Certified Local Government Basics

ABOUT THE CLG PROGRAM

In 1980, an important amendment to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 brought about a significant change in the role that cities and counties play in the Nation’s effort to preserve its heritage. Although local governments have always been part of national historic preservation efforts, the 1980 Amendments gave local governments a specific, formal role in historic preservation. This new program, known as the Certified Local Government (CLG) program, significantly increased local interest in historic preservation. Subsequent amendments have made further refinements to the program. The National Historic Preservation Act as amended (54 USC 300101 et seq.) contains the current federal statutory requirements.
 
The Idaho CLG program was developed after consulting with local governments, local historic preservation commissions and historical societies, and other interested groups and individuals. Local preservation needs were analyzed and the capabilities of different types of local governments in Idaho were assessed. This showed that there was a need for this program to be designed to be as flexible as possible in order to allow for different capabilities, needs, and resources of Idaho’s diverse communities. It also needed to have an equal and consistent approach to program management and be coordinated with Idaho’s statewide comprehensive historic preservation planning process.
 
To accomplish this, the State Historic Preservation Office has worked to ensure that information about the Certified Local Government program and its requirements are as straight forward and clear as possible. Not every community in Idaho is able to provide staff specifically trained in historic preservation to support their historic preservation program; it is vitally important, then, that the State Historic Preservation Office be able to provide that support through the CLG program in a way that is readily accessible by the dedicated volunteers in that community.
 
Much like the National Historic Preservation Act, the Idaho Certified Local Government program has gone through several revisions and changes through the years. And the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office is continuously working with communities throughout the state to finds ways to make this important program better and more effective for both our existing Certified Local Governments and those communities which are looking to become CLGs.
 

BENEFITS OF THE CLG PROGRAM

In addition to making a statement of your community’s commitment to local heritage, sustainability, community character, and quality of life, there are three (3) additional important benefits are gained by participating in the CLG Program: (1) Cities and counties formally participate in the nomination of properties to the National Register of Historic Places and; (2) Cities and counties have access to technical assistance and support from the State Historic Preservation Office; and (3) Cities and counties are eligible for federal funds reserved exclusively for their use.
 

Participation in the National Register of Historic Places Process

Certified Local Governments are required to participate in the process of reviewing and nominating properties in their community to the National Register of Historic Places. While this requires the participation and involvement of the Historic Preservation Commission and elected officials, this is actually a benefit to the community as it gives the Commission, the elected officials, and the community as a whole an active voice in the nomination process, and therefore, have more control over what properties in their community are listed in the Register.
 
Technical Assistance from the SHPO
Very few communities in Idaho have the ability to hire full-time professional staff with a background or degree in historic preservation to administer or run their preservation program. By becoming a Certified Local Government, a community can take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience at the State Historic Preservation Office. The SHPO staff work directly with local historic preservation commissions and municipal staff to support their historic preservation efforts. From guidance and advice on potential projects and commission reviews to providing free training and education, SHPO staff are available to help supply Certified Local Governments with the expertise they need to make their historic preservation programs as strong as possible.
 
CLG Grant Program
Probably the biggest benefit to becoming a Certified Local Government is gaining access to the CLG Grant program. By law, a certain percentage of the money that the SHPO receives from the National Park Service each year must get passed on the CLGs. These grants are only available to CLGs, and are used for a wide range of projects to help support the historic preservation efforts of communities across the state. The grants are competitive and require a 50/50 match from the community (matches can be in-kind and/or cash matches). The yearly grant funds are awarded based on merit, severity of need, and the communities ability of meet the match requirements.
 
 

Becoming a Certified Local Government

The requirements and procedures for becoming a CLG are laid out in detail in the Idaho CLG Program Handbook, which is available from the State Historic Preservation Office or online here.
 
The basic process, however, is as follows:
1.  Adopt local Historic Preservation Ordinance
2. Establish the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), appoint members
3. Complete the CLG Application paperwork
• Signed Request for Certification letter (SHPO provides template)
• Copy of the local ordinance
• List of HPC members with résumés
• Signed Certification Agreement (also provided by SHPO)
• Any supplemental information
4. SHPO reviews materials, recommends Certification to NPS
5. NPS issues final determination of certification
 
For more information on Idaho’s Certified Local Government program, please contact:
 
Pete L’Orange
Historic Preservation Planner/CLG Coordinator
Idaho State Historic Preservation Office
208-488-7471