Local governments strengthen their local historic
preservation efforts by achieving Certified Local
Government (CLG) status from the National Park
Service (NPS). NPS and State governments, through
their State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs),
provide valuable technical assistance and small
matching grants to hundreds of diverse communities
whose local governments are endeavoring to keep for
future generations what is significant from their
community's past. In turn, NPS and States gain the
benefit of local government partnership in the
national historic preservation program. Another
incentive for participating in the CLG program is
the pool of matching grant funds SHPOs set aside to
fund CLG historic preservation sub-grant
projects--at least 10% of the State's annual
Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grant allocation.
Grant funds are distributed through the HPF grant
program, administered by NPS and SHPOs.
communities in Alabama.
Click here for CLG
Jointly administered by NPS in partnership with
SHPOs, the CLG Program is a model and cost-effective
local, State, and federal partnership that promotes
historic preservation at the grassroots level across
the nation. Working closely with such national
organizations as the National Association of
Preservation Commissions, the CLG program seeks:
1) to develop and maintain local historic
preservation programs that will influence the zoning
and permitting decisions critical to preserving
historic properties, and
2) to ensure the broadest possible participation of
local governments in the national historic
preservation program while maintaining preservation
standards established by the Secretary of the
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Benefits of Being a CLG?
The benefits to local governments from participating
in the CLG program are numerous. While CLG grants
generally represent a relatively small amount of
funds, they have often been used as seed money to
attract funding from local government or other
sources. Also, in many cases, the products generated
by CLG grants have provided credibility to a
fledgling local historic preservation program.
Beyond being just a source of funds, the CLG program
has helped institutionalize historic preservation
and give it legitimacy as a function of local
government. Since the local government staff working
in the Program are often in the local planning
office, the CLG program has helped forge critical
connections between historic preservation and land
use planning. Similarly, the CLG program has led to
increased cooperation between local preservationists
and the State Historic Preservation Office and
resulted in a strengthened statewide preservation
Where does funding for CLG grants come from?
Funding for grants to Certified Local Governments
comes from the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), a
Federal grants program appropriated by the U.S.
Congress and administered by the National Park
Service (NPS), which provides financial support to
State Preservation Offices (SHPOs). Under the
provisions of the National Historic Preservation
Act, as amended, SHPOs are required to award at
least 10% of their annual HPF monies to CLGs in
their State. (Some States have additional State
funds for CLGs.)
What types of projects are eligible for CLG funding?
HPF grants to Certified Local Governments have
funded a wide variety of local historic preservation
projects. CLG project types that have been funded
include the following:
"architectural, historical, archeological surveys,
and oral histories
"preparation of nominations to the National Register
of Historic Places
"research and development of historic context
"staff work for historic preservation commissions,
including designation of properties under local
"writing or amending preservation ordinances
"preparation of preservation plans
"publication information and education activities
"publication of historic sites inventories
"development of publication of walking/driving tours
"development of slide/tape shows, videotapes
"training for commission members and staff
"development of architectural drawings and
"preparation of facade studies or condition
"rehabilitation or restoration of properties
individually listed in the National Register of
Historic Places or contributing to a National
Register historic district
What other criteria govern whether a local historic
preservation project is eligible for funding?
There are two other factors: all CLG grants must
result in a completed, tangible product and/or
measurable result; and all must be carried out in
accordance with the applicable Secretary of the
Interior's Standards for Archeology and Historic
Preservation (a copy may be obtained from the SHPO).
How much money is there in a CLG grant?
The amount of money in a CLG grant must be large
enough to have tangible results. Otherwise, there
are no specific Federal requirements regarding the
amount of money SHPOs make available in individual
grants to CLGs. Consequently, the dollar amount of
the grant depends primarily on the funding policy
set by each SHPO. Some States try to award a grant
to each CLG in the State every year. In general, the
dollar amount of grants in these States tend to be
small, particularly if there are numerous CLGs. On
the other hand, other States award relatively few
but larger grants.
Do CLG grants require a financial contribution from
In most states, CLG grants are matching grants, i.e.
recipients must provide a certain amount of cash or
in-kind services to be used in carrying out the
grant project. Each SHPO determines how much, if
any, match is to be required. In most States, a
50/50, or "dollar-for-dollar" match is required.
This means that for every dollar received the
recipient must provide a matching dollar in
services, cash, or volunteer hours, as specified by
How do SHPOs notify CLGs of the availability of CLG
SHPOs makes an annual mailing to each CLG, and each
local government whose application for certification
is pending, notifying them of the availability of
CLG grant funds. Potential CLG applicants are
informed of the total amount of funds available.
State priorities for funding, criteria to be used in
selecting proposals to be funded (see below), a
deadline for submitting requests, and a written
description of what must be included in applications
for CLG grants.
What are the application procedures?
Although application procedures and periods vary
from State to State, in general, the SHPO solicits
grant proposals from its CLGs in the Fall.
Applicants then submit a Grant Application (or
Subgrant or Project Proposal), which describes the
project and why it is needed, how the project is to
be carried out and what its goals are, who will be
doing the proposed work and their professional
qualifications, a proposed budget and project
schedule, and the specific products to be generated
by the project. Applications are generally due at
the end of the calendar year. Contact your SHPO and
the specific deadlines in your State. (Applicants
should also determine what local procedures and
requirements, if any, must be satisfied prior to
submitting a CLG grant application.)
Who decides which applications are funded?
Each SHPO sets its own funding priorities. In some
States, greater weight may be given to one type of a
project over another. Among the factors typically
used to rate grant proposals are compatibility with
the broad goals of the SHPO, urgency of the project,
significance of the historic properties, geographic
distribution of grant funds, education and public
awareness potential, and the administrative and
financial management capability of the applicant.
On what grounds may SHPOs decline to fund an
individual CLG grant request?
CLG grants are competitive. While all CLGs are
entitled to submit proposals, not all may get
funding. SHPOs may decline to fund a proposal that
does not adequately address the State's funding
priorities, meet its selection criteria, have access
to necessary professionals, or be achievable within
the time period allowed or the budget proposed.
However, States must base grant award decisions on
the selection criteria included in the application
instructions and notice of grant availability.
Additionally, SHPOs may choose not to fund a
proposal if they have reason to believe that the
applicant does not have the necessary experience or
financial resources to carry out the project or has
not performed satisfactorily on a previous CLG
When are proposals selected?
While periods vary, successful applicants usually
receive notification in the Spring that their
proposal will be funded. In some States, the State
Historical Commission must approve recommendations
about which proposals should receive funding by the
professional staff of the SHPO. An agreement between
the SHPO and the CLG stipulating the terms of the
grant is generally signed in the Spring or Summer.
When can work begin?
Applicants for CLG funds must wait until the grant
agreement between the SHPO and the CLG's chief
elected local official, or his or her legal
representative, is signed before starting work on
any project. Unless specifically authorized in
writing by the SHPO, costs incurred prior to
execution of the written agreement will not be paid.
How long does the grant last?
The schedule for completing the project will be
outlined in the grant agreement. Most CLG grant
projects are completed within 9 to 18 months.
Projects undertaken with CLG grant funds must be
completed in no more than two years from October 1,
the start of the Federal fiscal year of the year the
funds are appropriated by Congress. Since the grant
agreement usually is not signed until the Spring
after the start of the Federal fiscal year
(depending upon when Congress makes its
appropriation), there is usually less than two years
in which to complete the work. Multi-year projects
require applying for separate grants in successive
years and performing the work in phases.
Can the time be extended?
If circumstances outside of the control of the CLG
make the terms of the grant agreement unachievable,
the agreement may be modified or cancelled by mutual
agreement between the SHPO and the CLG. For example,
if inclement weather interferes with field survey
and prevents completion of the work specified in the
grant agreement within the time stipulated, a
limited time extension may be granted or the scope
of work and budget amended. However, extensions may
not stretch the grant period beyond the two-year
limit on the expenditure of HPF monies. (See
When are the grant funds actually transferred to the
Most CLG grants are reimbursable grants. CLGs must
first pay the project costs and then submit a
request to the SHPO for reimbursement. Consequently,
the CLG must have enough money "up-front" to be able
to carry the project (including paying contractors)
until it gets reimbursed. CLGs should learn the
requirements and timing of the State's reimbursement
procedures before the project begins.
Does the CLG have to complete the project before
Not always, depending on the type of project funded,
many SHPOs allow CLGs to submit reimbursement claims
on an interim "milestone achieved" basis.
Why is matching share required?
In establishing a partnership between Federal,
State, and local governments, the National Historic
Preservation Act requires that HPF grants be
matching grants. Underlying this requirement is the
need for each of the partners to share the costs of
historic preservation. Matching grants ensure that
there is strong State and local commitment to
projects and result in more historic preservation
work being performed than if Federal funds alone
How can the grant be matched?
Grants can be matched in two ways: in cash or
through in-kind services (often called "soft match")
necessary to achieve the required product.
Generally, CLGs can combine these two types of match
to meet the total amount required. Match
requirements, however, vary by State.
Can the time spent by CLG staff on the project be
counted as match?
Yes. In most States, work on the project performed
by the staff of the local government is considered
part of the overall cost of the project and can be
counted as part of the CLG's match. Copies of time
sheets and payroll printouts are required as
documentation of employee time devoted to the
project. CLGs must include staff time in the project
budget, like any other cost, if they plan to claim
it as match.
Can the services of volunteers be counted as in-kind
Yes. Many States allow services provided by
volunteers, both professional and nonprofessional,
to be counted as match by CLGs. The work performed
by volunteers must be a necessary part of achieving
the products expected from the project and cannot be
more than half its total cost.
When used as match, how are volunteer services
In order to claim volunteer services as in-kind
match, CLGs must first establish the rate of pay for
the type of work performed by the volunteers. Often
SHPO pay scales establish the maximum rate allowed
for professionals. If a volunteer performs services
outside his or her profession, the volunteer time
must be valued at the Federal minimum wage rate (for
example, an archeologist stuffing envelopes would be
valued at minimum wage rate). In addition, as
evidence that volunteers contributed to the project,
time records documenting each volunteer's time must
be submitted to the State.
If a CLG chooses not to count volunteer services as
match, does it still have to provide time records?
No. In most States, documentation of volunteer time
spent on a project is only required when the CLG
wishes this contribution to count as part of its
What other types of in-kind services can be counted
Most States allow CLGs to claim as match in-kind
services such as supplies (i.e., paper or film),
developing photographs, photocopying, office rent,
clerical support, or certain administrative costs
when the local government or a third party donates
these to the project. When a CLG chooses to count
these supplies or services as match, documentation
is required. If grant funds could have been used to
pay for a particular item had it not been donated,
then the donation will usually be allowable as a
matching share contribution.
What sort of reports must be turned in?
Progress reports are usually required on an interim
basis. These reports must include a description of
what has actually been accomplished and spent to
date. SHPOs set the format for these reports and
require preliminary products, as appropriate. A
final project report is also required upon
completion of the grant.
What sort of procedures must be followed when a
local government uses CLG grant funds to pay for
consultants or contractors?
Hiring consultants or contractors to perform part of
the project must be done in accordance with
acceptable State-established competitive procurement
procedures compatible with Federal requirements (and
with whatever local procedures apply). Frequently,
existing State and local government procedures that
meet these requirements are used. A certain number
of qualified firms or individuals must be contacted
to ensure a fair, open, and competitive selection
process. Generally, at least three price quotations
or bids have to be obtained and the process must be
documented. Architects, historians, or other
professionals must meet qualification standards set
by NPS. Selection can be based on experience,
qualifications and cost, rather than cost alone. In
many States, the SHPO requires that the CLG consult
with it before consultants or contractors are
Can CLG grant funds be used to buy supplies or
Yes. Local, State, and Federal regulations require
price comparisons and a competitive selection
process in purchasing equipment, negotiating a
lease, or procuring nonprofessional services.
Generally, State and local procurement regulations
apply. Some SHPOs require grantees to request prior
approval for purchases greater than $500 in value.
How long must records on grant expenditures be kept?
The grant agreement usually specifies records
requirements. Documentation relating to the fiscal
aspect of any grant project usually must be kept for
a minimum of three years after the date of receipt
of the last payment (i.e. reimbursement under a CLG
grant), or until an audit for the grant period is
Where can I find additional information on CLG
Your SHPO can answer any questions you might have.
Many SHPOs have a grants manual describing the
procedures used in that state for applying for and
administering CLG grants (including any additional
state requirements beyond those described here).
here for a
list of contacts in Alabama
communities participating in the CLG program.
information, contact Mary Shell, Preservation
Planner, at 334-230.2691