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2011 Homeland Security Grant Program
Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Who can apply?
    Only eligible applicants may apply for HSGP funds. Eligible applicants include: Local units of government, as defined in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2005, refer to "any county, city, village, town, district, borough, special district, or other political subdivision of any State." The lead applicant is responsible for grant funds and administration: including but not limited to assurances and audit requirements, maintenance or records, etc.
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  • If a hospital is a partner of the applying agency, would the funds flow to the hospital or the applying agency?
    Only the applying agency would receive the funds.
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  • Can the applicant electronically send in an application?
    No. The Department of Safety – Grants Management Unit (DOS/GMU) needs a signed original with 2 copies. All competitive applications must be mailed and delivered to the DOS/GMU no later than noon (12:00 p.m. EST) on January 20, 2012.
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  • What is THIRA?
    Existing guidance on the development of a Hazard Mitigation Plan which includes references to guidance for the integration of man-made disasters into planning can be found in the State Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance (Mitigation Planning "Blue Book") at http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=3115. FEMA has adopted this approach and will further refine the process and disseminate guidance throughout FY 2011. An intergovernmental THIRA system is envisioned in the National Preparedness System in which jurisdictions' respective THIRAs can inform one another using a common methodological framework. Grantees should work with FEMA to incorporate emerging guidance into their THIRA as it becomes available.
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  • Who is awarding the funds to the sub-grantees? Is it the Federal Government or the State Government?
    The State receives the funds from the Federal Government and awards the sub-grantees.
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  • What is "WHOLE COMMUNITY", this is new this year?
    Whole of Community encompasses two key concepts:
    1. Ensuring that our response and recovery actions are driven by the actual needs of the entire affected community and the conditions on the ground, including the population demographics and geographic location; and
    2. Ensuring that we leverage and rely upon the resources of the entire emergency management team to the greatest extent possible in meeting these needs.
    3. Whole of Community is not merely catastrophic planning. Its concepts will eventually be applied across FEMA and impact every mission that FEMA executes. Whole of Community describes a distinct operational approach that reinforces the fact that FEMA is only one part of our nation's emergency management team; that we must leverage all of the resources of our collective team in preparing for, responding to, recovering from and mitigating against all hazards; and that collectively we must meet the needs of the entire community in each of these areas.
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  • If an application identifies multiple jurisdictions, must the application have signatures from each jurisdiction?
    Supporting documentation, such as letters of recommendation/support/MOUS, must be attached.
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  • Do specifications on purchases need to be included in the application?
    Yes, include anything that will make it clear to the reviewer as to what is being purchased and why it is needed.
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  • Can an agency submit more than one application?
    Yes, an agency can submit as many applications as they want. It is important that only one project be identified on each application.
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  • It is mentioned to use a Times New Roman standard font of 12. However spacing was not cited. Can the test be submitted as single spaced or is single/half or double spacing required?
    Single space is fine. There is not a requirement on spacing.
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  • Is there mandatory cost share or matching required?
    No – This grant is 100% federally funded.
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  • Are there any document pages that do not count as part of the page limit? For example, what if we need a page to cite our references? Does this page have to count?
    There is not a limit on supporting documents, attachments, or budget information.
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  • What is the period of the award?
    Projects funded under this program application have up to one month prior to the grant's federal expiration date to complete approved activities and submit their final reimbursement request including invoices and cancelled checks.
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  • What are the reporting requirements?
    Each project funded by the NH DOS under the HSGP shall contain an evaluation component. Quarterly reports containing programmatic and financial information will be required.

    The DOS/GMU may conduct periodic site visits to review grant compliance, assess management controls, assess the applicable activities and provide technical assistance. In addition, the subgrantee agrees to provide any data or information needed for the purposes of monitoring and program evaluation.

  • What are the Financial Requirements that pertain to this grant?
    The financial management requirements of federal and state government, as well as the NH Department of Safety's policies and procedures, govern grants funded under HSGP. Grant activities must be conducted in accordance with the applicable guidance of:
    • Administrative Requirements – 44 CFR part 13, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments, CFR Part 215, Institutions of Higher Education
    • Cost Principles – 2 CFR Part 225, State and Local Governments, 2 CFR Part 220, Educational Institutions, 2 CFR Part 230, Non-Profit Organizations, Federal Acquisition Regulation Sub-part 31.2, Contracts with Commercial Organizations
    • Audit Requirements – OMB Circular A-133, Audit of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations
    • OMB Circular A-21 Cost Principles for Education Institutions;
    • OMB Circular A-87 Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments;
    • OMB Circular A-102 Grants and Cooperative Agreements with State and Local Governments;
    • OMB Circular A-110 Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Other Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals and Other Non-Profit Organizations;
    • OMB Circulars A-122 Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations;
    • OMB Circular A-133 Audits of States, Local Governments and Non-profit Institutions
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  • What is supplanting and how does it apply to a project?
    Federal Homeland Security grant funds will be used to supplement (add to) existing funds, and will not supplant (replace) funds that have been locally appropriated for the same purpose. Potential supplanting will be addressed in the application review as well as in the pre-award review, post award monitoring, and the audit. Applicants and/or grantees will be/may be required to supply documentation certifying that a reduction in non-federal resources occurred for reasons OTHER than the receipt or expected receipt of federal Homeland Security grant funds.

    Supplanting funds is loosely defined (for these purposes) as using federal grant money to "replace" or "take the place of" existing local funding for equipment or programs. The funds are intended to provide local entities with increased capabilities or to build capacity to address CBRNE/WMD terrorist incidents. Federal Homeland Security grant funds cannot be used to replace aged, local equipment; instead they are intended to help increase capabilities. The funds are not to be used to replace items that are worn out/broken or for replacing (supplanting) routine local budget expenses.

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  • Is Project Income allowed?
    No. Project income is not allowable under the protocols of the NH Department of Safety.
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  • Can we contract with Consultants?
    Compensation for individual consultant services must be reasonable and consistent with that paid for similar services in the market place. The policy is that the maximum rate for consultants is $550 (excluding travel and subsistence costs) for an 8-hour day or $68.75 per hour. An 8-hour day may include preparation, evaluation and travel time in addition to the time required for the actual performance. Additionally, travel and subsistence costs may be paid. A request for compensation for over $550 a day requires prior approval and additional justification. This must also be approved by the US Department of Homeland Security/FEMA.

    Arrangements with individuals must ensure that:

    • Dual compensation is not involved (i.e., the individual may not receive compensation from his regular employer and the applicant for work performed during a single period of time even though the services performed benefit both).
    • The contractual agreement is written, formal, proper and otherwise consistent with the applicant's usual practices.
    • Time and/or services for which payment will be made and rates of compensation must be supported by adequate documentation.
    • Travel and subsistence costs are at an identified rate consistent with the cost allowed in Section III, Travel.
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  • What kind of equipment can I apply for?
    Equipment must be individually listed and approved through the original grant application or in subsequent grant adjustment notices prior to the purchase of the equipment. Allowable equipment categories for FY11 are listed in the application and on the Web-based Authorized Equipment List (AEL). Registration at this site is required. Once your registration is complete, you will be able to access the equipment list. Any questions concerning the eligibility of equipment should be forwarded to the DOS/GMU for clarification.

    Applicants shall use their own procurement procedures and regulations if they are more stringent than Federal Requirement 28 CFR Part 66 (formerly OMB Circular A-102) or OMB Circular A-110, as applicable. Minimum compliance is the federal standard. All efforts to expedite the procurement process should be made.

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  • What are the Unauthorized Program Expenditures?
    • Expenditures for items such as general-use software (word processing, spreadsheet, graphics, etc), general-use computers and related equipment (other than for allowable M & A activities, or otherwise associated preparedness or response functions), general-use vehicles, licensing fees, weapons systems and ammunition.
    • Acquisition of land
    • Hiring of public safety personnel
    • Activities unrelated to the completion and implementation of the SHSP
    • Other items not in accordance with the AEL or previously listed as allowable costs.
    • FCC Licenses
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  • If the state approves equipment within the application, is the local agency required to send out a bid?
    The local agency must follow the local procurement regulations and laws (see above).
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  • Is the installation of equipment considered construction?
    No, if it is considered as additional or related equipment costs not requiring EHP approval.
    Yes, if the equipment will be attached to a structure in any way or if the AEL lists EHP as a requirement.
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  • Is computer software allowable?
    Yes, if the software is used to accomplish the project activity. However, general use hardware and software is only an allowable cost under Management and Administration (M&A).
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  • Would the hiring of security personnel be allowable?
    No.
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  • When can I purchase items on the approved budget?
    After a sub-grant to a jurisdiction has been approved, DOS/GMU will issue an award document including grant requirements. Spending of funds may begin as soon as officials of the jurisdiction sign, date, and return the award documents to the DOS/GMU and you receive approval to proceed. Additional restrictions may be applied upon DOS and you will be notified of how to proceed with your grant at that time.
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  • How does the grant process work as far as getting reimbursed for expenditures?
    The sub-grants awarded by the DOS/GMU are reimbursement grants only, meaning that the jurisdiction must spend the money upfront and then apply to DOS for reimbursement of those expenditures. Jurisdictions may submit the proper documentation at any time after its expenditures (invoices and cancelled checks).
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  • Do I have to have cancelled checks before I can request reimbursement?
    Yes, invoices and cancelled check(s) are required before reimbursement will be made. Also, sub-recipients must also meet the following requirements before reimbursement:
    • NIMS compliance
    • Single Audit compliance
    • Completed quarterly report
    • Environmental approval (when project applicable)
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  • What is accepted as "proof of payment"?
    "Cancelled checks" or the bank screen print showing the payment is cleared and tied to that purchase.
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  • Why do I need to provide proof of payment?
    DOS "reimburses" only. Proof of payment ensures that the request is a reimbursement not an advance.
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  • What are the supporting documents needed to get reimbursed?
    All requests for reimbursement must include a copy of invoices (not statements or quotes) and proof of payment (see above). Exercise reimbursement requests must be coordinated through the Department of Safety, Homeland Security and Emergency Management's Exercise Coordinator, Katya Brennan. Training reimbursements will be coordinated through the Department of Safety, Fire Standards and Training and EMS's Training Coordinator, Captain Robert Pragoff. Payroll verification is mandatory for personnel reimbursement for training and exercises. See separate background for requirements.
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  • After a grant has been approved, may we make changes to the grant?
    Generally, changes in the intent of an award are not allowed. On a limited basis, DOS may consider some changes, but the jurisdiction will have to document justification for such an adjustment to the grant.
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  • Can changes be made in the grant budget?
    Changes are allowed within a grant's budget on a limited basis. But the entity must request those changes in writing along with a written justification for the adjustment. Entities may NOT move funds between grant awards such as from a Planning grant to an Equipment grant.
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  • What happens when all my grant funds have been expended?
    Once the spending cycle of a grant has been reached, all sub-grants are closed and any remaining funds from the awards are pooled. Extensions can be granted on a limited basis as long as the federal deadline is not violated. Extensions are granted only under special circumstances. The jurisdiction must justify and request the extension in writing.

    DOS will issue a Closeout Letter to the jurisdiction. Officials of the jurisdiction are asked to sign, date, and return a copy of the Closeout Letter to DOS. Monitoring visits will likely follow.

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  • Why am I required to keep documentation after my grant is closed?
    Federal law requires that documentation (all financial records, supporting documents, statistical records pertinent to the award0 be retained by each organization for at least three years from the date the grant is closed at the federal level. This may be up to 5 years from when your grant was completed. Check with DOS– GMU for specifics.
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  • What is NIMS Compliance?
    To be determined compliance, states, territories, tribal nations, and local governments must complete its respective metrics assessment (NIMSCAST) to demonstrate that they have met the expectation of all compliance objectives.
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  • Why are progress reports required?
    Progress reports are necessary to provide DOS the tools to meet its federal reporting and monitoring requirements on the status of grants awarded to the state.
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  • Who has to take NIMS and ICS training?
    Stakeholders will define the emergency management/response personnel within their jurisdiction, agency, or organization who require ongoing training. This includes all emergency services related disciplines such as EMS, hospitals, public health, fire service, law enforcement, public works/utilities, skilled support personnel, and other emergency management response, support and volunteer personnel. In general, determination should be made as follows:

    Entry level:

    • FEMA IS-700: NIMS, An Introduction
    • ICS-100: Introduction to ICS or equivalent First Line, Single Resource, Field Supervisors
    • IS-700A, ICS-1000, and ICS-200: Basic ICS or its equivalent: Middle Management; Strike Team Leaders, Division Supervisors, etc.
    • IS-700A, IS-800B NRF, ICS-100, ICS-200 and ICS-300: Command and General Staff.
    • IS-700A, IS-800B NRF, ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300, and ICS-400: Command Staff

    Please note that for grant eligibility, NH DOS/GMU requires ICS to the 200 level for first responders and ICS 300/400 for fire chief officers and others.

    For further information, please contact Captain Robert Pragoff at the DOS – Fire Standards and Training and EMS (603-223-4200).

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  • What are the requirements for an HSEEP compliance exercise program?
    HSEEP Compliance is defined as adherence to specific HSEEP-mandated practices for exercise program management, design, development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. In order for an entity to be considered HSEEP compliant it must satisfy four distinct performance requirements:
    1. Conducting an annual Training and Exercise Plan Workshop and developing and maintaining a Multi-year Training and Exercise Plan.
    2. Planning and conducting exercises in accordance with the guidelines set forth in HSEEP Volumes I-III.
    3. Developing and submitting a properly formatted After-Action Report/Improvement Plan (AAR/IP). The format for the AAR/IP is found in HSEEP Volume III.
    4. Tracking and implementing corrective actions identified in the AAR/IP.
    For further information, please contact Katya Brennan, DOS–Homeland Security and Emergency Management (603-223-3638).
   
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