WILMINGTON -- The town is looking at a way to fund the continuing task of digitizing its vital records.
Since Tropical Storm Irene, when Wilmington Town Clerk Susie Haughwout saved records from flood waters, there has been an effort to digitize not only land records, but other important documents within the town. The plan is to not have the records be at risk during another potential disaster.
Wilmington has had success securing money from other grant opportunities from the state, such as the feasibility study for the co-relocation of the police and fire departments. Now, it will seek funding for the digitization project.
On Sept. 4, members of the Selectboard met to hold a second public hearing to authorize the grant application for a Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery grant. The application requires a public hearing, where minutes are transcribed then attached to the application.
When the hearing was warned earlier in the summer, it had been missing a section that explained how those who are hearing impaired could participate in the process of commenting on the application. Because the grant would draw on federal funds, it is a mandatory part of warning the meeting. The Selectboard was required to hold another public hearing. The first public hearing for the CDBG-DR grant application was held on July 17.
The request to digitize records asks for $157,542 with a $15,754 match from the town. The total cost of the project will be $173,292.
During the July meeting, Haughwout was asked about the current status of making the files digital as the project had already began.
"Land records were done from 2003 to the flood and are now web-based and current going forward," stated the minutes. "Prior to 2003 and the gap after the flood need to be done."
The funds for the grant would be administered through the state's CDBG program, which is financially supported by federal disaster recovery funds.
"There's no specific timeline," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy. "We're hoping to get this into the next Vermont Community Development Board meeting, which happens once a month."
He told the Reformer that he thought the meeting will be held in the middle of this month and the town is hoping to hear the decision by approximately Sept. 19.
"After that, if it's approved, then we would go through the process of signing the grant agreement," Murphy said.
The agreement would include requirements and amendments. That process could take about a month to review and send back.
"We're looking at November or December before it goes forward," said Murphy.
There hadn't been any feedback from Community Development representatives on the grant application, which Murphy said could be a good thing because no issues had been raised yet. In other instances, feedback was given to make the town aware of any potential problems with the application.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.