Changes to State Aid Application Process

Overview

Changes are coming! The process to submit State Aid applications is changing for Fiscal Year 2020.

Public Library State Aid applications will open on February 1, 2020, and close on March 31, 2020. The window to complete State Aid applications has been extended to allow time for librarians to work with their local auditors to compile the information needed and for the auditors to certify the State Aid applications.

The new process detailed below has been put in place to provide an additional level of accountability to ensure that figures supplied on application forms have been input by library directors and reviewed by auditors for accuracy prior to their submission. As a result, State Aid to Public Library checks for Fiscal Year 2020 will be issued in April.

Also, in February, NDSL hosted a webinar that reviewed the State Aid application. That webinar can be found on NDSL’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQMiEtedxII

The Changes

All libraries and city/county auditors with mill levies in place for library service should have received correspondence from NDSL to make them aware that State Aid applications will now need to be certified by the city and/or county auditors of each of their taxing jurisdictions before the applications are completely submitted to NDSL.

NDSL will no longer be pre-populating certain information. Library directors will need to populate the application with:

  • Taxable valuation* [Question 2.1]
    • All taxable property located within the boundaries of the library service area. This figure should reflect the taxable value the auditor supplied to the ND Tax Department for the 2018 year. Figure should not reflect a value pertaining to the property the library itself is on, or housed within.
    • This figure should be obtained from the 2018 abstracts for cities and / or counties.
  • Library’s total operating expenditures [Question 2.2]
    • Figure supplied should reflect the actual total sum of all expenditures made by the library during the 2019 year.
  • Number of mills levied for library service* [Question 2.3] 
    • The actual number of mills levied by city or county to establish and maintain public library service. This figure should reflect the number of mills levied for library service that the auditor supplied to the ND Tax Department for the 2018 year.
    • This figure should be obtained from the 2018 abstracts for cities and / or counties.
  • Dollars levied for library service* [Question 2.4]
    • Figure supplied should reflect the total dollars of revenue generated from the mills levied for library service that the auditor supplied to the ND Tax Department for the 2018 year.
    • This figure should be obtained from the 2018 abstracts for cities and / or counties.
  • Other public funds allocated to library by city/county* [Question 2.5] 
    • Figure supplied should reflect any / all additional revenues, beyond those generated from the mill levy for library service, that were determined by the taxing jurisdiction during the 2018 year.
    • This figure should be obtained from the 2018 abstracts for cities and / or counties.
  • Total funds appropriated for library service [Question 2.6] 
    • Figure should represent the total dollar amount of revenue that the library received from the taxing jurisdiction during the 2018 year. This can be determined by calculating the sum of the values submitted for questions 2.4 and 2.5.

[All items denoted with an asterisk (*) will need to be obtained from auditors.]

NDSL encourages library directors to communicate the changes to their auditors and discuss a timeline for submitting the information.

The New Process

  1. As usual, the library director accesses the application on Counting Opinions on or after the opening date (February 1, 2020). [Remember: Counting Opinions login credentials have changed. Libraries should have already received notice of this from NDSL.]
  2. The library director fills in the information on the application, including the information provided by the auditor (see the list in the previous section).
  3. The information prefilled in Section I of the State Aid application must be certified as accurate by the library director and the Eligibility Determination (SFN 51299) section must be completed in order for it to be submitted.
  4. After the library director successfully submits the application, a copy of the application form should be downloaded / printed and provided to the auditor along with the Public Library State Aid Mill Levy Certification form (SFN 61747) to enable the auditor to review and verify the library’s State Aid application.
  5. The auditor must complete and return the certification form to the State Library by fax (701-328-2040) or scanned email (ndsladmn@nd.gov) by March 31, 2020. Failure to submit the auditor’s certification will render the application ineligible for State Aid.

If an auditor determines there is a discrepancy within the State Aid application that needs to be corrected:

  1. The library director must contact NDSL to have the application on Counting Opinions unlocked.
  2. Once changes are made, the application must be re-submitted (via Counting Opinions) by the library director.
  3. A copy of the corrected application must be printed / downloaded and supplied to the auditor for review prior to the auditor completing the Public Library State Aid Mill Levy Certification form (SFN 61747).
  4. The auditor must complete and return the certification form to the State Library by fax (701-328-2040) or scanned email (ndsladmn@nd.gov) by March 31, 2020.

Questions?

If you have any questions or need additional clarification, please contact the State Library Administration Office at 1-800-472-2104 or ndsladmn@nd.gov.

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