Local Records Grant Program extended indefinitely, thanks to Secretary of State’s effort

OLYMPIA — A highly successful grant program that assists counties and cities with managing their records will live on now that the Governor signed HB 1667 into law Tuesday. The measure removes the expiration date from the Local Records Grant Program, which is managed by the Washington State Archives.

In San Juan County, several government organizations have received grants including Public Works, the Assessor's Office,  Public Hospital District #1, #2 and #3, Fire District #4 and the Port of Friday Harbor. Some received funds to organize their file rooms, other received technology tools and some had digital scanning. List of recipients of second round of grants.

“In many of Washington’s small towns and cities, valuable historic public documents are literally kept in closets or stored in someone’s basement,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman, whose office oversees the State Archives. “By continuing this grant program, the state is demonstrating its interest in the organization and preservation of irreplaceable records, and providing a means with which resource-strapped local governments can make that happen.” 

Through this grant program, Archives has dispersed nearly $2 million in the past few years for records organization and technology improvements to local governments across the state. Any local government agency or entity can apply, such fire, school, and hospital districts, counties, cities, towns, and others.

“We’d been pushing for a stay of execution for the program for months, so to see it approved unanimously in the waning hours of the legislative session was a huge relief,” said State Archivist Steve Excell. “The amount of good work done by local governments through these grants is phenomenal.”

The Secretary of State awards the grants based on recommendations from the Archives Oversight Committee, a collection of county auditors, county clerks, and representatives from local government. Preference for grant awards is given to an entity’s size, need, and to its ability to improve public records retention, records management, and public disclosure.

Washington’s Office of Secretary of State oversees a number of areas within state government, including managing state elections, registering corporations and charities, and governing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also manages the State Archives and the State Library, documents extraordinary stories in Washington’s history through Legacy Washington, oversees the Combined Fund Drive for charitable giving by state employees, and administers the state’s Address Confidentiality Program to help protect survivors of crime.

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