FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is SMCSAVES?
SMCSAVES is a competitive grant program to fund County department projects that reduce costs.
How is SMCSAVES funded?
The Board of Supervisors will select the projects to be funded and determine how much money will be allocated to this program.
Why start SMCSAVES now?
County Departments have many good ideas for saving money. But, many of those ideas require an initial investment in technology, equipment, training or other investments. SMCSAVES provides one-time grant funds for projects that save money by improving performance. Revenue generating projects that offset the costs of high priority on-going programs are also eligible.
Who may apply for a SMCSAVES grant?
All County departments are encouraged to apply.
What types of projects will SMCSAVES support?
SMCSAVES grants are for reducing costs in on-going programs that departments now offer and plan to fund in upcoming budgets. Grants may not be used to pay for what departments are already doing but may be considered for expanding current programs and prevention activities that generate measurable savings. Examples of completed projects that would have been good candidates for SMCSAVES grants include:
• The Health System trained staff on the LEAN process redesign system, which helped them restructure the patient management system in the clinics. This effort has increased the number of patients seen per provider increasing revenue and avoiding additional expenses associated with hiring more providers.
• The Department of Child Support Services installed a phone system that allowed caseworkers to leave a call back number and contact code for child support. The system handled 26,000 calls in the first year and allowed the department to eliminate a vacant receptionist position. The new technology paid for itself within six months.
How do you apply for a SMCSAVES grant?
• Applications will be available to all County departments in July of 2011. The application will be short and require a concise problem statement, a listing of proposed activities, a budget and expected savings. All applications must be signed by the Department Director.
Who will select grantees?
• The County Manager will appoint county staff to a screening committee that will review all proposals against the criteria below. Proposals that pass the screening will be presented to the Finance and Operations Committee, which will recommend proposals for funding to the Board of Supervisors for final selection.
What are the screening criteria for the SMCSAVES grants?
• Return on investment – how long will it take to recoup the SMCSaves grant?
• What is the likelihood of savings being realized, for example, how hard will the proposed change be to implement and can savings be sustained?
• Will the benefits of the change be measured?
• Is the proposed project transferable to other departments and/or can it be scaled up to include more users?
Is there a minimum or a maximum SMCSAVES grant amount?
• No. Grant proposals of whatever amount of funding needed to successfully implement a project are encouraged.
Must grantees report the results for their projects?
• Yes. Grantees must attend quarterly SMCSAVES workgroup meetings to share progress, get peer input on challenges and report back on outcomes to date. A final “case study” must be prepared by each grantee and presented to both the County Executive Council and in summary to the Board of Supervisors.
What is the SMCSAVES timeline?
• Proposal instructions issued July 1, 2011
• Proposals due September 9, 2011.
• Screening Committee decisions announced September 23, 2011.
• Finance and Operations Committee review at October 5, 2011 meeting
• Board of Supervisors review at November 1, 2011 meeting
• Funding starts January 1, 2012 running 18 months, through June 30, 2013.