Grants Administration Policy

On February 19, 2014, the BOCC adopted a grants administration policy that optimizes how the County’s departments pursue and administer externally funded grants. Its adoption helps ensure the County follows all applicable budgetary and regulatory grant regulations of federal, state, and non-profit grantors.

Adherence to this policy and the procedures found herein will promote efficiency, better transparency, greater accountability, a strategic approach to funding opportunities, and generally place the County in a more competitive position for securing grant funds. If specific direction relative to grants cannot be located in these procedures, please contact the grants management office for assistance.

Purpose

Grants are an exceptional way to fund County projects; however, they come with the expectation that all work including the management of the grant award will follow the highest standards of the regulatory and budgetary requirements of the grantor and the County. Failure to comply with such requirements can lead to a loss of goodwill and the return of funds. Inadequate review of grant proposals or grant awards may lead to the County spending General Revenue funds to support a grant project inconsistent with overall strategic direction, or may commit the County to General Revenue spending beyond the grant period. The purpose of this policy is to set forth guidance for the application of grant proposals and the administration of grants awarded to the County that ensure the efficiency and impact of grant funded programs, services, and capital improvements; increase grant revenues; limit the County’s exposure to grant related legal liability; and assure grantors and the public that the County shall discharge its responsibilities with the highest of standards.

Policy



It is the policy of the Board of County Commissioners that the County will seek grant funding for activities and assets that are determined to further core County functions, or that provide for activities and assets that are in the best interest of the County and its residents. Unless exempted by Board action, all organizations directly funded by the Board shall participate in a uniform grants administration program under the direction of the County administrator that will adequately assess grants prior to submission and ensure that grant award functions follow the highest standards of the grantor or the County.

Grants Identification, Application, and Tracking: Grants pursued by the County must be consistent with the County’s mission, strategic priorities, or adopted business plans, and no grant shall be submitted without signature approval of the County’s authorized organizational representative or designee; therefore, the submission of grant proposals shall be coordinated by a central authority designated by the County Administrator so that the effects on the County can be reviewed and understood beforehand and the authorizing signatures obtained; and grant applications shall provide reasonable and realistic outcomes that are based on information that will help to best assess the impact and efficacy of grant activities. Individuals planning to apply for an external grant are encouraged to notify the grants management office at the earliest opportunity for support and assistance. Any grant that requires the authorizing signature of the County Administrator requires notification to the grants management office a minimum of 15 business days prior to the submission date. Notification shall be on a form established under the direction of the County Administrator. All grants will be recorded and tracked in a manner that assures transparency and accountability to the Board, grantors, and the public.

Funding Analysis: Grants that align with the strategic priorities of the County shall be analyzed to examine the total effects and costs to the County due to matching requirements or new operating costs; allowance of indirect costs; whether General Fund revenues are necessary to cover the gap between cash expended and revenues received; and whether County General Fund revenues are necessary to support the project after the expiration of the grant.

Analysis of Grant Renewals and Continuations: At the end of the initial grant period, all grants shall be evaluated to determine the extent to which the grant project has produced desired benefits. Such an analysis shall include a review of actual costs to determine whether using General Fund revenues associated with the grant could be better used for other purposes that are better aligned with the County’s mission, priorities, and business plans. Grants awarded on a multi-year basis shall be evaluated through a cost effectiveness analysis that relates the project’s cost to its key outcomes or benefits to determine the extent to which they have produced positive, meaningful outcomes that provide cost effective services or improvements.

Provision of Administrative and Operational Support: In a manner specified by the County administrator, the County shall develop procedures that ensure a detailed understanding of the regulatory and financial requirements of grant awards and that specify how grants shall be implemented and monitored.

Responsibility



It is the responsibility of the Strategic Planning and Grants Management Department under the direction of the County administrator to implement this policy and to provide procedures that detail the grant proposal seeking process and the proper execution, management, and close-out of the County’s grant awards; and report on the submission and status of grants in a manner that assures transparency and accountability to the Board, grantors, and the public.