Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
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Report Summary
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund

Selected Scope Financial Audit For the Period
July 1, 1993, through February 28, 1997

 

Public Release Date: September 5, 1997 No. 97-49

Agency Background

The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund was established by constitutional amendment in November 1988. It provides a long-term permanent and stable source of funding for natural resources. The Legislature appropriates funds to state agencies for two-year projects based on the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) recommendations. For the 1994-1995 and 1996-1997 bienniums, appropriations that total $45,595,000 were made to eleven different agencies.

Conclusions

As provided in Minn. Stat. Section 116P.04, Subd. 5, the objective of our audit was to determine if trust fund expenditures were made in accordance with legislative restrictions and for the purposes provided in the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) budget plan. We selected a sample of agencies and individual projects for review. We performed tests of project activity at the Departments of Natural Resources and Children, Families & Learning, the Office of Environmental Assistance, and the Pollution Control Agency, and selected project subgrantees.

* Department of Natural Resources
The Department of Natural Resources received 45 trust fund appropriations totaling $38,226,000 during the 1994-1995 and 1996-1997 bienniums. We reviewed six projects funded from seven appropriations and found that, for the items tested, costs were in compliance with the budget plans, grant agreements, and applicable laws.

* Department of Children, Families & Learning
The Department of Children, Families & Learning received two trust fund appropriations totaling $810,000 during the 1994-1995 biennium. Funds were subgranted to the Science Museum of Minnesota. We reviewed the two projects and found that, for the items tested, costs were in compliance with the budget plans, grant agreements, and applicable laws, except that subgrantee project expenditures included allocations for indirect costs. Program guidelines at the time the projects were funded did not address the allowability of indirect costs. Guidelines for the subsequent biennium disallowed the allocation of indirect costs.

* Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance
The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance received three trust fund appropriations totaling $800,000 for trust fund projects during the 1996-1997 biennium. We reviewed two projects and found that, for the items tested, costs were in compliance with the budget plans, grant agreements, and applicable laws.

* Pollution Control Agency
The Pollution Control Agency received three trust fund appropriations totaling $1,550,000 for trust fund projects during the 1994-1995 and 1996-1997 bienniums. We reviewed the three projects and found that, for the items tested, costs were in compliance with the budget plans, grant agreements, and applicable laws, except for $6,000 in rental charges to one of the projects.

 

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