CFA Workshop Q&A 2013
Table of Contents
Q3. Do you apply for the Child and Adult Day Care Food Program (CACFP) through the CFA?
A3. No. The CFA is a survey tool used by the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to see if you may be eligible to participate. After completing the questionnaire, someone from CACFP will contact you to provide you with more information about participating with CACFP and how to apply.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE – Chris Grant
Q4: Why is the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) not part of CFA?
A4: CACFP is not part of CFA because it is an entitlement program, not a competitive grant program. The funding is not part of the CFA.
Q1. For new hire training, are only employers eligible or can an agency apply?
A1. Per the RFP, eligible applicants for the New Hire Training Program are private sector for-profit businesses (including LLPs and LLCs) and private sector not-for-profit businesses. If “agency” means a public sector entity, they would not be eligible. Also, an agent/third party applicant may not apply on behalf of another organization.
Q2. Can classroom training be done on the jobsite, if an instructor is brought in –i.e., training on a new machine?
A2. Yes. Per the RFP, allowable costs include “the costs of outside vendors or in-house trainers to provide on-site or off-site classroom training.”
Q3. Is there a Long Term Rate for the NYS NEG program?
A3. The definition of Long Term Unemployed is the same for the NYS National Emergency Grant (NEG) OJT program and the CFA New Hire and Unemployed Worker Training Programs – individuals who have been unemployed for 20 weeks or more.
Q4. The DOL workforce training, is there a more elaborate definition of short term training?
A4. Per the RFP, contracts will be awarded for a period of up to one year. Applicants must include only those training needs that can be reasonably accomplished within a one-year time period.
Q5. Who determines who certified training providers are?
A5. The training providers listed on the New York State Eligible Training Provider List (found at https://applications.labor.ny.gov/ETPL/ ) have applied to and been approved for listing by the local workforce investment board.
Q6. If employers write a letter of support, are they guaranteeing jobs or just interviews?
A6. Per the RFP, proposals must demonstrate the need for training by providing written commitments from the hiring business or businesses to interview candidates who complete the training.
Q. It sounded like each agency, if you actually get a grant the timeline for how long your contract will be varies a little. How long will the contracts be?
A. Local Waterfront Revitalization contract length is up to 3 years for the initial contract term, depending upon your actual project, with the possibility of two no cost time extensions of one year each, provided satisfactory progress is being made. Details are indicated under contract period in the 2013 Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Request for Applications (2013 EPF LWRP RFA), posted at http://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/rfa-13-lwrp-10/index.html
Q. LWRP matched 50/50. What are the eligible sources of the match?
A. Department of State: Eligible match can consist of direct salary costs, donated professional services, valued at a reasonable rate appropriate to the profession in the project location, volunteer services that significantly contribute to the completion of project tasks, land acquisition for construction projects. You can’t use certain funding sources, such as Federal sources , or other Environmental Protection Fund awards,and can’t use elected official’s salaries. Details on eligible costs are indicated in the 2013 Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Request for Applications (2013 EPF LWRP RFA), posted at http://www.dos.ny.gov/funding/rfa-13-lwrp-10/index.html
Q: How is the 65,000 MHI determined for the NYS DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant Determined? By Town, County, zip code, sewer district?
A: Cities and Villages should use municipal wide 2010 data.
Towns and Counties should use the 2010 Census data for the area that is being served. In cases where the service area has not been established, provide an estimate for the envisioned service area. The DEC website (http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/81196.html) has directions to help applicants navigate to their census data.
Q: Is the match requirement for the NYS DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant state or non- federal match?
A: The New York State DEC/EFC Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant has a 20 percent local match requirement. State or federal grants may not be used for local match. Match can include cash and/or in-kind services.
Q: Do municipalities need to identify the engineer up front?
A: No, an engineer does not have to be selected during the application process. However, once an award is announced, a grant recipient is expected to be able to complete the required paperwork and sign a contract in a timely fashion. The process of developing the RFP should begin soon after the grant is awarded, including the process of selecting an engineering firm.
Q: Are schools eligible to apply?
A: Yes, GIGP has funded projects at secondary schools, colleges and universities, both private and public.
Q: If you lease property, can you apply for GIGP funds?
A: Yes, however you must demonstrate that you have the legal right to operate and maintain the project for the useful life defined in the Grant Agreement. It can range from 10 to 30 years, depending on the green practices implemented.
Q: Would portable bridges used to prevent stream damage during logging jobs be eligible?
Q: What are the acceptable sources for a match for the required 10% match in the GIGP?
A: Any local, state, private, non-federal funding, in-kind goods, and in-kind services can also be used towards the local match. Before EFC will enter into Grant Agreement, the recipient must demonstrate that they have sufficient financing in place to complete the project.
Q: Does GIGP fund culverts?
A: Culverts are not a green infrastructure practice per se. However, if a culvert was a piece of a larger green infrastructure project it might be an eligible component. A project that simply proposes a culvert would not be eligible.
Q: Is porous asphalt more expensive than regular asphalt or about the same?
A: The cost will vary by region and by job, based on the economies of scale.
Q: Does porous pavement hold up in the winter?
A: Yes, when designed, installed, and maintained properly, porous pavement can outperform traditional pavement in the winter.
Q: Do we have to comply with Minority & Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) requirements?
A: Yes, all GIGP funding must comply with Article 15A of NYS Law. MWBE Program guidance can be found here. Each recipient is required to complete and submit a MWBE work plan before EFC can prepare a Grant Agreement. The work plan and MWBE Program documents and forms are available in the MWBE–EEO section of the EFC Resource Library which is available here (http://www.efc.ny.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=465).
Q: Can GIGP funds be used for mitigation projects?
A: No. The program is provides funding for the construction and restoration of wetlands.
Q: Is there any minimum or maximum grant award?
Q: For GIGP funding – if the project has already been constructed can I still apply?
A: Yes, however EFC strongly encourages applicants to wait to begin construction until after grant awards have been made. Projects are required to comply with all contracting and technical approvals, and work completed before this has occurred may not comply with grant requirements and that could jeopardize funding eligibility.
Q: Can multiple entities apply?
A: Yes, a project may apply with a joint application. However, the authorized representatives executing the Grant Agreement with EFC must be able to make all the representations and covenants in the Grant Agreement. A sample of the GIGP Grant Agreement can be found on EFC’s website (www.efc.by.gov/gigp).
Q: Is there any specific funding for asbestos removal from buildings?
A: No, not from DEC or EFC, I’m not aware of any funding strictly for asbestos abatement.
Q2. Do you need a white paper for all projects or just ESD?
A2. It is only required for certain ESD programs but would be appreciated for other programs.
Q3. Is it ok if a project rolls out in stages that would carry it past the grant year?
A3. Yes. But please think about your project stages carefully – for large, multi-phase projects, such as major developments, it might be most appropriate to apply for funding for only one stage.
Q5. Is there a minimum or maximum award?
A5. No, the award is based on the opportunity.
Q6. Only 16 businesses in Tompkins County are MWBE certified, is there assistance to get more businesses certified?
A6. Yes, call your regional ESD office (http://www.esd.ny.gov/regionaloverviews.html).
Q8. If a grant goes to a MWBE does 20% of funding need to go to another MWBE?
Q: Some questions do not apply to the track that we are applying for do we need to answer them?
A: All questions should be answered for both funding tracks--- if it doesn’t apply to your project simply answer “NA”.
Q: Is there a match required for the Regional Tourism Marketing Competition track?
A: There is no match required for the Regional Tourism Marketing Track--- but there is a requirement to show the financial capacity to start/run the program since it is a reimbursement based grant.
Q: Would direct payments to personnel, such as payments to independent contractors and/or consultants be allowable?
A: In the Market NY guidelines, under eligible expenses it states that: administrative costs are eligible for up to maximum of 10% of the total cost of the project as approved by ESD. Those costs would pertain to personnel on your staff. In regards to consultants--- that would be eligible if the consultants are doing work that is considered an eligible cost (marketing, PR, ad buying, etc.).
Q; What can the duration of these marketing projects be?
A: The typical project timeline for a Market NY grant is about 12 months and occasionally a few projects request a couple of month extension depending on when the grants are awarded/executed.
Q: What is the Maximum grant amount per project?
A: There is no max grant amount for Market NY (please keep in mind that the total grant pool is $10 million)
Q: Where can we obtain information with regard to the regional council’s development and implementation of a five-year strategic plan that sets out a comprehensive vision for economic development and specific strategies to implement that vision.
A: Information about the regional councils and their five-year strategic plans can be found here: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/
Q1. In regards to the Market NY Program, would the project have to be region wide to be competitive?
In our case, that would include seven counties?
A1. Applicants are encouraged to ensure that their projects align with the priorities of the REDC that cover the region the project is based.
Q2. If a private entity is looking to expand and is buying another piece of property to expand business,
would they have to go through a public hearing?
Q1 What is the Ratio Analysis for MWB’s?
A1. Depends of the project – approximately 20 %- some may be more, some may be less.
Q2 What is Labor Peace Agreement?
A2. It is a labor agreement with hotels/motels regarding union represented employees.
Q4. Do any of the Regional Groups “cross work” with any Federal Groups – such as the U.S. Dept of Agriculture or the Dept of Health with $1 billon of medical contributing funds?
A4. Yes, you can use Federal funding as leverage.
Q5. ESD - Is the Excelsior Jobs Program included with the CFA?
A5. Yes, the Excelsior Jobs Program is an open-enrollment within the CFA. You must meet the program eligibility criteria in order to apply.
Q6. Group - Can you describe the reimbursement nature of the construction financials? Is money pledged to the interim financing? Is all work “out of pocket” or can it be financed?
A6. Yes, depending on the nature of the project, it might be reasonable to reimburse during the course of the project. The entire project does not have to be cash out of pocket. As long as the awarded has 10% cash equity, other funding can be financed.
Q1: Can the offer letter come from multiple funding sources?
A1: Yes. Offer will be based upon average annual salary and previous benchmarks.
Q2: For ESD projects, is the money used for Capital Investments?
A2: Yes. These funds are for capital projects only, such as a building renovation or construction, furniture fixture and equipment, and infrastructure. Be advised you spend your money first, and then get credit. You are making an Investment.
Q3: Is there money available to launch a new project or business?
A3: The money is not for operating purposes, working capital, or hiring employees. Do not spend money before you have the award letter because it will not be reimbursed. Businesses and organizations should typically have a three-year operating history, but some new businesses have funded if they are making a capital investment.
Q6: What is 50% of the Fed R & D?
A6: Firms in the Excelsior Jobs Program may qualify for four, fully refundable tax credits. Businesses claim the credits over a 10 year period. The Excelsior Research and Development Tax Credit is one of the components that may be offered. The R&D credit is 50 percent of the Federal Research and Development credit that a firm received up to three percent of research expenditures in NYS.
The other components that a firm may be offered are:
The Excelsior Jobs Tax Credit: A credit of 6.85 percent of wages per new job to cover a portion of the associated payroll cost.
The Excelsior Investment Tax Credit: Valued at two percent of qualified investments.
The Excelsior Real Property Tax Credit: Available to firms locating in certain distressed areas and to firms in targeted industries that meet higher employment and investment thresholds (i.e. qualify as a Regionally Significant Project).
Q7: Is 20% the average award?
A7: Depends of the project – approximately 20 %- some may be more, some may be less.
Q10: What is the definition of a Hot Spot? Does Griffiss Air Force Base or SU have an incubator/ hot spot?
A10: Hot spot designations are for those entities that meet the requirements of the CFA. This designation is meant to be given to those incubation entities that are best of breed in their respective regions, both organizationally and have the best service delivery and outcomes. There will be only 5 designations made this year and 5 more next year. (1 per region) In order to qualify for a hot spot designation you must have a strong partnership with a Higher educational institution or a independent research lab as well as meet the other requirements in the CFA. SUs incubator or one that it is affiliated with can qualify to be designated as an innovation hotspot and knowing a little about the Griffiss Institutes works over the years it could also qualify since they are tightly coupled with higher Education through its numerous cyber based universities programs. However, the GI it must also demonstrate it has had been involved in incubation related services and mentoring for a minimum 3 years. So to answer the question both could be designated as innovation hotspots depending how the application is written and that they are in two different Economic Development regions.
Q13: Are the Empire State Development Programs rolling programs?
A13: Excelsior is an open admissions. [SS2]
Q1. Can expenditures, etc. occur before the award? In the past we have raised project funds not expended yet, worked with an architect, etc. How do we present this in a CFA?
A1. We are being held to projects not started. There are problems with project preparatory expenditures. We will need to discuss this further. Funds raised but not expended can be included in budgets; preparation expenses can also be reasonable expenditures prior to an award, but should not be included in CFA budgets.
Q2. Excelsior Tax Credit; any way to transfer?
A2. No, Excelsior Jobs Program credits are not transferable but are company and project specific.
[SS1]Not sure what this question means.
[SS2]Not sure what funds this means. ESD grant funds should be applied for via the CFA. If you have a job creation/retention project cannot fit the CFA timeframe for business reasons, please reach out to the Regional Office.
Q1. Where can we get more information about HCR’s program? If we have questions, who should we contact?
A1. Please send an email to HCR_CFA@nyshcr.org and your question will be directed to the appropriate program staff. Additional guidance and instructions are available on HCR’s website, here: http://www.nyshcr.org/AboutUs/Offices/CommunityRenewal/FundingOpportunities.htm
Q2. Does NYS Homes & Community Renewal have other funds available for rehabilitating homes?
A2. Yes, however, a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) has not been released yet. Please visit HCR’s website for information related to other housing rehabilitation programs: http://www.nyshcr.org/AboutUs/Offices/CommunityRenewal/
Q3. Can an administrative government building be renovated with HCR’s CFA funds if it is a historic building that needs new windows, heating system, elevators, etc.?
A3. No, HCR cannot fund renovations for buildings used for government administration. However, we could look at projects that involve areas of the building that are designated for at least 51% low-moderate income people, or special projects such as wheelchair accessibility. Services based on income thresholds could be funded pro-rata; i.e., a portion of the cost of the renovated heating system might be covered if it can be shown that the heat is used in part for individuals falling into that low-mod income bracket.
Q4. What kinds of projects does HCR’s CFA grant programs provide funding to?
A4. HCR can fund commercial and residential building rehabilitation, sewer and storm water, public facilities, handicap accessibility improvements, and projects to expand businesses.
Q5. How do I know if my project will be eligible for HCR program funding?
A5. Applicants must answer each of the “Yes or No” Threshold questions posed for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), New York Main Street (NYMS), Rural Area Revitalization Project (RARP) or Urban Initiatives (UI) accurately to proceed with an application. Once an applicant advances and begins the application, standard questions will provide fields for narrative responses to provide information to support the threshold question responses. Each program application requires attachments, and some of the attachments are required to provide formal documentation to support the response to the threshold questions. Applicants that do not accurately fulfill the threshold requirements or provide the required narrative responses and attachments will be considered ineligible and excluded from further review. Please contact HCR with eligibility questions prior to submitting an application: HCR_CFA@nyshcr.org
Q6. How can we find out if we are eligible for NYS CDBG funding?
A6. Eligible applicants are non-entitlement units of general local government (villages, cities, towns or counties), excluding metropolitan cities, urban counties and Indian Tribes that are designated entitlement communities. Non-entitlement areas are defined as cities, towns and villages with populations of less than 50,000, except those designated principal cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, and counties with populations of less than 200,000. The NYS CDBG program does not provide direct financial assistance to businesses. For a list of eligible communities, please visit: http://nysdhcr.gov/Programs/NYS-CDBG/EligibleCommunities.htm
Q7. What are the criteria for infrastructure funding for non-entitlement areas and public water and sewer and storm water projects?
A7. Public water and sewer and storm water projects are eligible CDBG activities. These activities must benefit a predominantly low-and moderate income area, which means that at least 51% of the persons benefitting from the improvements are low- and moderate income individuals. Application for NYS CDBG assistance through the CFA must be made by the Town, Village or City where the improvements are proposed. The application may need income survey or census data to demonstrate that at least 51% of the persons benefitting are low-and moderate income.
Q8. Regarding project funding limits: if a town applies for more than one project, is the maximum dollar amount per project, or per community that is applying?
A8. A community can apply for NYS CDBG assistance up to the maximum amount available per eligible activity. For example, the Town of Upstate has identified the need for a water project in one neighborhood and a separate application for an economic development project. This would require the Town to submit two separate applications, one for public water and one for economic development, the Town could request up to $600,000 for the water project, and up to $750,000 for economic development.
Q9. Under Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) economic development program is there still funding available for micro-enterprises?
A9. No, microenterprises are not covered in the CDBG program included in the CFA.
Q10. Is my project subject to environmental review?
A10. Yes, all projects funded with NYS CDBG funds are subject to environmental review. CDBG funds are federal funds and are subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The project is also subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). Collectively, the NEPA review and SEQRA review is referred to as the Environmental Review Record (ERR) which must be completed and submitted to the Office of Community Renewal (OCR) for approval prior to incurring any project costs. If a project is receiving funds from multiple sources, the ERR must be completed for all sources. An approval for the release of funds must be issued by OCR prior to incurring any non-exempt project costs. Any non-exempt project costs incurred prior to OCR’s approval for release of funds will be ineligible for NYS CDBG reimbursement. A complete description of the environmental review process is available on the OCR website at: http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/NYS-CDBG/GAMChapter2.pdf
Q11. With the NYMS Program, why is the funding cap lower than last year?
A11. The funding cap has been decreased to $200,000 due to the limited amount of funding available, and the statewide demand for the funding.
Q12: I own a downtown mixed-use building, can I apply for a NYMS grant?
A12: Units of local government and organizations incorporated under the NYS Not-for-Profit Corporation Law New York are eligible applicants for NYMS grants. Municipal and not-for-profit recipients of NYMS funds then provide grants to local building owners. NYS Homes and Community Renewal does not contract directly with property owners. Please contact your local government or county planning office to find out if existing NYMS funds are available in your community.
Q13. Can tax credits be used as a match?
A13. The New York Main Street program operates as a reimbursement program. A building renovation project must be completed and paid for before the property owner will receive a reimbursement from HCR. For this reason, tax credits will not work as match for the NYMS program. An applicant may, however, indicate that tax credits are part of the project budget as leveraged funds.
Q14. What is the Municipal Resolution?
A14. The New York Main Street program requires each municipality in which a project is located to approve a resolution supporting the application for the proposed NYMS project. A support letter does not meet this requirement. A copy of the resolution must be attached to the application where requested. The resolution must include the following points:
- Name of the applicant (not-for-profit or charitable organization)
- Program name (New York Main Street)
- Funding agency (NYS Office of Community Renewal (OCR) and/or the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC)
- Reason for support
- Project type
- Be sure the resolution clearly approves and endorses the 2013 application
- The resolution must be on official stationary and should hold the official seal
Please contact HCR_CFA@nyshcr.org for a template resolution.
Q15. We are planning to apply for both New York Main Street and Urban Initiatives, do we need two separate municipal resolutions?
A15. A single resolution is acceptable if the text clearly states both program names and identifies that the resolution is for this year’s funding cycle.
Q16. We have a project that could use New York Main Street Technical Assistance funds and New York Main Street Building Renovation funds. Can we submit an application for both?
A16. No. NYMS Technical Assistance proposals must be for future NYMS projects. Given the two year contract term, it is not feasible to fund a technical assistance project for a building renovation project that does not have an anticipated construction start date.
Q17. Are financial commitment letters required?
A17. Applications demonstrating formally committed funds will score more competitively that those without funds committed.
Q18: Can New York Main Street building renovation funds be used to improve a building's parking lot?
A18: NYMS funds cannot be used for site work such as parking lots, driveways, sidewalks or general landscaping.
Q19: Can we use New York Main Street funds to add an addition to a building?
A19: No, NYMS funds cannot be used for new construction.
Q20: Can we use New York Main Street funds to tear down a vacant building?
A20: No, NYMS funds cannot be used for demolition.
Q21: Property owners in our community are not currently interested in completing building renovation projects, but we would like to install benches, garbage cans and bike racks on Main Street. Can we apply for Streetscape funds to purchase and install these fixtures?
A21: NYMS Streetscape funds may not be requested as a standalone activity. Streetscape funds must be ancillary to a building renovation program.
Q22. Can we apply for Main Street for multiple building projects or should the application propose a single renovation project?
A22. NYMS is a comprehensive grant program that provides resources for the purpose of assisting New York communities with their Main Street and downtown revitalization efforts. NYMS provides funds to stimulate reinvestment in mixed-use (commercial-civic-residential) “main street” buildings. Applicants must identify a concentrated and well-defined Main Street target area at the time of application. If awarded, the grant recipient may then provide matching grants to eligible property owners within that target area. There is no minimum or maximum on the number of buildings that may be included, but a competitive Main Street application typically assists several buildings within a three block target area. If your project involves a single building, review the Urban Initiatives and Rural Area Revitalization Projects Resource Guides to determine if one of these funding sources is a better fit for your project.
Q23. Are restrictions placed on buildings that receive NYMS funds?
A23. Property owners participating in the NYMS Program must sign a Property Maintenance Declaration. The Property Maintenance Declaration states that the property owner will maintain all NYMS assisted improvements in good condition for a five year term. If residential units are assisted, a rent limit will be imposed for the five year term. This Declaration document must be filed with the County to secure the investment.
Q24: Are in-kind labor and donated materials eligible as match for NYMS?
A24: No. Match for NYMS projects must be realized on building by building basis, and eligible expenses and payments will be verified prior to reimbursement.
Q25. Who can apply for the Rural Area Revitalization Projects (RARP) and Urban Initiatives (UI) programs?
A25. Not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for RARP and UI. Not-for-profits must attach a copy of the organization’s Certificate of Incorporation and filing receipt to the application.
Q26. How much time will we have to complete a UI and RARP project?
A26. UI and RARP projects must be completed within 24 months.
Q27. Is it acceptable to submit an application without the buildings to be assisted identified?
A27. UI and RARP applications should not propose a scattered site approach. UI and RARP applications should present single, identified, ready to go projects.
Q28. What do you mean by ready-to-go projects?
A28. A ready to go project will have construction financing and local approvals in place, and experience no difficulty in completing the work in a 24 month timeframe. Please note, however, the project must not commence prior to award. Projects that begin construction prior to award, contract execution and environmental review may not be eligible for reimbursement.
Q29. Does this fund the demolition and removal of dangerous buildings?
A29. Building demolition is an eligible expense if it is part of a larger construction or renovation project that will be completed in the 24 month term.
Q30. Are matching funds required for UI or RARP?
A30. Yes, both programs require matching funds. The UI or RARP request may not exceed 75% of the total project cost. Please also note that applicants documenting high percentages of committed matching and leveraged funds will receive the highest scores.
Q31. What can the UI or RARP funds be used for?
A31. Applicants may requests UI or RARP funds to undertake housing preservation and community renewal activities in distressed neighborhoods by preserving existing housing units, generating new housing units, upgrading commercial and retail areas and by creating innovative approaches to neighborhood and community revitalization which improve cultural and community facilities. Please review the projects funded in 2012 on the Regional Councils website: http://www.nyscfaprojectdata.ny.gov/2012/cfadatatable
Q32. Is a parking lot an eligible UI or RARP project?
A32. No, UI and RARP funds may not be used for site work or ancillary activities on a property including grading, parking lots, sidewalks, landscaping, fences, free standing signs or general maintenance. Additional ineligible uses of UI and RARP include, but are not limited to: general organizational operating expenses; capitalizing a revolving loan fund; improvements to structures owned by religious or private membership organizations; improvements to municipally-owned buildings used for municipal purposes; the purchase of non-permanent fixtures, such as furnishings, appliances, electronics, and business equipment; and pre-development planning and associated expenses, as RARP projects must result in a completed, occupied space.
Q33. Does new construction in urban areas qualify under UI program?
A33. New construction is an eligible activity if an applicant can be demonstrated that funding and approvals are in place, and the project will be completed within a 24 month timeframe.
Q34. Are restrictions placed on buildings that receive RARP or UI funds?
A34. Property owners participating in the RARP or UI Program must sign a Property Maintenance Declaration. The Property Maintenance Declaration states that the property owner will maintain all RARP or UI assisted improvements in good condition for a five year term. If residential units are assisted, income verification of occupants will be required. This Declaration document must be filed with the County to secure the investment.
Q35. Are costs incurred prior to award eligible for reimbursement or as match?
Q35. No. Costs incurred prior to award are not eligible for reimbursement or as match. Additionally, applicants are advised against incurring costs prior to contract execution and environmental review.
CFA Questions & Answers
Q1. Is the rate reduced from market rates?
A1. Recharge New York includes equal parts of market power and NYPA hydropower. While the intent is for this combination to provide lower cost power over time, there is no guarantee of lower prices in any given month.
Q2. Does any retail usage disqualify a proposal?
A2. Retail establishments are not eligable for ReCharge New York. RNY will not be provided to an electric meter that is used by a retail establishment.
Q3. What constitutes “overnight accommodations”?
A3. Places of overnight accommodations that are ineligible for RNY are generally facilities offering leisure, business, or pleasure accommodations. Facilities offering services such as hospitals are generally considered eligible. For clarification of specific questions please call the RNY hotline at 888-562-7697.
Q3 (Agency NY Power Authority)
Is under 400kw considered a small business?
A3. Yes, for RNY, the definition of a small business is one that on a monthly basis utilizes 400 kW or less of electric demand.
Q11: Will applicants be able to apply for Recharge NY on a rolling basis?
A11: Yes, the RNY program is an open program and is not bound by the same application deadlines as most programs offered through the CFA. As long as unallocated power is available in the program, applicants may apply.
Q12: Is Recharge NY a statewide Program?
A12: Yes, RNY is a statewide program making available a total of 910 MW to all eligible applicants in New York State. Allocations will be continue to be made as long as unallocated power is available.
Q10. Directed at NYPA: Would NYPA pay more than a low cost municipal energy provider?
A10. NYPA makes no guarantee that RNY power will be at a lower cost than any other provider. We may offer RNY cost estimates to successful applicants as needed to assist them in making supplier decisions.
Q11. Directed at NYPA: How would NYPA define “entertainment”?
A11. Entertainment establishments are not defined in the RNY Legislation. The Economic Development Power Allocations Board (EDPAB) would make the final determination as to whether or not a business is eligible for RNY. For clarification of specific questions please call the RNY hotline at 888-562-7697.
Q11. Directed at NYPA: Does NYPA provide a comparative energy cost analysis?
A11. NYPA typically supplies a cost estimate for RNY in the form of a cost per kWh which is intended to assist RNY recipients with energy cost comparisons before they sign their RNY contract. In some cases, NYPA may assist with more detailed analysis as required.
Q12. Directed at NYPA: Can a municipality apply for a NYPA RNY allocation?
A12. Based on the RNY Legislation a municipality is not eligible for RNY. However, NYPA may provide support to municipalities through other programs. Municipalities should contact NYPA for more information if interested.
Q13. Directed at DOL: Are grant specification sheets available?
Q: The Category 3 requirements state that “all public, private, and non-profit entities are eligible to apply.” Can a state agency apply?
Q: Are Phase II funds reserved only for those entities that received a grant during Phase I of Cleaner Greener Communities?
A: No. All public, private, and non-profit entities are eligible to apply according to the criteria outlined for each Category in the CFA Guidance Sheet.
Q: We do not contribute to the Systems Benefit Charge. Would that make us ineligible to apply?
A: No. PON2721, Cleaner Greener Communities Phase II Implementation Grants, is not limited to customers that pay into the Systems Benefit Charge (SBC).
Q: Can in-kind services count toward the applicant cost-share?
A: Yes. The only funding that cannot count toward the match is other New York State grant/incentive funding.
Q: What type of documentation would NYSERDA need from an applicant to verify the customer’s cost-sharing ability?
A: A signed letter of commitment on letterhead will suffice for a funding commitment.
Q: Is it ok if the cost-share funds have already been allocated and are currently being spent on early implementation of the project for which funds are being requested?
A: Because applications must be submitted prior to starting NYSERDA-funded work, and because the applicant cost-share and the NYSERDA share must contribute to the same project or measures within the project intended to reduce carbon emissions, promote energy efficiency, or increase use of renewable energy, applicant cost share funds must not have already been spent prior to award. However, applicants should draw project boundaries that make sense for this solicitation. 100% of a large project need not be submitted as 'the project' for PON2721 if not every part of the project is intended to reduce carbon emissions, promote energy efficiency, or increase use of renewable energy. A subset (measures within a project) of a very large project may be 'the project' for the purposes of this solicitation.
Q: Can we, ‘the applicant,’ commit to contribute funds in the initial application, and substitute a private vendor later?
A: NYSERDA would not consider your application incomplete simply because one small part of your cost-share is not supported by a signed commitment. However, your application, in that case, would get less points in that section of the scoring compared to an application that does have all funding fully committed. If the applicant wants to provide the commitment up front, and is prepared to be held to it in the event that a private vendor is not willing to provide it later on, that would also count as a signed commitment. If you want to do this, please include that signed letter from the applicant, explaining this in the appropriate attachment (at the time of application). NYSERDA wants to ensure that projects will not be delayed or cancelled due to lack of funding after they have state funding committed to them. You will, however, need to have all funding from appropriate parties finalized and fully committed prior to executing a contract with NYSERDA, should your project be awarded.
Q: If a New York State (NYS) agency is administering federal funding, can that funding source still count toward the applicant’s cost-share or would that be considered State funding?
A: Federal funding that is administered by a NYS agency is considered federal funding for the purposes of this solicitation and may count toward the applicant’s cost-share.
Q: Does the ‘total cost’ of a project only refer to the incremental cost of upgrades?
A: PON2721 does not have any requirements regarding funding applying to incremental cost or total project cost. When you submit your application, how you describe the ‘project’ for the purposes of this program will determine the project cost and required cost share. If the proposed project is an ‘upgrade’ of some sort and the incremental cost of doing that is $2,000,000, the ‘ask’ from NYSERDA might be $1.5million and the cost share requirement would be $500,000. However, if you propose the project as a whole, including the upgrade, the total cost will be more. You are free to propose that way and ask for more funding. However, the benefits will likely be the same in either scenario, which could affect the cost-effectiveness of the project. We are leaving it up to proposers to draw ‘boundaries’ around their project proposals that make sense.
Q: I see that NYSERDA will fund intergrading sustainability into comprehensive plans, but we have already done that in our community. Is there any possibility of using those funds for code updates? We are looking for funds to develop a new ‘Green Code’ that would codify most of the elements found in the regional sustainability plan.
A: Generally speaking, code updates would be an eligible project type for Category 2 planning incentives. We’re not necessarily encouraging folks to adopt building ‘stretch codes’ at this time because New York State is still working out how and if it will adopt the International Green Construction Code or parts thereof. If the kind of ‘Green Code’ you are referring to is similar to what Buffalo did, that would be an eligible project type.
Q: If a consortium of communities submits a proposal for a plan that addresses sustainability or smart-growth related efforts on a regional basis (i.e., natural resource protection plan), would that be eligible? Would each community need to adopt the plan into their respective comprehensive plans? What if each community does not yet have a full comprehensive plan?
A: The definition of ‘comprehensive plan’ we use is straight from NYS Town Law, Village Law, City Law, and General Municipal Law (statutes referenced below). ‘Comprehensive plans’ do not necessarily need to be formal ‘plans,’ but rather may consist of a body of different pieces of formally adopted laws, policies, or ordinances that, when combined, represent a comprehensive ‘goal’ or ‘vision’ for a community. However, in order to be considered a ‘comprehensive plan,’ a community must have formally adopted something (laws, ordinances, etc). So, if the proposal is to revise the plan or a portion of the plan, that plan or portion thereof must have been originally adopted to begin with. Similarly, if the proposal is for ‘creation’ of a plan or a portion thereof, it will be adopted as part of the process.
Comprehensive Plan Statutes
Town Law §272-a
Village Law §7-722
General City Law §28-a
General Municipal Law § 239-d
Q: Our project is for a comprehensive plan and zoning updates. How should we approach the question about plan components that contribute to kW, kWh, and fossil fuel savings, or that otherwise reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
A: Question #2393 is not necessarily asking for a list of components with specific reduction targets, though it does leave that possibility open (which is why NYSERDA included the kWh to GHG conversion). The minimum you need to answer that question is a list of plan components that you anticipate will contribute to x,y, or z and then associate those plan components with the applicable ‘x, y, or z.’
Q: May other attachments be included with the CFA or is an applicant limited to attaching only those documents noted in the CFA itself?
A: Only those attachments that were specifically requested are necessary. Only those attachments will be reviewed and contribute toward evaluation of the project. NYSERDA expects to receive a large number of proposals, so it is not feasible to review more information than we have asked for.
Q: When are applications due?
A: Applications for Category 2 and Category 3 are due by 4:00pm on August 12, 2013. Applications for Category 1 will be accepted on a first come first serve basis until September 30, 2014.
Q: Our project aligns with multiple regional REDC strategic plans and regional sustainability plans. Are we allowed to submit a proposal through the CFA that would span multiple regions?
A: Yes, you are welcome to submit a proposal that spans multiple regions or the entire state.
Q: We have been developing a residential and commercial compost pickup service. The compost program reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of methane created at the landfill when food and yard waste is buried. The program also aids in the local production of food. The food we grow is closer to where it is consumed and is produced with less machinery and other high energy inputs than conventionally grown food. We would like to try to find another green use for the compost program by using the waste heat from the composting process to heat a home and its domestic water supply. Would this be eligible for the CGC grant?
A: Technically, it would be eligible. It might, however, have a hard time meeting the minimum project size requirements and competing with other larger projects on the benefit side. Please take a look at the details of the program in the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document.
Q: Does PON2721 will include alt fuel vehicles?
A: Category 1 will include incentives for municipalities to adopt streamlined permitting processes for Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. Category 3 could potentially cover projects that include alternative fuel vehicles. Please take a look at the details of the program in the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document.
Q: Will our project site, which is now a parking lot, qualify if we build a project on the site? It will be a sustainable endeavor and save on greenhouse gas emissions, but compared to an existing flat parking lot, it would use more energy than that existing condition. Is the comparison for savings calculations a "standard" construction project in a similar zone versus a new project that is energy-efficient?
A: For change of uses or substantial renovations of any kind, you could make the argument that comparing the project to a ‘standard’ project for the greenhouse gas savings is reasonable. For example, in NYSERDA’s New Construction Program, NYSERDA compares the new buildings to how they would have performed had they been designed to only comply with the minimum requirements of the energy code. A similar thought process could be employed for any other ‘new construction’ type of project even if ‘energy code’ is not necessarily the baseline for a given project type. Do keep in mind that, to the extent that measures within a project are eligible for existing NYSERDA programs, those measures are not eligible under CGC.
Q: Is PON2721, CGC Phase II Implementation, for those who have already applied and receive grant money through Phase I and are implementing "Phase II" OR is it a new program that anyone can apply to?
A: Phase II of the CGC program is not limited to entities that received funding in Phase I. Unless NYSERDA specifically outlined eligibility requirements in the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document or specifically called out a project type as ‘ineligible,’ one can assume the project and the applicant are eligible to apply to CGC. Please keep in mind that this is a competitive program, so even if a project is eligible, NYSERDA cannot guarantee funding. Please see the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document for Category-specific eligibility requirements.
Q: For Category 3, is it possible to get funds for design and construction of a capital project, or does it just cover construction?
A: Design and construction are both eligible project components for Category 3. However, a project that only includes design with no implementation is not eligible.
Q: Project measures required by laws or regulations are ineligible and any new bus stop we construct will have to meet ADA requirements. However, the ADA does not require us to install new bus stops in the first place. To what degree does the fact that we need to follow the ADA guidelines affect project eligibility?
A: Because the bus stops are not required to be constructed, they are an eligible measure/project. The fact that you have to follow ADA guidelines while doing so does not affect eligibility. Almost anything that will be built using funds from this program will have some sort of regulations tied to it and we will not hold that against any proposers.
Q: I heard a solicitation was going to be released in the next few months, but it is not currently listed on NYSERDA’s website as an upcoming funding opportunity. Can I still apply for funding under the CGC Program?
A: If a NYSERDA solicitation is not posted under Current or Upcoming Funding Opportunities at the following link http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Funding-Opportunities.aspx prior to the August 12th CGC proposal due date, than you are eligible to apply for funding under CGC.
Q: I am developing a product that will result in energy savings. The company is in final prototype testing and will soon go through EPA certification procedures. Does this fit into your program guidelines?
A: While many technologies could potentially be incorporated into a project by an applicant applying under Category 3 of the Cleaner Greener Communities (CGC) PON, if you are looking for assistance in developing or commercializing the technology, you are likely better off taking a look at our R&D program opportunities, which can be found, along with all other NYSERDA funding opportunities, at the following site: http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/Funding-Opportunities.aspx. Please see the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document for Category-specific eligibility requirements.
Q: Must all Category 3 projects be in the $1-5 Million range? Are there provisions to consider smaller projects?
A: There is no provision for smaller projects to apply through Category 3 outside of what is described in the PON2721 CFA Guidance Document.
Q: Are matching funds required for the Cleaner Greener Communities (CGC) Program?
A: Yes, category 2 and category 3 both require the applicant to provide 25% cost-share.
Q: Can municipalities partner up on projects through the CGC Program? Does that mean more funding will be available because it includes a larger population and potentially a larger scope?
A: Yes, municipalities can partner with projects. One municipality will need to be designated as the lead. No, the program incentive caps per project will remain as listed in the solicitation. Partnering is intended to help smaller communities that might not meet the $50,000 minimum through Category 2.
Q: Are any projects in the Cleaner, Greener Communities (CGC) Category 2 reimbursable after a project has been completed?
A: No. the project must be approved prior to its start.
Q: Does (CGC) Category 2 fund a change in a municipalities zoning plan?
A: Yes, if the plan is a revision of an existing plan, it would be considered.
Q: Would (CGC) Category 3 fund a project for a coal to gas conversion?
A: It could, the project would have to provide proof that the project would lead to community resiliency and would reduce greenhouse gases
Q: What is the expected time frame that they have to have the projects completed?
A: All portions of the project being funded through CGC must be completed within 3 years.
Q: Regarding Cleaner, Greener Communities (CGC) Program: Is it possible to run ideas through NYSERDA before submitting a project?
A: Yes – Potential applicants may submit specific questions about project eligibility. Email CGC@nyserda.ny.gov.
Q: How long will Phase II funding for CGC be available?
A: Governor Cuomo announced CGC as a $100 million dollar initiative – NYSERDA has invested $10 million for the development of the Regional Sustainability Plans in Phase I. In This round of the CFA NYSERDA is offering up to $30 million through Phase II. It is anticipated that the remaining $60 million will be available in one or more future rounds of the CFA.
Q: Is there a minimum project size for Small Commercial Energy Assessment?
A: The Small Commercial Energy Assessment provides free energy assessments to small businesses and Not-for-Profits with an average electric demand of 100kW or less. SCEA Website
Q: Who is eligible to participate in the FlexTech Program?
A: Eligible applicants include: NYS industrial and commercial facilities, state and local governments, not-for-profit and private institutions, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and health care facilities. Facilities must pay into the electric or gas System Benefits Charge (SBC).
Q: What is the goal of the FlexTech Program?
A: FlexTech's goal is to increase productivity and economic competitiveness of participating facilities by identifying and encouraging the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency, technical evaluations, process improvement analysis, energy master plans, retro-commissioning, and development of peak load curtailment plans (PLCPs) as well as combined heat & power (CHP) projects. Cost-sharing incentives are available to eligible participants.
Q: Do I need to have my application submitted to the FlexTech Program by 4:00PM on August 12th, 2013?
A: No, the FlexTech Program is a first come, first serve program that will remain open and available for applicants until funding runs out or the program close date of December 31, 2015.
Q: Is it possible for a firm to do both the audit and the work on a Flex Tech project?
A: Yes, however they will need to enter into a separate agreement.
Q: Regarding the FlexTech Program: Do you need to get your own engineering firm?
A: NYSERDA offers a list of engineering firms that have various areas of expertise that applicants can choose from. If the proposer has an existing relationship with an engineering firm not on the list they can also participate in FlexTech.
Q: What is the New Construction Program's (NCP) objective?
A: The New Construction Program's (NCP) objective is to affect a permanent transformation in the way new and substantially renovated buildings are designed and constructed. The NCP meets this objective by providing technical assistance and financial incentives to design teams and building owners.
NCP offers direct Technical Assistance (TA) and capital cost incentives based on improved building energy efficiency performance. Incentives also are available for commissioning services and Green buildings.
Q: How long is the NCP available?
A: The current round of the NCP, Program Opportunity Notice, (PON 1601) is available on a first-come, first-served basis through December 31, 2015, or until funding in the program is exhausted, whichever comes first.
Q: What types of projects are eligible for incentives?
A: Two types of building projects are eligible:
· New Construction: Defined as a new building, or space within a new building, for which a licensed professional architect or engineer has prepared and certified building plans.
· Substantial Renovation: Defined as one of the following types of projects for which a licensed professional architect or engineer has prepared and certified building plans.
o Change of use and reconstruction of an existing building or the space within it
o Construction work requiring that the building or space within it be out of service for at least 30 consecutive days
o Reconstruction of a vacant structure or the space within it
There is no size limit for an eligible project, either in terms of energy usage or building square footage.
Q: Do I qualify for participation in NCP?
Eligible applicants for electric or gas incentives are New York State electricity or firm gas distribution customers of a participating utility company and who pay into the System Benefits Charge.
· Eligible applicants must have legal authority to make energy efficiency improvements in the property they occupy or will occupy.
· Eligible applicants are defined as the building owner of the property, a tenant/leaseholder with at least five years remaining on the lease, or non-residential condominium owners occupying and holding title to space within the subject building, or non-residential cooperative shareholders having the right to occupy space within the subject building.
· All applicants including those in a negotiated rate class, must pay the System Benefits Charge in order to be eligible for this program.
· Applicants must certify their eligibility on their applications.
Q: How do I know if I am paying the New York State System Benefits Charge (SBC)?
A: To determine that, look at a recent electric bill from your utility company to see if SBC is listed as a charge. If you do not see the line item, contact NYSERDA (1-866-NYSERDA) for assistance in determining whether you pay into the SBC.
Q: What are Outreach Project Consultants (OPCs)?
A: OPCs are engineers/architects under contract to work directly with applicants and their project teams.
Q: What services do OPCs provide?
A: An OPC reviews applications for accuracy and may assist with an application's completion. OPCs work with you and your design team to develop a program participation plan that best fits your needs. An OPC also will schedule and participate in Scoping Meetings, which define what is to be included as part of the project. An OPC coordinates the activities of the Technical Assistance (TA) providers Reviews technical assistance scopes of work. Identifies opportunities with the applicant and may conduct LEED® charrettes. Promptly and effectively responds to applicant questions and requests for assistance. An OPC may inspect and verify installation of the energy efficiency measures once the project is completed. The OPC coordinators also assist NYSERDA staff members with administration of the NCP program. NYSERDA assigns OPCs based upon where the building in the application is located. OPCs services are free of charge.
Q: At what phase of my project should I submit an application?
A: NYSERDA recommends that applications be submitted in the early schematic design phase or sooner. If an application is submitted in the design development phase, it may be limited to only pre-qualified program measures.
Q: What kinds of incentives are available through the NCP program?
A: There are several types:
· Capital Cost incentives
· The Green Buildings incentive, which provides an incentive for meeting various national green building standards
· A Design Incentive, which provides assistance with the cost of outside design professionals for Whole Building Design Projects and LEED ® Rated buildings.
· Building Commissioning Incentives are available to finance a portion of the cost to provide a detailed assessment of building systems and their performance to ensure that they are operating at optimal capacity
· Periodically NYSERDA offers bonus incentives for specific energy measures.
Q: How long does the process take for completing a TA study?
A: It usually takes two weeks from the time the application is received to assign a Technical Assistance (TA) provider and to schedule a scoping meeting with all involved parties. Typically, it takes another two weeks to develop the scope of work and up to one week for the review of the scope of work by the Applicant, TA provider, OPC, and NYSERDA. Two more weeks are required for getting all the documentation in place, and between 8 to 12 weeks are needed for the TA study. Finally, an additional two weeks are needed to review and issue the final report to the applicant.
Q: When would I purchase and install the equipment?
A: Purchase and installation of equipment can begin after the applicant receives the incentive offer from NYSERDA.
Q: What is the Existing Facilities Program?
A: NYSERDA's Existing Facilities Program (EFP) offers incentives for a variety of energy efficiency retrofit projects in commercial and institutional buildings on both a Pre-Qualified and Performance-Based basis.
Q: What is a Pre-Qualified Project?
A: Pre-Qualified projects involve the installation of energy-saving products or equipment that NYSERDA has pre-approved to be included in this program, on a dollar-per-unit basis. Applications are to be submitted within 90 days after project completion.
Q: What is a Performance-Based Project?
A: Performance-Based projects involve assessing current energy usage and submitting a plan for long term energy savings that will result from the installation of energy-saving products or equipment. These projects have a minimum incentive of $30,000, and cannot begin until NYSERDA or its representative conducts a pre-installation inspection. Applications can be submitted within before or 90 days of project contracting.
Q: How much funding is available?
A: Over $50 million is available for distribution to New York State businesses through December 31, 2015, or until the funds are exhausted.
Q: What is the source of this funding?
A: The funds are sourced through the Public Service Commission's Systems Benefits Charge (SBC) contributions paid by most utility companies toward a range of industry improvements. NYSERDA's Existing Facilities Program has been established in part to return a significant portion of the contributions submitted by New York State's business owners to those entities, through energy-efficiency improvement incentives.
Q: What types of facilities are eligible to participate?
A: Eligible facilities must pay into the Public Service Commission's System Benefits Charge (SBC) as electric and/or natural gas customers through one of the following utility companies:
The Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid NY*
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.*
KeySpan Gas East Corporation d/b/a National Grid (KEDNY/KEDLI)*
National Grid Generation d/b/a National Grid
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation
New York State Electric & Gas Corporation
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation
* Denotes downstate utility companies.
Q: How can I determine whether I'm paying the System Benefit Charge (SBC)?
A: On a recent electric and/or natural gas bill, SBC would be listed as one of the delivery charges. If you do not see this line item, please contact your utility company, or NYSERDA at EFPOutreach@nyserda.ny.gov.
Q: My facility does not currently pay SBC, but will be soon. Can I still qualify?
A: You can apply to the Existing Facilities Program as soon as you have a utility bill showing that your facility is paying into the SBC.
Q: If I only pay SBC on the electric portion of my utility bill, can I qualify for natural gas incentives as well?
A: No. The facility must pay the SBC on the related portion of the bill (electric or natural gas).
Q: What types of projects are eligible?
A: The Existing Facilities Program offers incentives towards capital improvements for existing commercial and institutional buildings.
Q: What types of measures are eligible?
A: Eligible measures include, but are not limited to, upgrades to heating and cooling systems, lighting, motors, commercial refrigeration, Monitoring-Based Commissioning (MBCx) and controls.
Q: Are incentives available for LED lighting products?
A: The Existing Facilities Program offers incentives for LED products that are ENERGY STAR® or Design Lights Consortium approved. Please see the Tools and Resources page for the most current EFP Solid State Lighting (LED) policy.
Q: Are incentives available for green roofs or windows?
A: The Existing Facilities Program does not have specific green roof or window incentives. Tax credits may be available, however. Please see the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency for more complete information on local and federal incentives.
Q: Are incentives available for oil efficiency projects?
A: There are currently no incentives available for oil efficiency projects through the Existing Facilities Program. Customers looking to purchase new electric and/or natural gas equipment to replace existing oil equipment should consider NYSERDA's Pre-Qualified incentives.
Q: I'm outfitting a new space in an existing building. Can I apply to this program?
A: Projects involving new construction, or the retrofitting of an existing structure that will be vacant for 30 days or more, may be eligible for incentives through NYSERDA’s New Construction Program.
Q: How are incentives calculated?
A: Pre-Qualified incentives are calculated on a specified dollar-per-unit-installed basis for equipment that meets certain specifications (see the Pre-Qualified measure worksheets for more information). Performance Based incentives are calculated by determining energy savings and multiplying that number by the applicable rate below. Final incentive amounts are based on one full year's savings.
Natural Gas Efficiency
Q: Is there a maximum incentive payment?
A: NYSERDA will invest up to $2,000,000 per facility, based on specific eligibility requirements. Please see the Existing Facilities Program website for more information.
Q: How will incentives be paid?
A: Approved incentives will automatically be paid to the Applicant either by check or through a direct deposit to the Applicant's designated account. (There is no need to invoice NYSERDA for the incentive payment.) NYSERDA will inform both the Applicant and the Facility Contact (if they are different) of the final incentive amount awarded. Any division of the incentive between the Applicant and other entities is completely at the discretion of the Applicant and Facility.
Q: When will incentives be paid?
A: Incentives are issued as a one-time payment after a project has been completed and the post-installation report has been approved by NYSERDA. For projects requiring Measurement and Verification, a percentage of the incentive may be retained by NYSERDA until the anticipated savings have been verified.
Q: Can the final incentive amount be adjusted?
A: Yes. Payment will be based on the final as-built conditions, and if applicable, the adjusted energy savings estimates.
Q: Are incentives considered income by the Federal and State governments?
Q: As an Applicant, how can I stay up to date about this program and my application?
A: After each approval stage the Engineering Analysis, Post Installation Report, and Measurement and Verification stage if applicable, notification of estimated energy savings, incentives, and project costs will be emailed to the Applicant and Facility Contact.
Q: Does my installer or contractor need to be pre-approved by NYSERDA?
A: No, all engineering firms and consultants are eligible to apply for Existing Facilities Program funding.
Q: Does NYSERDA recommend specific companies to conduct work for projects funded under the Existing Facilities Program?
Q: Will projects be evaluated for cost effectiveness?
A: Yes. NYSERDA will evaluate projects for cost-effectiveness through a Total Resource Cost (TRC) evaluation prior to issuance of the Purchase Order. Most of the information required for this evaluation will be provided through the Program's application and contractual agreement. Applicants may be required to provide additional information to complete the evaluation.
Q: When can I submit my application?
A: Submit Pre-Qualified incentive applications within 90 days after project completion.
Submit Performance-Based incentive applications within 60-90 days prior to the anticipated start date to allow time for processing and a pre-installation inspection.
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis through 5:00 p.m. EST on December 31, 2015, or until funds are exhausted.
Q: What happens after NYSERDA receives my Consolidated Funding Application?
A: The application will be reviewed for completeness, and the Applicant will be contacted to provide any remaining information. When the application is complete, a Technical Consultant will be assigned to your project and follow up with the Applicant about next steps. For those who submit Performance Based applications, a Project Manager will also be assigned to the project, and an on-site inspection will be required prior to initiating equipment demolition or installation.
Q: How much money is available?
A:NYSERDA has approximately $167 million through 2015 for studies and installations at Manufacturing and Data Center facilities who pay the System Benefits Charge (SBC).
Q: How much money is available per facility?
A: NYSERDA will invest up to $5 million per facility per year for electric incentives AND up to $1 million per facility per year for natural gas incentives. Incentives are paid based on annualized energy savings and are currently capped at 50% of project cost.
Q: Is there a due date I need to respond to?
A: No. The incentives are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Current funding will last through 2015.
Q: I've heard that the Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs) offer programs. Is NYSERDA working with the gas and electric Transmission and Distribution (T&D) utilities?
A: NYSERDA is working with the IOUs on customer meetings, coordination of program offerings, and to ensure the best energy services possible are available to the State's SBC paying customers.
Q: How are the incentives calculated?
A: Incentives are paid based on one full year of energy savings. For productivity improvements the energy savings will be calculated by determining energy use per unit of production or workload before and after the improvement, and multiplying the difference by the new output.
Q: When are the incentives paid?
A: NYSERDA will pay a maximum of 60% of the incentive when installation is complete. Progress payments also are available on this installation payment for costs incurred to support installation (design, equipment purchase, etc.).
The remaining 40% of the incentive generally is paid when the project's electricity savings have been measured and verified (M&V). M&V periods are generally one to two years. However, if you or your management is concerned about cash flow, NYSERDA will work with you to accelerate performance payments.
Q: Are incentives available for electric efficiency projects?
A: Yes. NYSERDA has approximately $93 million in electric efficiency funding for manufacturers and data centers. NYSERDA will pay $0.12/kWh upstate and $0.16/kWh in Con Edison territory.
Q: Are incentives available for natural gas efficiency projects?
A: Yes. NYSERDA has approximately $35 million in natural gas efficiency funding for large Manufacturers and Data Centers Statewide. NYSERDA will pay $15/MMBtu upstate and $20/MMBtu in the ConEd, KEDNY and KEDLI territories. Customers must pay into the SBC on their natural gas bills to be eligible for incentives.
Q: Are operational and maintenance incentives available?
A: Yes. Incentives are available for process improvements based on operational changes. Incentives are $.05/kWh and $6/mmBTU up to 50% of the project cost to implement the operational improvement. Eligible measures can include, but are not limited to:
· Manufacturing: burner maintenance, process controls optimization, compressed air leaks and compressed air pressure reduction.
· Data centers: tile maintenance and blanking (hot aisle/cold aisle).
Q: Are there incentives available for non-manufacturing companies?
A: Yes, NYSERDA has incentives for commercial customers as well. Performance-based electrical incentives are available for Lighting, Motors, Commercial Kitchens, VFD, HVAC, and other projects that reduce electrical use. Fill out a Consolidated Funding Application.
Q: Will my incentives be reduced if I only pay SBC on a portion of my bill?
A: No. We no longer prorate partial SBC customers.
Q: Does the program require me to share information about the project with others?
A: No. Although that is generally a requirement of NYSERDA's R&D programs, the goal of this program is to pay for energy savings. NYSERDA will develop case studies of successful projects and leaders in manufacturing and data center energy productivity. However, participation in case studies, awards, or press events is completely voluntary, and any materials published or used by NYSERDA will be reviewed by you before they are used.
Q: Does my project need to be innovative?
A: No. This program is for custom, site, and process-specific solutions that used commercially available systems and technologies..
Q: Is my facility eligible to participate in NYSERDA programs?
A: To qualify for participation in NYSERDA programs you must be a customer of one of the following utilities and pay into the SBC.
NYSERDA offers capital incentives and sets incentive caps across all of New York State. These incentives exist for utility (gas & electric) companies. This table will help you determine whether you're eligible for them.
The Brooklyn Union Gas Company d/b/a National Grid NY
Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.
KeySpan Gas East Corporation d/b/a National Grid (KEDNY/KEDLI)
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation
National Grid Generation d/b/a National Grid
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation
New York State Electric & Gas Corporation
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.
Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation
Note: Only certain service rate classes are eligible. Please check the facility’s current utility bill.
Q: What projects are eligible?
A: Generally, projects that save electricity are eligible; however, NYSERDA's focus is on projects that improve manufacturing process productivity. For example, projects that increase throughput, reduce scrap, and improve productivity all have an energy component and may be eligible for a NYSERDA incentive. NYSERDA also provides incentives for improvements to support system efficiency for motors, VFDs, process cooling, and compressed air.
Q: Are projects that result in an increase in overall electricity consumption eligible?
A: Yes. One of the goals of this program is to invest in smart, energy-efficient manufacturing growth in New York. To accomplish this, NYSERDA incentives are based on improvements in electricity use per unit of production.
Q: What baseline is used to determine energy savings and incentives?
A: Industrial and data center operations are complex systems and there are no codes or standards that govern how they are to be run. This means that no two projects will be exactly the same and we cannot use a standard baseline to compare all projects. To accommodate this, the IPE incentive is a custom measure program and NYSERDA's staff and consulting team will work with the customer to establish an appropriate baseline for each project.
Q: Is an engineering study required?
A: Yes. Incentives are based on a site/process specific engineering analysis. However, NYSERDA's Technical Reviewers are available to assist with the required engineering analysis at no cost to the customer.
Q: Will NYSERDA pay for Measurement and Verification?
A: Yes. NYSERDA will use metering and other M&V tools at the Applicant's facility. In addition to the installation incentives described above, any incremental M&V costs will be performed by NYSERDA's technical reviewer at no additional cost to the applicant.
Q: Can NYSERDA help identify or determine the technical and economic feasibility of potential projects?
A: Yes. Through its FlexTech program, NYSERDA can help identify and determine the feasibility of potential projects. Engineering feasibility studies are performed on a cost-shared (50/50) basis using either a NYSERDA FlexTech Consultant or an independent service provider of your choice. A primary goal of the feasibility study is to develop the objective analysis required to support the approval of the project by the customer's management.
Q: Do customers have to apply through a third party?
A: Industrial customers can apply to the program and receive incentives directly from NYSERDA or use a third party if desired.
Q: How long will it take to get NYSERDA approval?
A: Project approval is in the form of a purchase order issued to the Applicant by NYSERDA. Generally, the purchase order is issued as soon as a reasonably accurate estimate of the energy savings is available.
For straightforward projects, a purchase order should be issued within a few weeks of application.
For more complex projects, a site visit by NYSERDA staff and/or a NYSERDA technical reviewer may be required to develop a clear understanding of the project and to estimate energy savings. In either case, the goal is to approve projects as quickly as possible.
Q1. (Brooklyn Arts Council) It sounded like each agency, if you actually get a grant, the timeline for how long your contract will be varies a little. How long will the NYSCA contracts be?
A1. (NYSCA)It’s the calendar year 2014, that’s when the project needs to take place for a NYSCA grant.
A1. (Parks) Once a contract is executed, it is anticipated that construction projects be completed within two years, and acquisition and planning projects be completed within one year; all projects must be completed within five years from the date of the award of the grant.
A1. (LWRP) Ours are generally up to 3 years, 2 to 3 years depending upon your actual project. When we talk, I’ll walk you through that. If you’re awarded, the state has a limit of up to 5 years for a given contract and we’ll amend a project on a yearly basis.
A1. (HCR) Mine are all 2 years from the date of award.
Q2. What are the matching funds requirements?
A2. (RTP) The RTP is an 80/20 reimbursement grant program. Successful applicants are reimbursed for up to 80% of their eligible expenditures. Successful applicants must be prepared to fund the cost of the project and then submit for reimbursement. The maximum award is $200,000 and the minimum award is $5,000.
A2. (EPF) Generally, the EPF is a 50/50 reimbursement grant program. Successful EPF applicants are reimbursed for up to 50% of their eligible expenditures. For projects located in impoverished areas (defined by 10% or more of the population below the poverty level according to the most recent Census data), the reimbursement can be up to 75% of the eligible project cost. Applicants must be prepared to fund the cost of the project and then submit for reimbursement. The maximum award is $500,000.
Q3. Is the requirement (for funding) how much they need to be open to the public?
A3. (RTP) The RTP federal funding eligibility requirement states that the proposed project must be legally and physically accessible to the public, or be a portion of an identified trailway project which, when completed, will be legally and physically accessible to the public.
A3. (EPF) In order to ensure that a public benefit shall accrue from the use of public funds, the EPF program requires that the pubic have reasonable access to or use of the project. All grant awards under this program come with long term protections, either through parkland alienation law, conservation easements, or public access or preservation covenants recorded against the deeds.
Q4. If you’re a not for profit, does the EPF project also need to be free to the public?
A4. Successful applicants may charge a reasonable fee for the use of any facility, which is part of the project as long as it does not hinder public access, and meets program requirements for fee schedules.
Q5. Do you have to be the owner of the property that contains TRAILS, or be working on property?
A5. For EPF and RTP, the applicant can be the owner of the property, have interest in the property (i.e. lease, operating or management agreement), or in the case of acquisition, can show ownership interest (i.e. signed purchase contract, option agreement, or letter of intent). For projects taking place on state land, the applicant must provide a letter of support for the project from the owner/managing entity stipulating that they will agree to enter into a legally binding agreement or authorization (permit), if there is not already one in place. Under RTP, when purchasing grooming equipment, the applicant must list the landowners and provide a copy of the land use agreement.
Q6. How far back retroactively can the cost of an acquisition be repaid for a Historic building?
A6. Under the EPF program, acquisition costs retroactive no more than one year prior to the application deadline are eligible costs. Building acquisition is eligible as long as there is a public benefit and it meets program requirements.
Q7. What happens when a community needs to get started earlier than the deadline?
A7. Work completed prior to award is not eligible for reimbursement or for match. The EPF grant program has two exceptions: 1) Professional services and materials purchased or donated but not installed up to three years prior to the application deadline may be applied toward the matching share and 2) Acquisition costs retroactive no more than one year prior to the application deadline are eligible costs. Under RTP, certain pre-development costs incurred up to 18 months prior to federal approval may be credited to the non-Federal share.
Q8. Why is the grant reimbursement process so long?
A8. EPF payment needs are significantly larger than the monthly allocation of cash spending
authority to pay EPF bills.
Q9. Is the EPF program with 75% funding option a match or reimbursement program?
A9. EPF is a matching, reimbursement grant program. For projects located in impoverished areas (defined by 10% or more of the population below the poverty level according to the most recent Census data), the reimbursement can be up to 75% of the project cost (applicant would provide at least 25% of the project cost). Applicants must be prepared to fund the cost of the project and then submit for reimbursement.
Q10. In the past, funding was approved for a veteran’s museum, would this still be approved if tied
into tourism and parks?
A10. Each application will be reviewed for eligibility and, if determined eligible, will be rated according to the Grant Selection Criteria. Within each region, applications are ranked according to project category, competing only against others in their region and category.
Q11. Is the Recreational Trail Program more restrictive in its requirements from Federal funds?
A11. There is an additional Federal Highway Administration approval required, but in general the program requirements are similar to EPF.
Q12. Does the awardee have to pay for appraisals with the acquisition of land for trails?
A12. The applicant must submit a written estimate of value (windshield appraisal/market valuation) as part of the application. This cost is not covered. However, if a grant is awarded, the value of each parcel must be established by a full, self-contained appraisal (for any parcel valued at $300,000 or more, two full self-contained appraisal reports are required). Appraisals, surveys, legal fees and the acquisition cost expended as part of the grant project after the award date are reimbursable up to the grant amount. Appraisals must be conducted no more than 12 months prior to the acquisition of the property.
Q13. If the organization hosts trail planning sessions for submission, is grant funding available to cover costs for this planning?
A13. No. Any costs incurred prior to the grant award date are ineligible for reimbursement. Upon approval, planning and environmental assessment costs incurred prior to project approval may be credited toward the non-Federal share cost of the project, limited to costs incurred not more than 18 months prior to project approval.
Q14. Can we apply to two different sources for funding, and are these multiple sources aware and how does this work? (Directed to Department of State)
A14. In a situation where an applicant applies to two sources, both agencies are aware and work out the funding so costs are split and discuss the best option for the application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to reach out to the agency to make them aware of the multiple funding situation.
Q15. Within the Trails grant there is an administrative cap of $200,000; is this the whole cap?
A15. Yes, the maximum grant award is $200,000 (total project cost must be at least $250,000).
Q16. Is there a funding match?
A16. Yes; for EPF, there is generally a 50% or more match required (at least 25% for an impoverished area); RTP requires at least 20% match.
Q17. Are these opportunities one-time grant submissions for the RTP program?
Q17. There is no limit to how many times you apply.
Q18. Should we steer away from the planning state before applying for a grant?
A18. No, our grants are looking for shovel ready projects. Shovel ready means you are ready to begin. You have your permits, your match, and your administrative staff set up to begin work as soon as possible after receipt of the grant award notification letter, and our signoff on bids for construction and professional services, plans and specifications, M/WBE utilization plans, etc. You should have it outlined in your budget proposal how the grant money will be used.
Q19. Would the grant apply to clean up of brown fields (hazardous waste) site?
A19. Cost and clean-up of brown fields are not eligible under Parks’ programs.
Q20. Greenway jurisdictional, preliminaries are being reviewed. There aren’t any construction funds. We are seeking municipal for Route 434. Could the county be a sponsor due to jurisdiction (state highway)? Would funds be available for 50/50 match? Who should be the sponsor? We are seeking 6.9 million. There are solicitations within the department, but we don’t have construction funding. It is a transportation quarter. The City of Binghamton and the Town of Vestal are the principals on the arterial, on the NHS system. Who would be the best entity for the project manager? Local entities may not be the best to lead alone.
A20. (EPF) Funding is available under the EPF Municipal Grant Program for the acquisition, planning, development, and improvement of parks, historic properties, and heritage areas. Municipalities and not-for-profits with an ownership interest in the property are eligible to apply. Work elements must meet program requirements. All parties with an ownership interest in the property will be required to sign the project agreement. All lien holders must subordinate their interests to those of the State, and may be required to sign the project agreement. The maximum grant award is $500,000.
A20. (RTP) The RTP program provides funds to develop and maintain recreational trails for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail use. Funding is available for the maintenance and restoration of existing recreational trails, development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages for recreational trails, purchase and lease of recreational trail construction and maintenance equipment, construction of new recreational trails, and acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors. The maximum grant award is $200,000.
Q21. Can EPF be used to match RTP?
A21. Yes; State funds may be used to satisfy the non-Federal match requirements
Q. What is AmeriCorps?
A. AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps is made up of three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). Visit www.americorps.gov/about/programs/index.asp to find out more about the differences between these three programs.
Q. What is an AmeriCorps member?
A. An AmeriCorps member is an individual who is enrolled in an approved national service position and engages in intensive service to address pressing community problems. AmeriCorps members serve through nonprofits, public agencies, institutions of higher education, Indian Tribes, and faith-based organizations to tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, and help communities respond to disasters, among other activities. AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon successful completion of their term of service. Some AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance to support them during their term of service.
Q. Is an AmeriCorps member the same as a volunteer?
A. No. An AmeriCorps member is an individual serving in an approved national service position for a pre-determined term of service. AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award and might receive a living allowance and other benefits such as health insurance and childcare. Additionally, there are limitations on the types of activities in which an AmeriCorps member can engage. Volunteers are not eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, and typically do not receive compensation or have a pre-defined term of service. Volunteers and AmeriCorps members might serve side-by-side and AmeriCorps members often recruit and manage volunteers.
Q. What are the living allowance (stipend) requirements for AmeriCorps members?
A. An approved AmeriCorps budget must include a living allowance for full-time members between $12,100 (minimum) and $24,200 (maximum) per member except as noted below. For Operating (i.e.: Cost-Reimbursement grants, this amount must be included in the proposed budget. The living allowance is not required for members serving in less than full-time terms of service. If a program chooses to provide a living allowance to a less than full-time member, it must comply with the maximum limits in the chart below.
Members serving in a full-time capacity may be eligible for health care coverage and child care reimbursements. After members successfully complete their term of service, full-time members receive an education award of $5,550. This rate of an AmeriCorps Education Award remains equal to a Federal Pell Grant. Other members receive a prorated award. The award can be used to pay for the costs of attending an institution of high education or to pay back qualified student loans.
Members who already have student loans may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of your loans during their service, and the education award will help them pay off qualified student loans when they are finished.
Member Service Term
Minimum # of Hours
Minimum Living Allowance
Maximum Total Living Allowance
Q. Does CNCS recruit and train the AmeriCorps members?
A. No. While CNCS has an online recruitment system that AmeriCorps programs can utilize, each program is responsible for recruiting its own AmeriCorps members. Additionally, AmeriCorps programs are entirely responsible for training their AmeriCorps members. In your application you must describe how you will recruit, orient and train the AmeriCorps members you are requesting.
Q. Must an AmeriCorps member serve for a certain amount of time?
A. Yes. An AmeriCorps member may serve either a full-time term of service, which requires a minimum of 1700 hours of service within a one-year period of time; or a part-time term, which can range from 300 hours to 900 hours.
Q. Can AmeriCorps members take the place of current staff or volunteers at my organization?
A. No. AmeriCorps members may not displace staff or volunteers at your organization, nor may they perform any services or duties that would supplant the hiring of employed workers.
Q. Are there certain activities in which AmeriCorps members and staff cannot engage?
A. Yes. While charging time to the AmeriCorps program, accumulating service or training hours, or otherwise performing activities supported by the AmeriCorps program or CNCS, staff and members may not engage in the following activities (see 45 CFR § 2520.65):
• Attempting to influence legislation;
• Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes;
• Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing;
• Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements;
• Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office;
• Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials;
• Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization;
• Providing a direct benefit to: (1) a business organized for profit; (2) a labor union; (3) a partisan political organization; (4) a nonprofit organization that fails to comply with the restrictions contained in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (participating in partisan political activities or spending funds on lobbying and grassroots efforts in excess of allowable limits); and (5) an organization engaged in the religious activities described above, (unless CNCS assistance is not used to support those religious activities);
• Conducting a voter registration drive or using CNCS funds to conduct a voter registration drive;
• Providing abortion services or referrals for receipt of such services.
AmeriCorps members may not engage in the above activities directly or indirectly by recruiting, training, or managing others for the primary purpose of engaging in one of the activities listed above. Individuals may exercise their rights as private citizens and may participate in the activities listed above on their own initiative, on non-AmeriCorps time, and using non-CNCS funds. Individuals should not wear the AmeriCorps logo while doing so.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
A. AmeriCorps State grants are awarded to public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and other community organizations; institutions of higher education; government entities within states or territories (e.g., cities, counties); Indian Tribes; labor organizations; partnerships and consortia; and intermediaries that will operate solely in New York State.
Organizations that have been convicted of a Federal crime are disqualified from receiving the assistance described in this Notice. Pursuant to the Lobbying Disclosure Action of 1995, an organization described in Section 501 (c)(4) of the Internal Revenue code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. 501 (c)(4) that engages in lobbying activities is not eligible to apply.
Current AmeriCorps grantees may apply for assistance. Receiving funding previously from the Commission, CNCS, or another Federal agency is not a prerequisite to applying under this RFP.
Q. Is there additional information or Training/Technical Assistance available to applicants?
A. The 2013 State AmeriCorps Technical Assistance Slide Presentation can be accessed on the New Yorkers Volunteer website at www.NewYorkersVolunteer.ny.gov by clicking on the promo to the right of the page titled ‘New York State Consolidated Funding Application – AmeriCorps Program Technical Assistance Slide Presentation’
Q. What is the application review process for CFA AmeriCorps proposals?
A. Proposals submitted through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for AmeriCorps funding which meet the application deadline will be included in the State AmeriCorps Application Review Process. Following the application due date, all proposals will be reviewed to confirm the following components are included: (1) Application Narrative; (2) Budget; (3) Performance Measures; and (4) any additional forms as outlined in the CFA. Applications that do not contain the aforementioned components or fail to adhere to the application or budget guidance documents may be considered ineligible and not receive further evaluation.
The State also seeks to fund quality proposals that are geographically diverse. The following process will be implemented in an attempt to have at least one AmeriCorps program operating in up to six of ten regions of the State as defined by the Regional Economic Development Council structure.
Regional Council Review
Regional Councils will review and rank applications based on a set of standards, referred to as “endorsement standards.” An application will be scored by the Regional Council in which the proposed project will take place. Regional Councils will assign each project a single score of 20, 15, 10, 5 or 0 (no fractions) based on merit. The Regional Council endorsement will account for 20% of the total review. In cases where an applicant is proposing a project with multiple locations in multiple regions, the Councils from each region will provide scores.
The State Review
Following the Regional Council Review, each application will be reviewed by two independent reviewers. Points awarded by each reviewer will be recorded and averaged. If there is a disparity of more than 15 points between the two reviewers, one additional review will be conducted and the three total points awarded will be averaged. The average points, and any additional Performance Measure Bonus awarded during this phase will account for 80% of the total application score. The final application score will be determined by adding the points awarded during the Regional Council Review (20%) with the points awarded during The State Review (80%).
Once all proposals have been assigned a final application score, the highest scoring application in each of the ten regions, that score an 80% or higher through the Application Review Process, will be moved to the top of the scoring chart in rank order of their score from highest to lowest. The State will fund the top application on the list, and fund each application that follows in rank order until all funding has been awarded.
In the event that an application is not submitted by at least six of the ten regions, or at least one application from six different regions does not receive a score of 80% or higher through the Application Review Process, The State may award a second AmeriCorps grant to an applicant within a region that already has one proposal funded. In this scenario, the application with the highest final score above 80% in any region would be funded, followed by the next highest scoring application regardless of region until all funding has been awarded.
Applicants may be funded at an amount less than their requested amount in order to maximize funding, and meet the geographic diversity priority.
Q. What will be considered when my proposal is being reviewed and scored?
A. Through the CFA, The State will give priority funding consideration to applicants that focus solely or in-part on the Economic Opportunity Focus Area as defined in the Serve America Act. Program activity in the Economic Activity Focus Area will provide support and/or facilitate access to services and resources that contribute to the improved economic well-being and security of economically disadvantaged people. Grant activities will help economically disadvantaged people to: (1) have improved access to services and benefits aimed at contributing to their enhanced financial literacy; (2) transition into or remain in safe, healthy, affordable housing; (3) have improved employability leading to increased success in becoming employed; or (4) implement other initiatives that engage and provide resources through AmeriCorps member service to individuals who struggle to find or hold a job because of child-care responsibilities, a prior criminal record, a lack of training, or an unstable housing situation.
The quality of each AmeriCorps application will be assessed using the following scoring matrix:
Application Assessment Criteria
Rationale & Approach/ Program Design
Need (7 pts)
Members as Highly Effective Means to Solve Community Problems (10 pts)
Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed & Measurable Community Impact (10 pts)
Member Recruitment (5 pts)
Member Training (5 pts)
Member Supervision (5 pts)
Member Experience (3 pts)
Volunteer Generation (3 pts)
Organizational Commitment to AmeriCorps Identification (2 pts)
Organizational Background and Staffing (8 pts)
Sustainability (6 pts)
Compliance and Accountability (11 pts)
Cost-Effectiveness & Budget Adequacy
Cost-Effectiveness (13 pts)
Budget Adequacy (12 pts)
Q. What is a State Service Commission?
A. A State Service Commission is a governor-appointment entity responsible for administering national and community service programs in its State (or Territory). Funding for AmeriCorps programs operating within one state or territory is administered through the State Service Commission.
Q. What are the funding priorities for AmeriCorps?
A. CNCS seeks to target CFA AmeriCorps funding in the Economic Opportunity focus area. To maximize the impact of the investment in national service, CNCS is seeking to fund programs at no more than $250,000 that can demonstrate community impact and solve community problems through an evidence-based approach (e.g. performance data, research, theory of change). The Economic Opportunity focus area can be found in the CFA Resources Guide: http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2013/resources_available_2013.pdf.
Q. What does evidence-basis/evidence-informed mean and what documentation is required?
A. Evidence-basis/evidence-informed refers to a program‘s demonstration of why it is proposing a particular intervention to address an identified community problem. Evidence for the intervention could include results from research, performance data, or results from a similar, successful program and would provide the basis for decisions about the design, frequency and intensity of the proposed intervention.
For example: An applicant proposes to engage AmeriCorps members to recruit and manage volunteers. The volunteers will tutor third-grade students in a low-performing school for an hour a day, three days per week. The proposal indicates that as a result, the students’ academic performance will improve. The applicant must describe in its proposal the evidence that the design of the intervention (a certain set of tutoring activities delivered for one hour three times per week) will result in improved academic performance.
Q. What other type of evidence is required in a proposal?
A. An application must provide evidence of the need, which refers to data that demonstrates the extent or severity of the need in the target community.
Q. What is a theory of change?
A. A theory of change is a theory (or hypothesis) for how an intervention can address or solve a stated problem. A theory of change articulates a problem, a proposed intervention, and the change (outcomes) that is expected to result from delivering the intervention. Underlying the theory is a set of assumptions, supported by evidence, about why the intervention is likely to lead to the outcomes.
Q. Is there a limit on the amount of grant funds I may request?
A. Applicants may only request up to $250,000 in Federal funding for a CFA AmeriCorps Program.
Q. What does Cost per MSY mean?
A. Cost per MSY stands for Cost per Member Service Year and represents the cost to CNCS of your AmeriCorps program. One MSY is the equivalent of one full-time term of service (1700 member service hours). The cost per MSY is calculated by dividing the total amount of CNCS funds requested by the total number of MSYs requested. For example, if the application requests $10,000 in CNCS funds and 10 MSYs, then the cost per MSY is $1,000. The cost per MSY does not include child care or the cost of the Segal Education Award a member may earn.
Q. Can we use this grant to pay for general organizational expenses?
A. No. AmeriCorps grants are only for costs directly related to the proposed project, rather than general organizational expenses. Fundraising costs, including raising funds to meet your AmeriCorps grant matching costs, are considered general organizational expenses and cannot be paid with grant funds. However, to a limited degree, you may capture indirect administrative costs related to your AmeriCorps program. The application instructions provide guidance on charging administrative costs to the grant.
Q. Will I have to contribute matching funds?
A. Yes. The money awarded as part of an AmeriCorps grant does not cover the full cost of running an AmeriCorps program. Successful applicants must contribute a minimum of 24% match to support their program. Match can be in the form of cash, in-kind, or other as defined in the AmeriCorps Budget Instructions. Match documentation must be maintained by the grantee and presented up on request.
Q. Can the grant funds be used for any programming or must the program designed include the use
of AmeriCorps members?
A. As an applicant, you would propose a program that addresses a local community need. You would document that need, propose the intervention (service activities) that AmeriCorps members would engage in to address that need and describe the outcomes you expect the program to make that would demonstrate a measurable impact on the need.
Q. How many AmeriCorps members will my program receive?
A. In your application you must indicate the number and type of AmeriCorps member positions you are requesting based on your program design and desired outcomes. If your proposal is approved for funding, CNCS will determine how many AmeriCorps members will be included in your award.
Q. In New York State do AmeriCorps programs have to provide workman's compensation coverage for AmeriCorps members and if so how much does it cost?
A. In New York State, AmeriCorps members are covered under Workers Compensation Insurance. In order to contract the State, the employer/vendor must have coverage through a current policy in order to be determined responsible. New York State Workers' Compensation Law requires that employers operating in New York State have workers' compensation coverage for their employees, with limited exceptions. Employers are required to obtain and keep in effect workers' compensation coverage for all employees, even part-time employees and family members that are employed by the company. Employers must obtain workers' compensation insurance with an insurance carrier authorized by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board.
Q. In New York State do AmeriCorps programs pay FICA on member stipends?
A. Unless exempted by the IRS, all AmeriCorps programs must pay FICA for any member receiving a living allowance, even when CNCS does not supply the living allowance. If exempted, please note in the narrative. In the first column next to FICA, indicate the number of members who will receive FICA. Calculate the FICA at 7.65% of the total amount of the living allowance.
Q. Does New York State have minimum requirements or required health insurance providers for AmeriCorps members/staff?
A. New York State does not mandate or recommend a specific health insurance provider to AmeriCorps grantees. When required to provide healthcare insurance coverage (due to member term), the grantee may obtain healthcare from any provider. Coverage provided by the grantee must be provided for a period of no more than 364 days, and cannot be renewed or extended beyond that period. Coverage must include the following minimum benefits:
a. Physician services for illness or injury
b. Hospital room and board
c. Emergency room
d. X-ray and laboratory
e. Prescription drugs
f. Limited mental/nervous disorders
g. Limited substance abuse coverage
h. An annual deductible of no more than $250 charges per member
i. No more than $1,000 total annual out-of-pocket per member
j. A 20% co-pay or a comparable fixed fee with the exception of a 50% co-pay for mental and substance abuse care
k. A maximum benefit of at least $50,000 per occurrence or cause
Q. How long is the grant period?
A. AmeriCorps program implementation grants typically have a three-year period, but funds are provided one year at a time. Continued funding during the course of the three years is contingent upon satisfactory performance, compliance, the availability of funds, and other criteria established in the award agreement. The budget submitted in the application is for a one-year period.
Q. What is an operating site?
A. An operating site is the organization that manages the AmeriCorps program on behalf of the multi-state recipient of the grant from CNCS. A multi-state grantee must have an operating site in each state in which it has AmeriCorps members. AmeriCorps members may be placed at the operating site, or an operating site may place AmeriCorps members at multiple member service locations.
Q. What is a member service site?
A. A member service location is the site at which an AmeriCorps member is placed to provide his/her service to the community.
Q. Is it acceptable to have AmeriCorps members whose primary responsibilities are office-based computer work?
A. Allowable member service activities can be direct service or capacity building. Direct service activities must be designed to impact a documented compelling community need, should be evidence-based and lead to measurable impact. Capacity building activities must also be designed to impact a documented compelling community need and cannot be solely intended to support the administration or operations of the organization. Capacity Building activities include:
• Recruiting and/or managing community volunteers;
• Implementing effective volunteer management practices;
• Completing community assessments that identify goals and recommendations;
• Developing new systems and business processes or enhancing existing systems/processes.
Q1: I’ve written a local government efficiency grant and it was submitted in March and is pending, does this CFA replace that?
A1: The applications submitted in March were for a separate solicitation and not part of the CFA. The LGE program’s inclusion into the CFA is for Fiscal Year 2013-14 funding and has moved our traditional timing of funding announcements by about six months. The announcement of the successful awardees from the March solicitation is currently pending.
Q2: Do you apply for the local government efficiency program using the CFA?
Q3: Are there funds to help consolidate town/village offices into one building?
A3: Yes. That is a project that could receive local government efficiency money if the local governments are also modifying the administrative structures between the two, like joint purchasing, consolidated clerk functions, etc.
Q4: Is the same plan for supporting the Opportunity Agenda?
A4: A project submitted through the LGE program can support a region’s Opportunity Agenda by promoting efficiencies in local government services in that area.
Q5: Is the planning grant harder to get than the Implementation grant?
A5: Often it is easier for an applicant to show cost savings to be realized through an implementation grant. However, if the planning component confirms the feasibility of implementation, that project is more competitive than a simple planning project.
Q6: Is the maximum grant of $1 million for the total of all the municipalities?
A6: Yes. The limit for an individual municipality is $200,000, with a project cap of $1 million. So five municipalities must work together in order to be eligible for full implementation funding.
Q7: Can you expand why the government is providing grants to local governments?
A7: The Local Government Efficiency (LGE) program available through the Department of State’s Division of Local Government Services is committed to assisting local officials implement opportunities to reduce expenses. The LGE grant program is one opportunity to do this and can provide local governments with the needed financial assistance to implement a project that is currently not feasible. DOS also offers direct technical assistance to local officials who are exploring these opportunities.
Q8: I am interested in the Local Government Efficiency Grant Program for the village of Brockport planning portion of a project?
A8: This may be eligible for LGE assistance. Please apply through the CFA, specifically describing your proposal and how it will reduce local costs and increase service efficiencies.
Q9: Regarding the Local Government Efficiency Program, it doesn’t have to be consolidation of agencies?
A9: No, it does not have to be a full consolidation of government agencies, although often these projects can produce the most benefit. Other examples may include a joint insurance program for multiple municipalities or sharing of highway functions between departments.
Q10: Local governments often have multiple departments, like code enforcement, economic development, community development, etc. Each often have their own procedures and processes, and way of collecting data and going through their processes and procedures to get what they do done. Would a project to install software and implement procedures to streamline these processes be eligible?
A10: Yes. The LGE program is also available to provide direct technical assistance on many of these issues. Please contact the Division of Local Government Services directly at 518-474-3355, for additional information.
Q: Could you kindly share sample event, progress status, mid-year expenditure, final expenditure and Form D reports? This will help us to understand the quantitative measurement and evaluation aspects of the program.
A: Below are the report templates from last year. Be advised, updates are made to the templates as needed.
Q: We plan to target schools that will meet the 50% free/reduced lunch threshold; however, there is a community of Native Americans that we also plan to work with. Therefore could you provide information as to the income eligibility documentation that we would need to collect from individuals that are served under the program, when their participation is not already covered by an eligible school district?
A: Individuals are income eligible based on the Community Service Block which is 125% below poverty level. It is acceptable to use a letter from the school the students attend stating they qualify for free/reduced lunch at the school even it the school does not exceed the 50% threshold.
Q: Does HESC have any expectations around the number of individuals to be served during the project term of 1/1/14 to 8/31/14?
A: There is no guideline, however applications will be evaluated based on effective and efficient delivery of services to the greatest number of students.
Q: Are any reports available with regard to the HESC's overall performance in recent years under its CACG funding? Or with regard to its current and past sub-grantees? If yes could you provide?
A: Each subgrantee provides its own measurable outcomes in its proposal and is evaluated on their final performance based on the parameters provided in the proposal. For a list of current and past subgrantees visit www.hesc.ny.gov/cacg.
Q: Can the focus of this year's challenge grant be adult students, or does it need to be traditional-aged college students?
A: Per the description of the program in the CFA guideline document, services must be targeted to students and families who are living below the poverty line applicable to the individual’s family size (as determined under section 673(2) of the Community Service Block Grant Act). You should state that it is an adult student population that is to be served by your project. Additionally, this would also be addressed in your narrative.
Question 1: Can current SNAP Venture providers apply for the SNAP Opportunities Program?
Answer: Yes. However, an agency must use separate funding for the non-federal funding requirement. An agency cannot use the non-federal funds that they are using for the Venture Program.
Question 2: Can a non-public entity utilize the wages paid by employers to clients as part of the non-federal funding?
Answer: No. Wages paid by employers cannot be used as the non-federal funding as wages are not an allowable SNAP E&T expenditure.
Question 3: Where does training for the program take place?
Answer: OTDA does not dictate where the training for each program takes place. Agencies submitting an application will discuss the types of training and where those services will be provided as part of their proposal.
Question 4: Do you apply for the SNAP Opportunities Program using the Consolidated Funding Application?
Answer: Yes. You must use the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to apply for funding. You may access the CFA at the following address: https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/
Question 5: Can conflict resolution be considered part of the training program in the SNAP Opportunities funding?
Answer: Yes, if it focuses on the workplace. Communication skills and how to deal with people in the workplace are examples of what could be considered job readiness training which is an allowable component.
Question 6: Is the SNAP Opportunities Program a matching funds program?
Answer: No. The SNAP Opportunities Program is a 50% reimbursement program. The 50% reimbursement means that agencies are reimbursed for 50% of the “Total” allowable expenditures up to the grant award. For simplicity, if an agency has $100,000 of non-federal funding for the program they could receive $100,000 in reimbursement funding for a total of $200,000 available to support program services.
Question 7: Is the SNAP Opportunities Program a one year program?
Answer: The initial contract period will run for a one-year period beginning January 1, 2014, with the option to extend for an additional two years. Depending on the outcome of this initial effort, OTDA may, at its discretion, determine that a new solicitation is necessary to most effectively meet the needs of the REDC Opportunity Agenda. OTDA may also decide to discontinue any funding it makes available through the REDC. Additionally, any further contract award may be limited based on program performance.
Question 8: If a client is in subsidized employment, would the employment be eligible once the individual transitions to unsubsidized employment?
Answer: Yes. However, the 90 days permitted for retention services will start from the day the individual transitions to unsubsidized employment.
Question 9: Must 16 or 17 year old clients not be enrolled in school to be eligible for the program?
Question 10: Can transportation be provided to people for job search?
Answer: Yes, within reason. The amount, duration, etc. will be negotiated through contract development.
Question 11: Can this program provide funding for training to be job eligible and include transportation for rural recipients?
Answer: Yes, within reason. The, amount, duration, etc. will be negotiated through contract development.
Question 12: Is the 90 day job retention for the SNAP Opportunity grant part of training in our organization?
Answer: No. The 90 day job retention is related to unsubsidized employment. It is not part of the training.
Question 13: Since we bus our high school students to a regional BOCES facility for their first time career training, would the grant cover that even though transportation costs are in there?
Answer: If your intention is to serve clients who are in high school, please be advised that this is not the intention of the SNAP Opportunities Program. To be eligible for SNAP Opportunities, SNAP Applicants and Recipients must be at least 18 years old or 16-17 and not in school. While some high school students may be eligible for services because they are over 18, using the funds to provide the transportation as described would not be allowable because it would be considered supplanting funding for basic educational programs that are normally available to citizens of a state, county or local jurisdiction and are supported by funds from those entities.
Question 14: Does this program have anything to do with nutrition?
Answer: No, the funds used to support this program are SNAP Employment and Training funds. It is the employment and training component of the SNAP program.
Question 15: Can multiple agencies contribute toward the match?
Answer: Yes. Multiple agencies may contribute to the non-federal funding. Each agency would be required to submit the non-federal funding agreement attesting that the funds are not federal in nature or currently being used to draw down federal funds.
Question 16: Can a BOCES use OJT funds?
Answer: It depends on the source of those funds and whether those funds are used to draw other federal funding.
Question 17: Can an agency enroll someone who is working but receiving SNAP benefits?
Answer: Yes. However, in order to receive credit for the 90 job retention for an individual who is employed at enrollment, the client must obtain a new job as a result of their involvement in the program. The new job must also result in a 20% increase in monthly wages as compared to their original employment.
Question 18: Can a non-profit agency use “In-Kind” as the non-federal funding requirement?
Answer: No. Non-profit agencies may not use “In-Kind” funds as the non-federal share for the SNAP Opportunities program.
Question 1: Can anyone on Food Stamps (SNAP) be a participant of the program?
Answer: Yes. Provided they meet the following two criteria:
1. They are NOT in receipt of TANF; and
2. They are 18 years of age or 16 - 17 and not in high school.
* Each program may have additional criteria for participation in their respective programs such as a required reading or math level.
Question 2: Who set the employment criteria?
Answer: OTDA set the employment criteria based on the current minimum wage and 30 hours per week employment.
Question 3: Our program currently has SNAP Ventures III. What can be used as a match? (To qualify for more funding)?
Answer: A current SNAP E&T Venture contractor can apply for SNAP Opportunities. The agency cannot use the same non-federal funds used for the Venture program to meet the non-federal funding requirement for SNAP Opportunities. An agency will have to find other funding that meets the non-federal funding criteria to be eligible.
Question 4: Our organization serves Immigrants who do not qualify to receive SNAP benefits but their children currently get SNAP benefits. Are the clients we serve eligible for the program?
Answer: No. In order to receive services, a participant must be an applicant for or recipient of SNAP benefits.