The Match

• Local Option Sales Tax Revenues: Local option sales taxes are generally subject to a referendum. Consequently, if the referendum is approved, it stipulates that funds be directed to specific purposes as defined in the referendum. For example, if the referendum stipulates that 30 percent of the revenue be used to fund an aquatic center, this is what the funds would have to be used for. Alternatively, if the referendum stipulated that a percentage of funding should be used for economic development –- without defining what economic development meant –- then the elected body overseeing the use of the funds could determine how the percentage of monies could be used. Regardless, one should seek the counsel of a bonding attorney and/or municipal financial advisor to determine eligibility rules concerning the use of these revenues.

• Special Assessments: Special assessments are additional taxes paid by property owners who receive direct benefits from a public improvement project. Common examples include street or sidewalk improvements. For these projects, the city council may decide to make property owners located along the proposed alignment help fund improvements costs. Occasionally, special assessment revenue can be used to leverage external grants to fund trails, streetscapes or other related improvements.

Before we fully close the discussion on hard match, I would encourage you to research potential funding sources and determine how many grants were awarded when only the minimum match requirement was satisfied.

The reason this is important is because many applicants will attempt to bolster support with the grant reviewer by increasing the local funding match beyond the minimum required. Getting a sense of how match served as an influence in funding awards will help you determine if it is necessary or not.

As previously stated, soft match is defined by the commitment of time and resources. Many grant programs will limit the percentage of soft match, giving greater deference to hard match.

Nevertheless, if you know that a significant percentage of your time will be dedicated to implementing and managing the project, consider tracking time spent via time sheets or other forms of time tracking.

While matching funds may not be as exciting as securing a grant, it is frequently the difference between getting the grant or not. Use these tips to help plan for your next grant opportunity or to overcome hurdles you may have encountered in previous pursuits.

Jim Halverson is a senior project manager and grant writer for Howard R. Green Company (HRG). One of HRG’s most successful grant writers, Halverson has won funding on every grant he has authored for HRG clients.

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