The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials : Page: 70
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that are subject to negotiation and adjustment by
grantor and grantee administrators. This is reflected
in the high problem rating in the Federal
survey given to paper work, time for processing
applications, and obtaining prompt policy interpretations.
Except for the fairly high scores
given to complexity of reporting, accounting and
auditing requirements, and time required for issuance
of regulations and guidelines, the high ratings
on the state side are given more to matters like
the sure flow of state funds and the fairness of fund
distribution formulas. This suggests that local officials
need to look more to state legislators than to
state administrators for relief from these grant
problems. Moreover, this overall contrast may reflect
the greater role of project grants in the Federal
grant system and suggest that most state aids are
not as tied up by guidelines and regulations as are
The remaining analysis of the responses to this
question focuses on the top three problem areas.
The results are summarized in Table II-28.
The rank order listing of problem areas in Table
II-27 shows the seriousness of the problems relative
to one another, in the eyes of the responding
officials. Column (1) in Table II-28 provides a
further measure of the problems' impacts by showing
how serious each of the top three was viewed in
their respective communities by those who
deemed it a problem. The officials were asked to
rate "seriousness" on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 "most
For the cities, all three problems under each of
the three categories were rated over 3, the midpoint
of the scale, except for "complexity of reporting,
accounting and auditing" under formula grants.
The three were listed in the same order of seriousness
as they were ranked by frequency of occurrence
in Table II-27, except that items 2 and 3
under project grants were assigned about the same
order of seriousness. This tends to support the conclusion
drawn from Table II-27 regarding the relative
severity of these problems in the minds of the
The same general conclusion pertains to the
difficulties as seen by county officials, with the
notable exception of "complexity of reporting, accounting
and auditing requirements" under general
support grants. This problem clearly is rated
less serious than the "degree to which distribution
formulas reflect program needs and fiscal effort."
Thus, fewer officials saw the distribution formula
as a problem under general support grants, but
those who did, on the average, felt that it was a
more serious challenge than those who saw the
"complexity" matter as a problem.
The "complexity" issue also received a below
midpoint rating under formula grants. The rela'
tively low seriousness rating of this problem for
both general support and formula grants by county
officials and for formula grants by city officials
suggests that, while the reporting, accounting and
auditing requirements constitute a widespread
source of irritation to local officials, they do not
consider the problem of these requirements as
serious as the other problems, particularly the uln
certainty of fund flow and the inequitability of
Column (2) in Table II-28 reflects the views Of
responding officials on whether the identified
problems had improved, remained the same, or
gotten worse in the past five years. For the cities,
except for one problem with project grants, all the
problems were seen as becoming slightly to mod'
erately worse. The exception
the "degree to
which state aids constitute a coherent system" was
viewed as becoming slightly better in the five'
year span. It should be noted that under formula
grants, the uncertainty of fund flow was seen as
growing noticeably more of a problem through
time than the fairness of the distribution formulas,
which had been cited by more of the responding
Among the county officials, their three chief
problems in all three groups of grants were seen as
getting worse and to a greater extent than those
identified by their city counterparts. In several
cases, problems that were rated as less serious tha1
others on a frequency basis by the county officials
were seen by more officials to have become worse
in the past five years. The outstanding example is
complexity of reporting, accounting and auditing
requirements under formula grants which is giVel'
a higher deterioration grade than the uncertainty
fund flow. This is the case despite the fact that the
same problem was the only one seen by countY
officials in column (1) as having been below the
midpoint so far as seriousness was concerned.
Overall, the city officials expressed the view
that, among the three most frequently occurring
problems in each of the grant groupings, those
under the general support grants were most ser'
ous; on the other hand, they thought the top problems
they identified under formula grants had de'
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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/m1/78/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.