OPM: Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

     STEAP FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

What projects CAN be funded with STEAP funds?

  • Economic development projects such as (a) constructing or rehabilitating commercial, industrial, or mixed-use structures and (b) constructing, reconstructing, or repairing roads, access ways, and other site improvements;
  • Recreation and solid waste disposal projects;
  • Social service-related projects, including day care centers, elderly centers, domestic violence and emergency homeless shelters, multi-purpose human resource centers, and food distribution facilities;
  • Housing projects;
  • Pilot historic preservation and redevelopment programs that leverage private funds; and 
  • Other kinds of development projects involving economic and community development, transportation, environmental protection, public safety, children and families and social service programs.

What CANNOT be funded with STEAP funds?

  • Programmatic expenditures or recurring budget expenditures are not eligible for STEAP or any other state bond funds.  However, some projects, while generally capital in nature, should not be funded with State bond money for various public policy reasons including but not limited to administrative improvements.

If you have any doubts about project (or project component) eligibility, please call and ask.

  • The following expenditures are not eligible for reimbursement: ceremonial or entertainment expenses; publicity; bonus payments; reserves; deficits or overdrafts; interest charged; any judgment for damages arising from the project; fines and penalties; municipal salaries or employee expenses.
  • Project components NOT allowable for STEAP Fund payment:  Furniture, fixtures and equipment (or FF&E).  FF&E includes movable furniture, fixtures or other equipment that have no permanent connection to the structure of a building or utilities.  Examples of FF&E include desks, chairs, computers, electronic equipment, tables, bookcases and partitions.
  • STEAP funds cannot be used to represent the required “match” portion for another state grant.

Why wasn’t our town chosen to receive an award?

This is one of the questions we are asked most frequently.  This highly successful program has been in place since 2001 and each year the total funding requests well exceed the available funding.  The Office of Policy and Management receives applications for many laudable projects, but unfortunately we cannot fund them all.  Ways to improve your chances of receiving an award are listed later in this document.

If we received a previous STEAP award for an earlier phase of our project, do we have a better chance of getting another award if our next application is for another phase of the same project? 

No.  Towns should not expect to receive subsequent STEAP awards for the same project simply because they won an award for a previous phase of the same project.  STEAP grants are not formula or entitlement grants.  They are one-time funding grants that do not obligate the state to fund the project in excess of the awarded amount during the period of the grant or in future years.

What can we do to improve our chances of receiving an award? 

There are many factors that are considered when projects are selected to receive STEAP awards.  Some factors that could improve the chance of receiving an award:

  • The project addresses immediate concerns regarding community and environmental safety;
  • The project has a positive impact on the overall community;
  • STEAP funded project work could begin promptly and all grant funds could be expended within a relatively short amount of time;
  • Town funding has been secured/approved and will be used to pay for a portion of the project;
  • Town funds were used to pay for the planning or design portion of the project, or a previous phase of the project;
  • The town was able to secure funding through other sources (private or other) to contribute to the overall cost of the project;
  •  The proposed project cannot be funded by other state grant programs. 

If we receive notice that our town has been awarded a STEAP Grant, can we start work immediately?

No!  Please do not proceed with any anticipated STEAP-funded project work until you are fully aware of any contractual terms required by the administering state agency.  Shortly after the award is announced, you will receive a letter from the Office of Policy and Management confirming the announcement of the award.  The letter will contain instructions on how to officially confirm your intent to accept the award, and the letter will also provide you with the name of the State Agency assigned to administer your award.  You will be provided with contact information and you must contact the assigned agency prior to proceeding with any anticipated STEAP-funded project work.  STEAP-funded project costs incurred prior to full contract execution between the town and the administering agency might not be covered.  It is important that you understand all terms and conditions of your contract with the administering agency to ensure that your project costs are covered.

What criteria is used to determine which state agency will administer a grant?

The scope and technical nature of projects is used to determine which state agency will be most appropriate to administer the grant.

Why do the contract requirements for various STEAP projects vary so much from agency to agency?

Generally, the more technical the project (e.g.: requires special permitting through DEEP, DOT, DPH), the more involved the contractual process and associated obligations will be.  It is important to communicate with the administering agency prior to starting any STEAP funded project work to ensure the work will be eligible for STEAP funds. 

If we receive a STEAP grant, how long will we have to complete our project? 

The duration of the contract should be discussed with the agency that is administering your grant.  The timeline for project completion will be addressed in the final contract.  Generally, the term of most STEAP grants runs from one year to three years maximum.

What if our STEAP Grant project cannot be completed by the end date of the grant/contract period?   

You should contact the agency that administers your grant to discuss applying for an extension.  You will need to provide reasonable justification for the need for the extension, and additional paperwork may be required.  Towns are encouraged to make extension requests no later than 60 days prior to the grant’s original end date.

Can we combine funds from separate, previous STEAP grants that have accumulated over the years? 

STEAP Grants are intended to be used to help fund relatively short-term projects that will commence shortly after the award is made and a fully executed contract is in place between the grantee and the administering agency.  Towns should not allow STEAP funds to sit idle with the intent of allowing the funds from multiple awards to accumulate, as the purpose of these awards is to offer funding support for more immediate needs.  STEAP funds can be used to fund, or partially fund, one portion or phase of a long term project, but work should commence once a contract with the administering agency has been executed.

Can we request that STEAP funds be reallocated to a project other than the one for which the grant was awarded? 

Requests for reallocation will be considered but not guaranteed. When a project is selected to receive a STEAP Grant Award, one very important component in the decision making process is the type of project being applied for.  If the request for reallocation is a distinct departure from the original scope of the submitted project, the original intent for which the award was granted is compromised.  Requests for reallocation of grant funds will only be considered when the municipality can show compelling evidence or an urgent need to reallocate the funds to another capital project.

What about changes in scope to our original project as outlined in the application?

Any changes in project scope should be brought to the attention of the contact person at the agency that is administering your grant.  Drastic scope changes that are a vast departure from the original project scope are discouraged, but will be considered in cases of justifiable emergencies.  In such cases, towns should expect to file a new application and will be asked to return any unexpended funds to OPM before the new application is considered.  Small and reasonable changes in scope will be considered, and in most cases, approved.





Content Last Modified on 4/13/2015 5:10:57 PM