Q. How can a facility receive funding from the Commission?
A. The General Assembly and Governor select the Commission's projects. All of the projects that are funded through the Commission are assigned to it in the state’s biennial capital budgets. The Commission does not have discretionary control over decisions regarding capital funds.
Q. What should project sponsors do to be considered for a capital appropriation from the state?
A. Community leaders and project sponsors are responsible for approaching their area's representatives in the General Assembly to request that particular projects be considered for state funding. There is no official application process, although the Commission makes available a pre-assessment form and instructions for use by project sponsors, when a pre-assessment is requested by a legislator.
Q. When is the next capital bill?
A. Biennial capital budgets are generally adopted by the Legislature in the spring or summer of even-numbered years.
Q. Can a for-profit organization receive state funding via the Commission?
A. Only 501(c)(3) organizations incorporated in Ohio and local Ohio governments (usually a city or county government) may receive funding from the Commission.
Q. What types of facilities can be funded through the Commission?
A. By law, "Ohio cultural facilities” include facilities for the public presentation of visual and performing arts, museums for the presentation of science, technology and transportation, local historical facilities, state historical facilities and facilities for education and training in the arts and design.
"Ohio sports facilities” include all or a portion of a publicly-owned stadium, arena, tennis facility, motorsports complex, or other facility in Ohio that serves as a venue for motorsports events, professional tennis tournaments, or events of one or more major or minor league professional sports teams.
Facilities that do not fit these definitions may not be eligible to receive funding through the Commission.
Q. What types of projects can be funded through the Commission?
A. Examples of eligible projects include new construction, renovations, restorations, expansions and exhibits.
The Commission cannot fund projects in phases unless the result at the end of each phase is an operable facility.
The Commission typically does not provide site acquisition costs for cultural facilities, and is prohibited by the Ohio Revised Code from paying for site acquisition costs for sports facilities.
Likewise, the statute prevents the Commission from paying for operating costs at cultural and sports facilities.
Q. Can the Commission fund feasibility studies for facility construction or expansion projects?
A. In the past, the Commission has overseen General Revenue Fund (GRF) appropriations for feasibility studies. However, over the last several capital bills, the state’s budget constraints have resulted in capital appropriations for cultural and sports facilities projects funded exclusively with tax-exempt bonds, which cannot be used to pay for feasibility studies. The Ohio Arts Council’s Capacity Building grant program may provide funds for planning and feasibility studies.
Q. Do other agencies offer grant opportunities for operating expenses?
A. Commission funds may only be used to pay for construction-related costs. The Ohio Arts Council, a separate state agency, does make grants for operating, programming and planning costs for arts organizations. You can contact OAC at (614) 466-2613 or visit the agency web site at www.oac.state.oh.us.
Q. What is considered an appropriate "local match?"
A. For cultural facilities, the local match can include the value of the project site or existing facility, funds for construction or rehabilitation, and new funds committed to an endowment for operation and maintenance of the facility. The local match for cultural facilities is $1 in non-state resources for every $2 of state resources.
For sports facilities, only funds for construction-related costs are eligible as a local match. The local match for sports facilities is, at minimum, 85% of the initial estimated cost of construction.
In all cases, the project sponsor must have adequate funds that, when combined with the state appropriation, will enable it to complete the construction project and open the facility.
Q. What activities are included as "construction costs?"
A. "Construction" includes demolition, reconstruction, alteration, renovation, remodeling, enlargement, site improvements, exhibits, and related equipping and furnishing. Under certain circumstances, professional design fees for the project may also be eligible. Additional information about reimburseable project costs can be obtained by speaking with a Commission project manager.
Q. What are the requirements for Ohio's prevailing wage law?
A. Projects funded through the Commission are required to use prevailing wage as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4115. Information on the state law can be found at http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4115.03.
Generally speaking, contractors on public projects are required to pay prevailing wages on construction projects above a certain threshold. The threshold varies by type of work (new construction vs. renovation), and the threshold increases from time to time.
To learn more about prevailing wage thresholds or to submit a request for prevailing wage rates, you can access the Ohio Department of Commerce website at www.com.state.oh.us.
Q. What happens if a project receives a state appropriation through the Commission but has not yet raised the required local match?
A. While the Commission encourages project sponsors to have local funding sources in place, it is not required prior to the appropriation. State law, however, does require the Commission to confirm community support in the form of a local match before it can expend state funds. In the meantime, while the local sponsor raises the local match, the state funds remain designated for the project for which they were appropriated. In some cases, the funds may be re-appropriated over future biennia.
Also, please keep in mind that prior to the expenditure of state funds, project sponsors must demonstrate that they possess adequate funding to fully fund project construction and have an open, operable facility.
Q. Is it true that the Commission requires that the state obtain a leasehold interest in projects that it funds?
A. Projects that received bond funds issued prior to July 1, 2005, did have to sign a lease; however, for projects funded with bonds issued by the Treasurer of State (July 2005 or later), the facility must be used as a cultural facility available to the public for the term of the bonds issued to fund the improvements, typically 15 years. This is accomplished through a Cooperative Use Agreement.
For bond-funded sports facilities, the term of the Cooperative Use Agreement is typically 20 years.
Neither cultural nor sports facilities projects that receive General Revenue Funds are subject to this agreement.
Q. Does the state serve as construction administrator for Commission projects, or can the local project sponsor do so?
A. Cultural facilities project sponsors may opt to serve as construction administrators, as long as they meet certain criteria that demonstrate their capabilities to successfully oversee the projects. Those that choose not to seek approval for local administration, or are denied approval by the Commission, are administered by the State Architect's Office.
For sports facilities projects funded through the Commission, the local project sponsor serves as construction administrator, and is required to demonstrate its capabilities to successfully oversee the projects.
Q. If a project does receive funding in a capital bill line item through the Commission, how soon will the sponsor receive the funds from the state?
A. The timing of payments/reimbursements is contingent upon required Commission approvals and varies from project to project.
Prior to the expenditure of funds, the project sponsor must present the project to Commission members at a quarterly meeting. The members of the Commission then must vote upon resolutions that:
For projects that are administered locally (see previous question/answer), the sponsor submits paid invoices to the Commission for review and approval. The Commission then processes payment of approved invoices on a reimbursement basis.
For projects that are administered by the State Architect's Office, the state makes payments to contractors directly.
Q. Can the Commission provide assistance to project sponsors even if the project hasn't yet officially received state funding?
A. While the Commission does not play a formal role in the decisions surrounding capital appropriations, we can assist communities and organizations in determining project eligibility. Our staff is happy to provide assistance to project sponsors preparing to make capital bill requests by reviewing the eligibility requirements, and by providing details about the typical process for receiving Commission approval, once an appropriation has been made. Meetings and/or phone calls can be arranged by contacting the Commission office at (614) 752-2770.
You may also wish to consult our Project Planning and Assessment Guide for in-depth information about how to plan a successful capital improvements project, or review our list of Resources for information about fundraising, strategic planning, financial management and more.