns returned their contracts within about a month of receiving their award letters; currently there are only five towns outstanding.
b. Eunice DiBella reported that nine towns received competitive grants totaling $379,847.† Most applicants received the full amount they requested.† One town received partial funding.† Three towns, Wethersfield, North Branford, and Hartford, received a second year of funding for multi-year projects.
The State Librarian mentioned that one reviewer was very critical of the number of records management projects funded under the competitive grants.† The reviewer felt that the legislation creating the grants intended it to fund historic preservation, not records management.† The staff distributed a report documenting that 165 towns have received $3.9 million for targeted grants that involve conservation and preservation of town records.† The town clerk members stated that they believe that good records management is the first step in preserving current records which are the historic records of the future. The State Librarian will respond to the reviewer.
c. Kathy reported that 91 towns received targeted grants in Cycle 1.† The awards totaled $762,000.† A printed report was distributed in the meeting packet listing the grant projects.
d. The staff has received three grant applications for Cycle 2 thus far.† If the current review and approval times remain as they are, many applicants will be able to start their projects sooner than January 1, the starting date for Cycle 2 grants under the old procedures.
3. FY2009 grants.
a. The staff and fiscal office will evaluate the fund to determine next yearís funding levels.† They hope to maintain current levels if possible.† The disaster recovery set aside remains at $100,000, but the Public Records Administrator has the authority to increase the amount if a major event occurs and the funding is needed.
b. Eligible/Ineligible Expenses
1) The Public Records Administrator and the staff have developed preliminary guidelines for funding Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning [HVAC] projects.† The proposed system will allow for grants to pay 50% of the cost to install or upgrade an HVAC system, up to the townís maximum targeted grant amount. For example, if a small town had a project that cost $6,000, the grant would pay $3,000 and the town would contribute $3,000 in local funds. If the project was $15,000, the grant would pay $7,000 and local funds would pay $8,000.† Any HVAC component of a larger competitive grant would have to meet the same requirements.
Applicants would also need to meet the following pre-requisites to be eligible to apply:
a) The town must complete 12 months of monitoring temperature and humidity in the vault.† At minimum, this would consist of a daily written log of readings from a min/max thermohygrometer.† Since the program funds more sophisticated monitoring equipment, up to and including an Image Permanence Institute [IPI] study, the towns should consider these options as they will have more complete and accurate data for use in determining system improvements.
b) The town must hire an approved environmental engineer to assess the vault, the monitoring data collected and any other relevant factors and submit a report with recommendations on ways to improve the environment that may or may not include an upgraded or new HVAC system.† If this assessment does not support installation of an upgraded or new HVAC system to improve the environment, the project will not be eligible for grant funding.†
c) Any installation of a new HVAC system or any upgrade to an existing system would have to meet current vault standards and have prior approval of the Public Records Administrator before the town submits the grant application.
Therese Pac recommended that the engineer working on Bristolís project be added to the list of approved environmental engineers.† She also discussed how the high quality of IPIís data and analysis has been helpful in Bristolís renovation project.
2) The staff discussed the need for guidelines concerning the conservation of modern land records, post World War II.† In most cases, the artifactual value of these records is less important than the information they contain.† Therefore, the cost of stabilizing and encapsulating these records may not be the best use of available funds, and alternatives such as records recreation may be more appropriate. The Public Records Administrator suggested establishing a cut-off date for records, after which the program would not fund conservation efforts unless a strong case could be made for the intrinsic value of a specific record.† The town clerks stated that most clerks do not have the training or background to evaluate the intrinsic value of records or the appropriateness of a conservatorís proposal.† The committee discussed various options for educational opportunities in this area.
3) Joyce Mascena gave a legislative report on PA 07-252 (Bill 7163).† It is on Governor Rellís desk awaiting her signature.† She has until July 14 to sign or veto it, otherwise it goes into effect.† It is expected that she will sign. The legislation applies to combined grantor/grantee indexes and marginal notations from July 1st forward if it goes into effect.† By January 2009, all towns must have an electronic index that will search both the grantor and grantee indexes at the same time.† The provision regarding the grant program was already covered by the program, but an interested legislator insisted in adding it anyway.† The staff will add a specific statement about public access terminals to the next guidelines.†
a. Eunice received an email from Jettner & Sickler that they are dissolving their partnership in August.† Each of them would like to remain on the vendor list.† They have notified their clients that they will complete any outstanding work.† They have asked towns with contracts for FY2008 to select one or the other.† Eunice will notify them individually that they are still on the vendor list, but will ask that they provide the office with a list of how they distributed the clients between them.† Eunice will not ask the towns to submit amendments for any FY2008 grants that have approved contracts.† The towns, however, may have to write new contracts with the vendor.
b. The committee discussed how to present the vendor list on the internet.† State statutes require the Public Records Administrator to approve certain vendors but not others.† Eunice does not want to create the misperception that the office has approved all the vendors on the list when it is not true.† The staff will discuss this issue further.
5. Carla Pomprowitz reported on the status of the Gilead Church records in Hebron.† The church has not decided whether or not it will transfer ownership to the town.† She is still awaiting a vendor estimate on preserving the records.
B. Workshops & Training:†
1. FY2007 workshop:† The June 7th workshop at the Keeney Center went well.† Some respondents to the evaluation felt that town selectmen should have been invited as they would need to be involved in establishing a town-wide records disaster recovery plan. The staff will look at alternating days of the week so that clerks from smaller offices, who may have coverage on only a few days, have more opportunities to attend.† Therese Pac reported that if the State Library workshop is made part of the IIMC institute, attendees will get 3 points toward certification rather 1 point if it is separate.
2. The grant staff and the Public Records Administrator will investigate various topics for the FY2008 workshop.† An archival topic remains the most likely given the need in this area.† However, technology standards and electronic records are other possible topics.
C. Membership.† For the next meeting, the staff will confirm that all towns and counties are properly represented.
D. State Library Reports:
1. The staff distributed a summary of State Library preservation activities funded through the program in the meeting packet.
2. The State Archivist discussed the transfer of the Southington town records which were identified during a records management survey funded through the grant program.
3. The State Library received a special appropriation from the General Assembly to preserve federal Works Progress Administration public artwork located across the state.† A legislator had read an article in the Hog River Journal and included some funding in the budget.† The State Archives will be developing a database of the artworks and their locations.
E. There was no other old business.
V. New Business
A. Meeting Schedule: The October 10th meeting will need to be rescheduled as Eunice will be attending an ARMA Conference that week.† The meeting will be either October 3rd or 17th.† The staff will notify the members as soon as possible.
B. No other new business was discussed.
VI. The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.
VII. The next meeting is scheduled for October 2007 at the Van Block Facility.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
July 11, 2007