October 17, 2009


Cortland, Marathon get grants

Funds will help pay for systems to improve their recordkeeping

Staff Reporter

Cortland County will receive a $40,003 grant to complete the second phase of a project to replace the county’s metal shelves used for keeping inactive records with electronic moving shelves.
The village of Marathon, meanwhile, received received a $29,165 grant to improve its recordkeeping.
The grants were part of $5.6 million in grants to hundreds of state governments and community organizations that Commissioner of Education David Steiner announced Wednesday.
The county’s and the city’s inactive records are kept in the Records Storage Center on Port Watson Street. Records become inactive when county and city departments no longer need to keep them in their offices. Inactive records still need to be stored unless they reach the end of their required storage time, said Deputy Record Clerk Jeremy Boylan.
In the first phase of the project, completed in April, half of the metal shelves were replaced with electronic shelves, adding 725 cubic feet of storage space to the room, Boylan said. It cost about $55,000, he said.
Boylan said the second phase of the project will increase the storage center’s capacity by 25 percent, or by about 1,000 cubic feet.
All inactive records were stored on metal shelves, until last year, Boylan said.
Metal shelves are kept in rows with aisles in between each row. The electronic shelves take up less space because all the shelves are clustered together. By pressing a button, recordkeepers can open the doors and create a single aisle in between two stacks of shelves.
Boylan applied for $60,000 to complete the second phase of the project, expecting that amount would cover the costs of replacing all the building’s shelves with electronic shelves.
He said he is not sure if the $40,003 will complete the project because it depends on how much the company charges to provide and install the system.
“I’m hoping that with the economy in the shape that it’s in we’ll get a good price because people need the work,” Boylan said.
Boylan added that it was a very competitive grant season, and most agencies applying for state grants have not received their requested amounts.
“I feel pretty lucky that we got the $40,000 that we did get,” he said.
The village of Marathon’s grant will be used to better organize its records and to create an inventory of every piece of property the village owns, said Mayor John Pitman. The village’s records are kept in file cabinets and inside a safe in the village office. The money will be used to hire experts to assist in the project and for other costs, such as buying new file cabinets, Pitman said.
For the 2009-10 funding period, the State Archives received 465 applications for Local Government Record grants, requesting approximately $17 million.
After review, 207 grant requests were approved, with an award total of about $5.5 million in local records grants. There were also about $100,000 in Documentary Heritage Program grants awarded to community organizations.
Local Government Records grants averaged $26,934, according to a news release from the state Department of Education.
Local Government Records grants are funded by the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund, which derives its revenues from a small percentage of the fees paid when people file or record documents with county clerks and the Register of the City of New York.


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