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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Default How to account for matching $$

    We've discussed matching funds before, but I have a specific question that I'm not 100% sure of.

    I know that I can spend all the grant money before I spend our matching funds, but consider this scenario.

    --We don't have access to our matching funds until after the first of the year, when the cities new Fiscal year starts.

    --Through competitive bidding, we learned we can fund our entire project by utilizing only our federal money. That means that our excess money would basically be all our matching funds.

    --So if we hang on to our matching funds until after the first of the year, and need to spend it all on a fire prevention project, is that OK? What if FEMA were to reject our Fire Prevention project, and we are still left needing to spend $7000 in matching funds....how could we do it--especially if we already spent $5000 in excess funds for another budget item?

    Any ideas?


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    If I were you, I'd be careful about spending only the fed's money. You should be requesting only the federal share when you make a payment request and not the full amount. When they look at your spending, they'll look at the whole bill and match it up to the requested amount. Sounds like you'd be looking for trouble if you didn't spend any of your money until the very end. And I don't think you can spend all of the federal $ before you spend your matching funds. They go hand in hand. You may just have to wait for 3 months to get your stuff.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboczek
    And I don't think you can spend all of the federal $ before you spend your matching funds. They go hand in hand. You may just have to wait for 3 months to get your stuff.
    I'm not sure if that's correct....everything I've read says the fed's are only concerned about the ending accounting, not the process. However, I'm not sure how it works in regards to excess funds spent on FP projects....

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    To use the $7000 towards the fire prevention program requires the feds approval for the program you are trying to fund. If you are having a problem with a FP program that will use the entire amount, there is one other option. You can return any unspent portion, then it will be used for supplemental grants.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle
    To use the $7000 towards the fire prevention program requires the feds approval for the program you are trying to fund.
    I understand that...

    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle
    You can return any unspent portion, then it will be used for supplemental grants.
    I understand this too, and that could be an option. (we returned ALL excess funds last year). However, this amount left over is actually about exactly what we would apply for for th 05 FP grant, and if we used this left over for FP&S we would not apply for the 05FP.

    Anyway, the main question still is, can I use our matching funds for FP&S?

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    When it's all said and done, with what you've bought including the regular equipment grant and the FP stuff with the so-called excess funds, as long as you've spent at least 5% of the total monies, no problem. So yes, if you needed to spend all of your matching on FP at a later date to make the equations right, then no biggie. There is no requirement on where or when you spend your part of the money. That's why I recommend vehicle awards use their matching to add to the 25% deposit that can be made with fed funds to get a slightly bigger discount.

    And don't forget, the excess funds FP projects are not as strict, all you have to do is make sure it's eligible in the program in the first place, and it will be approved. Laptops & projectors, smoke detectors, software for FP and creating FP presentations and assessments, extinguisher training, handouts, etc, etc, are all approved FP programs. All it takes is a phone call to your grant specialist, and it's approved. It's a ton easier getting things approved because they are excess funds.

  7. #7
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    I have learned that managing our grants may be as difficult as writing them. I hate the learn as you go approach dealing with federal money.

    Our first grant was a vehicle, with the cab & chassis being purchased locally which complicated the project but saved a lot of money. The delivery time for the chassis was extended greatly from time of the bid process to when the order was placed. We opened a savings account to be used for AFG funds only, but stupidly, we paid for everything with dept. checks and then transferred the AFG funds into our checking account. The other bad on our part, was the savings account which was earning interest. After hours spent to develope a spreadsheet, that accurately tracked every detail, including the amount of interest we had to return, I knew there had to be an easier way.

    For the '04 and all subsequent grants, we changed the account into a non-interest bearing account. All Fema funds go into the account, and all purchases are paid from it with cashier's checks. If we have our matching funds at the time; we deposit our match, if not, we use all federal funds and then deposit our share when we can.

    I use a spreadsheet to track all purchases, and keep a running total on funds spent, both federal and local.

    Good luck, I hope this helps.
    Last edited by AFD333; 09-24-2005 at 05:02 PM.

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    Back to the original issue: I pretty certain that you MUST spend your matching percentage, no matter what! If you got a better price, you have to pay 10% on that and if you use the left over federal funds for anything you'll have to pay out your origninal 10% matching money.
    We've done this twice now. Last year we had about $2000 to use outside the original grant and this year $10,000. Both times when you submit the request for federal funds to be directed to you account I thought it was clear that you had to spend you 10%. You can not spend only the feds 90% and say in the end, we got a better deal. Otherwise next year we'll all pad the budget to absorb 10%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Back to the original issue: I pretty certain that you MUST spend your matching percentage, no matter what! If you got a better price, you have to pay 10% on that and if you use the left over federal funds for anything you'll have to pay out your origninal 10% matching money.
    We've done this twice now. Last year we had about $2000 to use outside the original grant and this year $10,000. Both times when you submit the request for federal funds to be directed to you account I thought it was clear that you had to spend you 10%. You can not spend only the feds 90% and say in the end, we got a better deal. Otherwise next year we'll all pad the budget to absorb 10%.
    Yes, you must spend your matching money, but it is not required to be at the same time, it just has to be within the Period of Performance (12 months from date of award). So if you were awarded on June 15th 2004, then on June 15, 2005, if you had spent $100K total, $5K yours, $95K feds, it does not matter if you spent the $95K feds first and then had BBQs to raise your $5K over the next 10 months. Most departments that are awarded do not have the matching funds at the time of award, which is why there is no requirement to have it then.

    Personally, I recommend that you spend your matching on every single purchase to make the tracking easier. So when you spend $20K on equipment, spend $19K fed, $1000 of your own. That way if you end up with $9500 in Federal Funds at the end of buying everything, you know you have to spend $500 of your own money if and when you use it. That is of course if you don't have to do like I mentioned above, which is raise your matching funds as you go.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Which was why they allow you to spend the matching funds within the POP. Some departments have budgets comprised of entirely of nothing but fundraising efforts, and they need the 12 months to actually raise their 5%.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

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    I knew I saw it somewhere. It's in the Powerpoint in the Instructor notes, that you can only see when viewing the PPT in design mode, and if you make that window visible in the menu.

    "The matching funds can be applied at any time during the period of performance; matching funds do not have to be in hand when the application is submitted or when the grant is awarded. However, a commitment to apply the match must be made at the time of award."

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    Default What about personal credit card use??

    We need to purchase a laptop computer with 2004 FPS funding. Small vollie department, small town. Can't get decent pricing within driving distance, and if we mail a check for purchase, can only get shipping to station address.

    Department has no credit or debit card, so can i use my personal card to purchase in the department name and be reimbursed by the department assuming we keep very detailed copies (including a copy of the credit card statement) in the files?? Is that opening the dept (and me personally) to undue scrutiny?? With nothing to hide, should we be concerned about scrutiny???
    Thanks,
    earl

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    I don't see why not as long as there's a paper trail. Lots of smaller departments don't have credit or debit cards, so I'm sure it wouldn't be the first time.

    From the keyboard jockey side of me, get a business class machine. Personal and home office computers aren't meant to take much use or abuse. I got an email ad for the Panasonic Toughbooks, and it mentioned prices in the $2000-2500 range for two models. Otherwise there are probably some deals on Dell Inspirons or HP NC-Series machines.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber ktb9780's Avatar
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    Greenacres I would echo Brian on that . Should be absolutely no problem there as long as you keep a good paper trail.
    Kurt Bradley
    Public Safety Grants Consultant

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    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    I don't see why not as long as there's a paper trail. Lots of smaller departments don't have credit or debit cards, so I'm sure it wouldn't be the first time.

    From the keyboard jockey side of me, get a business class machine. Personal and home office computers aren't meant to take much use or abuse. I got an email ad for the Panasonic Toughbooks, and it mentioned prices in the $2000-2500 range for two models. Otherwise there are probably some deals on Dell Inspirons or HP NC-Series machines.
    Brian, can you forward me the ad for the toughbooks? I'm working on purchasing 2 for an EMS grant I wrote, but the prices I'm finding around here are in the 3k range. wxce@spacestar.net is my addy.

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    I'll try and find it. It was actually link off of a Mypoints.com mailing. They probably weren't the latest and greatest, I remember low 1ghz processor speeds. Can't tell you why I remember that, but I do.

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    Default Toughbooks

    Brian,
    We are pretty much narrowed down to the Panasonic CF51 series. Heaviest of the "semi-rugged" line, it seems to offer the most processing for the $$. They have a 2ghz version with 512k and 80mb HD that can be had in the 2,500 range. Got a 533mhz front side bus too, which should help.

    ameryfd,
    Panasonic's website can guide you to a few online suppliers and if you call their federal sales line they will provide your request to a few vendors. Kind of a wierd system, and i'm not feeling entirely warm and fuzzy. CDW is a distributor as well, slightly more expensive than the two quotes i got through Panasonic, but they have a national image. We'll get it figured out soon.

    Kurt & Brian,
    Being able to use a personal credit card will also allow shipping to my home or office instead of the station which is not populated during the day. Makes me feel much better about a long distance purchase. Thanks for the information.

    Earl

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    Earl - you can always have it shipped to my house, I could use a new Toughbook. How about you Kurt? Earl's buying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    Earl - you can always have it shipped to my house, I could use a new Toughbook. How about you Kurt? Earl's buying.
    We're all relieved that you still have a house, my wife was afraid that we'd be taking in long term house guests up here in the lake-effect snow belt.

    Thanks for the offer to have our new box drop-shipped to the Vickery, but we just don't want to overburden the power grid while the recovery efforts are still going on!!

    edit: And Kurtens on your other shipping offer!!

    earl

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    I boarded up the house, that's why Rita went the other way. 2 full days of my neighbor and I helping each other in the 100+ heat index. The good thing is I have plenty of 3/4 plywood to build my shop tables with. Plenty of storage space, mounts for bench tools, and rolling to boot. Now if I could just make more than noise and sawdust....

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