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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center
September 25, 2002


Members Present
Barbara Allen, Goshen Town Clerk; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Ed Friedeberg, Glastonbury Town Clerk; 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; Sandra Hutton, Middletown Town Clerk/Representative Town Clerks' Association; Grants Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Vernon Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk.

Members Absent
Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk.

Others Present
Barbara Austen, Local Government Records Archivist; Betsy Barrett, Lisbon Town Clerk; LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant.

  1. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:22 p.m.

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

  3. There were no new introductions.

  4. The minutes of July 24, 2002 were approved with minor corrections.

  5. State Library Fiscal Officer Richard Kingston distributed a fiscal report showing the growth of the grant program during the first two years. The fund continues to have healthy growth. While the staff is able to make some predictions for the future, the real estate market is still not predictable. Things could turn around at any time. The current balance is approximately two million dollars.

  6. Old Business

    1. The workshop on security, Keeping Your Town Hall Safe and Protecting Your Records, to be held on Oct 22nd currently has 57 registrants.

    2. State Library Projects

      1. Barbara Austen has finished prioritizing the local government records collection at the State Library. She has selected Glastonbury as her first project. It is a rich collection of tax and voting records, as well as financial records including public assistance. She has processed three quarters of the collections, including some paper repairs. She has also worked with the State Archivist in preparing and selecting some rare 17th century records for microfilming.

      2. The State Archivist presented the half size mockup of the new poster. Most items the designer selected are town records from the State Library collections. The project is out to bid for printers. Every town hall and public library will receive a copy as well as legislators. The Committee thanked Mark for all his hard work. The Public Records Administrator said that the Library owns the image so it will be used on brochures describing the program and as a bookmark.

      3. The State Librarian passed around a copy of the recently published volume 17 of the Records of the State of Connecticut for the committee to examine. The personal services contract for the new editor has been approved.

      4. The State Library has received a $498,000 cooperative grant along with the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Historical Society, and the library at the Mystic Marine Museum to digitize records for a Connecticut History On-Line website. Money from the State Library's portion of the funds will be used as matching money for the grant. Among the State Library records selected to be digitized for inclusion are WWI veterans' surveys and a photo collection of one-room school houses across the state.

      5. The State Library is hoping to hire another staff member for the Court Records grant project. The hiring freeze is slowing the process.

      6. Disaster Wheels will be distributed at the Town Clerks Conference in October. Each town will receive one wheel.

    3. There was nothing to report on the cooperating training initiative.

    4. 2002 Grants.

      1. FY 2002 Grant Cycles

        1. Final Reports

          1. The grant program staff is still waiting for 12 final reports. Seven of these are preservation surveys that are not due until September 30th. Two preservation surveys were lost after being mailed by NEDCC. They are being re-sent. There will be no penalties at this time for late reports.

          2. The staff will revise the final expenditure reports to include signatures lines for when the town clerk is not the applicant but prepares the report for the municipal chief executive officer's signature.

          3. Three towns returned unexpended funds; the State Library will have to bill one town that did not return its unexpended monies. The town clerks need additional education on the forms.

        2. The complaint made to the Public Records Administrator alleging that a town was not using preservation funds appropriately appears not to be legitimate. The staff was unable to reach the complainant. A careful review of the final report and discussions with the town clerk's office revealed nothing suspicious.

      2. FY 2003 Grants

        1. Thirty-two towns have applied for cycle 2 for $188,300.

        2. Of the twelve towns that have never applied, nine town clerks have stated that they intend to submit an application. This will be an additional $134,000 in grants. If every town does apply, the program will reach its goal of over $1,000,000 in grants for FY 2003. The town clerks noted that the vendors have been encouraging towns to apply.

      3. FY 2004 Grants

        1. The existing categories will be carried over indefinitely to allow towns to complete ongoing projects.

          1. The Public Records Administrator suggested adding a records management survey as a new category for the next fiscal year. The committee asked for an explanation of the difference between the preservation survey and the records management survey. The preservation survey focuses on the records' environment while the records management survey focuses on the records themselves. It includes an inventory of their records, recommendations regarding disposition based on existing retention schedules or the development of new ones; identify records that are historically or legally valuable, and suggestions to improve office workflow. This grant will require additional training through a workshop or other formats for the town clerks. The number of grants may be limited due to the fact that there are not many consultants.

          2. Separate training grants were tabled for the time being.

        2. Grant Amounts

          1. After some discussion, the committee decided to increase the grant amounts to $7,000; $12,000; and $17,000. There was also discussion about not implementing the competitive grants next year and just have target grants. The State Librarian also reminded the committee that it was important to maintain enough of a balance to ensure that every applicant receives its full grant amount. The fund must also be maintained for the future if receipts dry up for a time. There was also a discussion about creating more tiers among the small and medium towns to create a more equitable distribution of the fund. The staff will study the population figures and report back to the committee.

          2. The staff will begin studying competitive grant criteria. Among the decisions that must be addressed are how many grants will be offered each year, how much money shall be dedicated, and what types of competitive grants to consider, such as security systems, automation; or back file conversion.

          3. The staff needs to include set-asides in future financial reports for disaster recovery and competitive grants.

        3. Eligible grant expenses.

          1. The committee decided to allow town employee overtime as an eligible expense provided that the funds do not supplant existing town funding, that the grant is not for an on-going project, and that the funds are for part of a specific project that cannot be completed during normal operating hours. The town must verify these conditions prior to the grant award. Sheila Mosman will help the staff adopt language from the LSTA contract for our contract.

          2. Equipment will be added to the budget as a separate line. Records storage equipment such as map cases, filing cabinets and shelving that meet long term storage standards will be eligible as will microfilm reader/printers. Although the committee previously decided that standard office equipment including desktop computers were the responsibility of the town, the town clerks asked that laptops be considered since they are more project oriented. The town clerks also requested an "equipment only" category for those towns that have completed preservation projects.

        4. The staff will work to incorporate these suggestions into the FY2004 grants. The updated forms and guidelines will be available at the November meeting.

    5. Betsy Barrett recommended Cynthia Ladwig from Stonington as the replacement for Barbara Tarbox from Groton.

    6. There was no other old business

  7. New Business

    1. LeAnn Johnson asked that the following be entered into the minutes. There are two corrections to the last newsletter: E. Frederick Petersen was inadvertently left off the list of State Library Board members. The amount of grants awarded should read "$699,255" not "$669,225."

    2. The Public Records Administrator distributed a draft of the legislative report for FY 2001-2002. The staff will add a statement about the future competitive grants to the findings and recommendations sections. The committee should send its comments to the Public Records Administrator as soon as possible.

    3. The State Librarian asked the Public Records Administrator to have a preliminary schedule of meeting dates for 2003 for the next meeting. The members agreed to continue meeting every other month on the 3rd Wednesday whenever possible.

  8. The next meeting is November 20, 2002 at 1:00 p.m. at the Middletown Library Service Center.

  9. The meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
September 25, 2002