Public Library Construction Grant Program Webcast Series

Part 2: Completing the Online Application

My name is Lynne Webb and I am a NYS Library Development Specialist and program manager for the Public Library Construction program.  Part 2 of the webcast series provides information on completing an online application.       

An application to the New York State Public Library Construction Program is completed online.  To access the online application an applicant must first obtain a username and password. This is the online form available for registering for an online account. (This link is also available on the Public Library Construction Library Development webpage) Fill in the required information and submit.

If an applicant already has a user name and password proceed to login.  If an applicant doesn’t remember the password or the password has expired, please fill out this form and the password will be reset and emailed to the applicant.   

Proceed to accessing the online system

The first time an applicant logs into the system, the applicant will be asked to change the password and set up security questions.  These questions will be used in case the password is forgotten.  Passwords must be at least 8 characters long; and include one  numeric character and they cannot be the same as a username or the default password.

If an applicant forgets a password, click the link ‘I forgot my password’ and answer the security questions in order to reset the password.  If the answers to the security questions have been forgotten, please contact LibDevGrants@mail.nysed.gov to reset the password.

For security reasons applicants will be prompted to update passwords periodically, when this occurs please follow the online instructions for updating the password.

After logging in a “Welcome Page” will be displayed.  In order to access the application click on “Library Construction Application”

Note this screen may look a little different depending on what grant programs the applicant is participating in.

The construction homepage lists all the construction grant applications that an institution has started. When the portal opens there will be a link “Start a New Application” which an applicant clicks on to begin an application.

The system only allows an applicant to create a new application during the new application time period, and will state which fiscal year the new application is for.

Once a new blank application is created, the applicant is redirected to the Checklist page to begin completing the application. 

The “Checklist” has links to all the parts needed to complete an application.  Use the links to navigate through the different parts.  When you complete a section, check off the box next to the item and click “save progress”.  The checklist will also list the due date which has been set by your library system. 

Let’s review each item starting with the first item  the “Application Form”

The top part of the application form has information prefilled about the library applicant. This information is supplied by an internal SED database and cannot be modified by applicants. If the information for library applicant is not correct please notify Library Development staff as appropriate. 

The applicant begins filling in information starting with “Building” Information. All the fields marked by an asterisk * need to be completed.  If the applicant doesn’t complete a required field an error message will be generated when the application is “saved.”

Continue filling in the required fields such as whether or not the building is accessible, owned or leased, age of  building, square footage, and if it is owned by a school district. 

A discussion of SHPO (state Historic Preservation Office)  requirements will be included later in the webcast but please Note the requirement listed on the application: If the applicants  library is 50 years old or older and/or the project involves ground disturbance and/or demolition the applicant must review the SHPO information page to determine if  the project requires a SHPO approval.

Also, there will be an additional question this year regarding: SHPO: If the applicant’s project is exempt from SHPO according to Appendix A the applicant will need to state the reason in the appropriate box on the application form.

The answers to all these questions are important because in some cases further review is required.  

On this section of the application the applicant is asked to provide a “Project Title” and “Project Manager”.  Try to give the project a title that is appropriate to the individual project. An example might include: “New Teen Center” or “Lighting and Windows Project” as opposed to “Construction Project 2014.”   Keep in mind that “Project Titles” may appear on reports and other documents, be informative but also be clear and concise. Do not use the term “repair”. “Repair work” is not allowable so please do not use the word in your title. The “Project Manager” information is  important because this is the individual that the System and DLD will communicate with going forward.  If  the program manager changes during the course of the project this information can be updated online.

As the application is being filled in be sure to save entries.

Continuing down the application select what type of project you are undertaking, is it New Construction, Building expansion, Accessibility, etc..

Pay attention to a new question this year regarding Certificates of Occupancy.  Please indicate yes/or no as to whether the project will require a local “Certificate of Occupancy”.   Examples of when a C/O is typically required include: New Building Construction; Construction or renovation that significantly changes the current or intended use of library space.  For example a space that is currently used for offices or storage and is converted to public use space would possibly require a certificate of occupancy.  Be sure to consult and follow local government laws as they apply to certificates of occupancy to ensure compliance.      

Estimated Project Costs a. Total Project Cost: The total project cost can be a little confusing and the best way to explain this is to use an example.  If  a new library  is being built or a very large addition is being constructed  the  total cost for that project might be $2 million.  However, the applicant is not seeking grant funds from this program to fund that entire project. Grant funds are being requested to cover the foundation or the roof, etc..  In this example, a. Total Project Cost would be $2 million (the total cost of your comprehensive project) and b. The Cost of the Project for Which Funding is being requested might be $20,000.  “b” is populated by what is supplied on the  project budget page.

(It is possible that there is no larger project and the only project  is the project the applicant is seeking funding for.  For example perhaps the applicant is installing new energy efficient windows and the cost is $30,000 and that is the project, in this example a. Total Project cost would be $30,000 and b. Cost of the project for which Funding is being requested would be $30,000.  Again” b” is populated from what is supplied on the project budget page.

c. Is the amount of Public Library Construction funds that the applicant is requesting for the project.  Note this amount cannot be more than 75% of the amount listed in b. cost of project for which funding is being requested. And the amount that you are awarded will depend on whether or not you are eligible for the reduced match a decision that is made by your library System.

Time Frame: Three dates are required here: The date the applicant expects the project to start; the date the project was/will start and third the date the project is  expected to be completed.  These dates are not meant to be set in stone but to ensure that your project can reasonably start and finish in the grant activity period.  Note: this timeframe only applies to the project for which funds are being requested.

Here the applicant needs to list all the additional sources of funding that will contribute to this project.  There is a drop down for fund source, a box for description, and the amount.           

List only the funds being used for the project for which funding is being requested  “Only for “B”

Applicants do not need to list the funds being requested from the NYS Public Library Construction Grant Program.

A line of credit can be used if it indicates cash is available.

There are five narratives that are required.  Generally the narratives apply to the project for which funding is being requested so please do not include anything that is ineligible according to program guidelines or law. The first narrative is the Project Abstract.  Please take some time here and craft a well thought out project abstract for the project.  If there is a larger comprehensive project in addition to the project for which funding is being requested you can mention the larger comprehensive project in the abstract.  Again, these abstracts will be used in reports so please be clear and concise.     

A complete description of the project for which funding is being requested is required.  For clarity the applicant may want to include a line or two about the larger comprehensive project (if there is one).  Make sure that the project narrative is organized and clearly describes each component of the project .

The 3rd required narrative is the “Impact of the Project” and here the applicant should describe how the project addresses one or more of the Public Library Construction Program’s priorities:

The timetable is a planning tool and describes how the applicant will complete the project. It should be as specific as possible, indicating the projected beginning and ending dates. The applicant does not need to provide a blow by blow description here. Follow the instructions on the screen.  Be mindful that project work must fall into the grant activity period.

In the Budget Narrative describe how the grant funds being requested will be spent. Everything included here must be an allowable cost. (See the grant guidelines and FAQ documents on the program website for more detail.) Make sure what is reported in the budget narrative matches what is reported in the project budget and that equals the amount of funds being requested.  (how match funds are going to be used can be included in the budget narrative. ) Remember only eligible project costs should be included.

This is the Budget, The top part deals with Code 40 Purchased Services.  Include services here that will be purchased for the project under Consultant or contracted services. All services performed by an individual contractor should be listed together.  For reference, there is a link to the Program Regulations that list eligible and ineligible costs. Remember that quotes for these services must be attached and the amounts listed on the quotes should match what is entered here. Click on “add” to bring up another blank record if needed.

Continuing down the budget page is the Supplies and Materials (Code 45) section.  This is where all supplies and materials to be purchased for use during the project would be recorded. Note: Do not include supplies that will be purchased by a vendor if those supplies are included in a vendor’s cost estimate.  Also, any individual “Equipment” purchases under $5000 should be included here in Supplies & Materials. If an applicant purchases a variety of supplies & materials directly from a retailer please include only one entry for the total of those “supplies & materials.” 

List all equipment that has a unit cost of $5000 or more that will be purchased for use during the project. Only include equipment purchased by the applicant, not the contractor.  Equipment “purchased and installed” by the contractor should be included under Purchased Services. Make sure you attach your cost estimates, quotes, etc. and list all equipment in your budget narrative.

The FS-10 Budget Summary forms are essential for payment of approved project amounts.  Three FS-10s with original signatures in blue ink must be submitted to your library system.  Before an applicant prints and signs the FS-10s the application form must be completed.  The reason for that is the Project Manager’s name and contact information from the Application form will be transferred to the FS-10. Also, FS-10s are submitted with their category code amounts left blank.  The code amounts will be filled in by Library Development staff once a final award amount has been determined.  Your Library System contact will send your FS-10s to Kimberly Anderson at the Division of Library Development. 

In order to receive funds from the NYS Education Department,  applicant libraries must be entered on the SED vendor database, have been assigned a unique vendor ID number (not a number shared with the library’s town or village) and have accurate payee information on record.  Each library must submit both a payee and a W-9 form.  You can access the forms at the link on the instruction page.  Print the forms, fill them out according to the instructions, and sign the form in blue ink. Applicants send the forms to their library system as they did with the FS-10s.  Questions regarding the Payee Information Form should be directed to Barbara Massago and her email is listed here.  The payee form should contain updated library contact info including, any name and address changes, and director.

There are several Required Attachments that need to be completed and attached to an application. Follow the online instructions shown here for adding an attachment.  

Here is a list of the attachments, those designated (required) should be completed by all applicants.  The others may be required if your project meets certain conditions. Let’s take a look at each one.

Assurances are required.  The first three boxes must be checked, the fourth applies to any applicant that does not own its building with the exception of those applicants whose buildings are owned by a school district or BOCES. Also, make sure that the bottom half of the form is complete and signed by the President of the Library/System Board of Trustees. The form can be printed, signed, scanned and electronically attached to your grant application.  The original form with original signatures must be kept on file, and can be requested at any point in the future should the need arise.   *****Please use the form that is provided in the application.******* Review will go faster.

The law stipulates that the availability of funds to pay for the cost of the project minus the amount awarded through the construction grant program must be verified as part of the application.  Examples of verification include bank or bond certification, an official document signed by a financial authority connected with your institution, and/or other such evidentiary document.  Such funds can include public funds (federal, state, or local), private funds (including friends of the library funds), or a combination.

All Funding certs must be attached as pdfs.

The cert has to equal or exceed the additional funds that you will need to complete the project.

If your project involves”Bonding” please include all the necessary documentation listed above.

The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires that applicants evaluate the potential environmental consequences of certain activities and to minimize adverse impacts.  To that end all applicants must complete the four page Short Environmental Assessment Form (SEAF) as part of the application process.  For  some projects this will be enough to comply with SEQRA.  In other cases though the applicant may need to complete a long form EAF.  Links to both forms are provided in the application.  A link to more information is also available. Please make sure that the form is completely filled out and sign the form on both page 3 and 4 before attaching it to your application.

Pre-construction photos of the applicant’s proposed project are required. Note: Post project photos are also required.  And in all cases when submitting photos please provide photos that are representative of the project.

The Smart Growth Form is another required attachment and a link to more information is provided.  Smart Growth addresses concerns that new construction projects are not contributing to “Urban Sprawl” and other negative environmental issues. As with the SEAF form please make sure the form is complete and signed before attaching it to the application. Make sure that the form is filled out by checking the appropriate boxes. Make sure to provide a justification for compliance or noncompliance. Finally make sure the form is signed.

If the applicant’s library is under a lease arrangement, the applicant must include a letter from the owner certifying that the lease agreement will be in effect for a minimum of 10 years from the anticipated project completion date and that there is full awareness and agreement by the owner with the implications of the construction project.  This requirement does not apply to library buildings owned by a school district or BOCES.  Please attach a copy of the letter if required, to the application.  Original letters should be kept on file, and can be requested at any point in the future, should the need arise.  

If the applicant’s library building is owned by a School District or BOCES and the total Grant Program project cost will be $10,000 or more than the applicant must submit plans and specifications to the State Education Department’s Office of Facilities Planning for their review and approval.  The OFP Certificate of Project Approval, including the OFP issued Building Permit, should be included as an attachment to your project’s application.  If you need assistance with the OFP approval process please contact the Office directly.

Applicants are encouraged to contact OFP if necessary early in the project application process.

The New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is part of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.  Their mission is to help communities identify, evaluate, preserve and revitalize their historic, archaeological and cultural resources.  If the applicant’s library is 50 years old or older and/or the project involves ground disturbance and/or demolition please review the document listed in the instructions to determine if SHPO approval is required.  If SHPO approval is required a letter from SHPO must be attached to your grant application.  More information on SHPO can be found at the above links and by calling the Office directly.  Letters from SHPO are specific to each project and cannot be used in perpetuity.  Also, please initiate finding out about SHPO early in your project development process since responses from  SHPO can take time. 

As a reminder:
**** There is a new question on the application re: SHPO**** If your project is exempt from SHPO according to Appendix A please state the reason in the appropriate box on the application form.******   

A project cost estimate that is a reliable assessment of true project cost must accompany the application. Such estimate must be in the form of a quote document from a contractor(s) to assure that the full cost of the project can be reliably assessed. If the construction project is multifaceted and more than one contractor will be involved, e.g., an electrician, plumber and carpenter, a quote from each contractor is required. All quote documents should detail individual costs (as appropriate) and be submitted as PDF attachments. Keep in mind that cost estimates from architects, engineering firms, or construction consultants are not allowable expenses

Note: QUOTE DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED ONLY FOR ELIIGIBLE PROJECT COSTS FOR WHICH FUNDING IS BEING REQUESTED.  
If the project for which funding is being requested is part of a larger comprehensive project then please provide details on the larger project’s activities in the “Project Narrative” section of your application.

It is not required that a library has entered into final agreements with a contractor(s) at the time of application. However, allowing for reasonable increases in the cost of construction from the time the application is submitted, steps should be taken to assure that the cost estimates reflect anticipated true cost to ensure that sufficient funds are available to pay for the cost of the project, minus the award amount. Note: Contingency costs that allow for price increases cannot be entered as separate entries on the budget as it will be assumed that the contractor quote covers such contingencies.

Note: For the purposes of the 2014-17 application, the total project cost for which funding is requested, designated as “(b)” on the application form, cannot include any costs incurred prior to January 1, 2014.

These documents should be electronically attached to your grant application.

When the application and all necessary parts have been completed click on “submit”. There is validation that happens and if any parts are missing a warning message will appear and the application will not be submitted until all the required elements have been completed.

After the application is submitted the library system will contact the applicant with any further questions or comments. 

Thank-you for viewing this webcast and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us.  Lynne Webb; Kimberly Anderson; Barbara Massago

Continue to Part 3

Last Updated: October 28, 2014 -- asm