Proposition 1 Questions and Answers
The following questions have been submitted for the current Proposition 1 Grant Program solicitation cycle. More questions and answers will be included as they are received.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Page 3 of Attachment 8 – Financial Management Systems Questionnaire and Cost Allocation Plan states that “Administrative costs are those that have been incurred for common or joint objectives and cannot be readily identified with a particular final cost objective. Note: Eligible administrative costs must be directly related to the project and may not exceed five (5) percent of the project implementation cost. For additional information on calculating administrative costs, please refer to the Grant Guidelines, page 8.” Are administrative costs the same thing as indirect costs, which are defined on page 9 of the Grant Guidelines? And are these costs capped at 5% or 20%?
A: Attachment 8 erroneously states the definition and administrative rate from last year’s grant cycle. The information contained on page 9 of the 2016-17 Grant Guidelines is correct, and applies to page 3 of Attachment 8 – Financial Management Systems Questionnaire and Cost Allocation Plan. The correct definition and rate are as follows:
- Indirect costs must be directly related to the project and the rate will be calculated up to twenty (20) percent of the project implementation cost. To determine the amount of eligible indirect costs, the applicant must first determine the cost of implementing the project, not including any indirect costs. Once the project implementation cost has been determined, the applicant may calculate indirect costs and include them in the total grant request up to the allowable twenty percent cap. Subcontractors and equipment line items may not be used in calculation of indirect costs. Indirect costs must be reasonable, allocable, and applicable and may include administrative support (e.g., personnel time for accounting, legal, executive, IT, or other staff who support the implementation of the proposed project but who are not directly billing their time to the project), and office-related expenses (e.g., , insurance, rent, utilities, printing/copying equipment, computer equipment, and janitorial expenses) . These costs are subject to audit and must be documented by the grantee. Indirect expenses may not be added into the hourly rate for personnel billing directly to the grant. Personnel rates may only include salary and wages, fringe benefits, and payroll taxes.
Q: Are we allowed to count cost share that will be spent after the project is implemented, e.g., money spent on maintaining and monitoring the project?
A: A grantee’s cost share (in-kind or cash) must be spent down before the end of the funding term of the grant agreement (the period of time during which the grantee will be receiving funding from the Conservancy). When the Conservancy receives the final report to close out payments on the grant, the grantee’s cost share should be spent down entirely. If not, the grantee is left open to negative audit findings. For that reason, at the proposal evaluation stage, the Conservancy will not count cost share that extends beyond the duration of the project’s funding term.
Q: Are we allowed to spend cost share prior to the execution of a grant agreement?
A: Grantees may use cost share dollars in advance of executing the grant agreement. The Conservancy will need to ensure that the grant agreement accounts for that expenditure. Applicants should bear in mind that the Delta Conservancy’s Grant Guidelines (p. 18-19) specify that only cost share commitments made explicitly for the project may count toward the cost percentage for grant proposal and ranking purposes. Applicants stating that they have a cost share component must have commitment letters from cost share partners at the time the full proposal is submitted and include letters of commitment as part of the proposal requirements.
Q: Recording a land tenure agreement can add additional expenses to the project. Can these costs be included in the planning portion of the budget?
A: Yes, costs for recording the land tenure agreement can be included in the budget. For the full proposal, the overall budget request made in the concept proposal cannot be increased, but funding can be moved around within the existing request or cost share can be increased to accommodate this expense.
Q: How is a cash match different from in-kind match? What is an example of cash match?
A: Cash match is funding that will be used to advance the project. In-kind cost share is the donation of time, equipment, and materials used to advance the project. Cash match can be other grant funding that the project team has or money that one of the partners is contributing toward the project. Our application awards up to 5 points for federal, local or private cost share and up to 3 points for leveraging State funds. Within each of these categories, in-kind must be matched with cash at a one-to-one ratio; any unmatched in-kind will not be factored into the allocation of points.
Q: The Full Proposal Application Form has the instructions embedded in each question (in italics). Do these instructions need to remain in the final proposal? Do they count toward the 50-page limit?
A: Yes, these instructions need to remain in the final proposal. Yes, that text does count toward the 50-page limit. Pease do not remove any of the text in the full application form as our reviewers need to refer to it as a reference when evaluating proposals.
Q: When do you anticipate that grant agreements will be executed for funds awarded during this grant cycle?
A: Grants agreements will likely be executed within 6 to 8 months after funds are awarded, meaning that they will likely be executed between October-December of 2017. Conditional approvals occur when an applicant is awarded funding but required to meet certain conditions prior to the execution of a grant agreement; this may prolong the process of negotiating and executing a grant agreement. The Delta Conservancy may be able to fast-track the negotiation and execution of grant agreements as warranted given a project’s implementation timeframe and other considerations.
Q: If I am submitting an application on behalf of another entity, do I need to be named as a “delegated authority” in the applicant’s authorization or resolution to apply?
A: If someone other than an officer of the applicant’s organization is submitting an application to the Delta Conservancy’s grant program, the applying organization must delegate authority to that person. An authorization or resolution to apply must be submitted for the applying organization, and the applying organization will be the signatory on the grant.
Q: Can I use the support letters that I submitted with the concept proposal, or do I need to submit new ones?
A:You are free to use the letters submitted with the concept proposal, although if they are old (over a year), getting fresh letters is recommended.
Q: Do I need to include letters of support from all of the agencies and partners with whom I am coordinating?
A: Supplying letters from all coordinating entities is not required, but, where possible, letters of support are recommended. Note that a resolution of support is required from the county in which the project is located, as is proof of consultation with the California Conservation Corps, and the Delta Protection Commission. Further, proof of cost share commitment is required for all cash and in-kind cost share.
Q: How do I prove that I have consulted with the Delta Protection Commission?
A: The Delta Conservancy recommends reaching out to the Delta Protection Commission’s Executive Director, Erik Vink, via email. Vink will provide proof of consultation.
Q: Do I need to complete the CEQA/NEPA compliance form referenced on page 32 or the Grant Guidelines?
A: The CEQA/NEPA compliance form has been integrated into the Full Application Form and Instructions, Section 7: Environmental Compliance. The applicant must explain the status of CEQA/NEPA in this section of the Full Application Form.
Q: My project is set to break ground in the summer of 2018. Should I apply to this grant cycle?
A: Yes. Given the time it takes to draft and execute a grant agreement, the only way to ensure that you have money available for the summer of 2018 is to apply to this, the 2016-2017, grant cycle.
Q: What is the timeframe for completing a project under this grant program?
A: All approved projects are expected to spend down their approved funding within three years of the execution of the grant agreement. The project implementation period should not exceed three years.
Q: Should proposals be written to address the 3-year funding term, or the 15-year lifespan of the project?
A: Proposals should address both. Proposals must clearly explain the activities for which they are seeking funding, including the timeframe and work products associated with those activities. They must also address how the project will be monitored, managed, and maintained for the required 15-year minimum project life.
Q: Can Prop. 1 grant funds be used to fund adaptive management and long term monitoring and maintenance?
A: Grant funds must be spent within the 3-year funding term of the grant agreement. Any activities related to adaptive management or long term monitoring and maintenance that occur within the 3-year funding term can be paid for using grant funds. Unfortunately, grant funds cannot be used to fund long-term monitoring, maintenance and management beyond the 3-year funding term.
Q: Does the Conservancy require 15 years of funded long term management at a project site? Have any of your applicants expressed concern about their ability to meet this requirement?
A: The Conservancy requires applicants to tell us about their plans for long term maintenance and monitoring of a project, and to put those plans into the context of adaptive management. We expect grantees to make an institutional commitment to maintaining the project to ensure that the public investment in ecosystem benefits endures for the 15 years required by the State General Obligation Bond Law (section 16727(a)). Fifteen years after your project is funded, the project should still be viable, providing ecosystem benefits akin to those proposed when it was funded. We do not require applicants to document funding for long term management. The Delta Stewardship Council does require that covered actions develop an adaptive management plan that indicates that there is sufficient funding to implement the plan. For more information about covered actions, please visit the Delta Stewardship Council’s website: http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/covered-actions.
Some applicants have expressed concern about the 15-year project maintenance requirement. All of the implementation projects that were funded last year are expected to maintain their projects for 15 years, so we have five examples of applicants who’ve committed to maintain their projects for 15 years. More information can be found here.
Q: It is difficult to line up funding to implement adaptive management. How can I bolster this component of my project?
A: Adaptive management should be designed fit the scope of the project. Not all projects will require large investments in adaptive management. Some will, however. In these cases, we recommend collaborating with agencies and other partners to consolidate long term monitoring and management costs.
Q: Can money be used for training staff to implement a monitoring program?
A: Yes, if the costs are reasonable and if specialized training is necessary for delivery of the proposed project.
Q: Is consultation with the California Conservation Corps (CCC) required for planning projects that have an on-the-ground component?
A: No. Projects that are seeking planning funds only do not need to consult with the CCC.
Q: The Grant Guidelines ask applicants to “List individuals and organizations who will be participating in the project, cooperating (providing guidance, etc.), and supporting the project (not actively engaged, but aware of the project and supportive).” Can you please clarify the difference between “participating” and “cooperating”?
A: Participating individuals and organizations are those that are actively doing work on the proposed project. Participating partners are those that will be billing time directly to the Conservancy grant or to a source of funds being used for cost share. Cooperating individuals and organizations are those that are consulted for advice or guidance, or have given permission to use their land or other non-personnel resources. Cooperating partners would not have any expenses to bill to the project, but are a critical resource for those who are actively implementing the project.