The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials : Page: 47
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cerned with checking off a list of
hypothetical requirements and processes
than with seeing that a program meets
reasonable performance objectives. One
result is that they are swamped with
paper; projects go on for years before approval
and payment, with significant cost
to the recipient. No one can identify the
cost to the taxpayer of this emphasis on
process at either end of the grant
County administrator, Virginia.
The Federal grant system, despite recent
attempts to improve its functioning,
remains a formidable structure. Program
guidelines and requirements are constantly
being revised, changed and/or
terminated, leaving municipalities with
no alternative but to comply with the
latest set of requirements. The increased
requirements and obligations which are
being placed on municipalities come at a
time when most municipalities cannot afford
these additional administrative
costs, and ironically, when the level of
Federal funding and the number of relevant
Federal programs is continually
being diminished. -
City manager, New
Other general indictments included the oftrepeated
charge of "too much paperwork" (mentioned
by ten officials); a California city manager's
plaintive, "There's got to be a better way;" a
Florida county administrator's comment that the
"Federal grants system needs to incorporate local
government input to the entire process;" a Georgia
city manager's view that "for the most part, the
bureaucrats have very little understanding of how
local government works, and therefore are not even
qualified to write regulations which govern local
government;" and an Illinois county official's suspicion
that "Washington offices deliberately comPlicate
the regions' role in order that the problem
must be corrected in Washington, thereby justifying
the existence of the Washington decision process."
Specific criticisms were more numerous:
Federal agencies don't publish regulations
prior to a program's going into
effect.--City manager, Arizona.
Time delay between application and
grant release makes local budgeting
Rules and regulations change without
notice.-City manager, California.
Final decisions on grant applications
are too often made on the format of the
application, not the content. -City
Someone should update the Federal
Register system. Regulations promulgated
under this system are difficult to
read, seem to be all too "wordy," and then
are codified by agency by numerical
City manager, Florida.
Grant management circulars, although
well meaning and for the most part well
written, are not being adhered to by Federal
agencies. -County manager, New
The new (A-95) procedure requires review
from another imposed level of government
and in many cases they are not
responsive to the needs of local communities.
City manager, Ohio.
There is no similarity between the Federal
and state accounting procedures,
which necessitates maintaining two sets
of financial data for any given project.
-City manager, Ohio.
(2) Preference for general revenue sharing over
either block grants or categorical grants. Typical
I think categorical grants are needed in
some instances but by and large, revenue
sharing with flexibility is to be preferred.
County commission chairman,
There is a human tendency by city
councils to approve Federal grant programs
because the money is tendered
regardless of the worth or need for the
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United States. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials :, book, March 1977; Washington, D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1368/m1/55/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.