Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor
Financial Audit Division

Menu

Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor Menu

Parks and Trails Fund
Internal Controls and Compliance Audit

 

Financial Audit Division Report 16-04 Released February 11, 2016

Background

The Parks and Trails Fund is one of the four funds created when voters approved the “Legacy Amendment” to the Minnesota Constitution in 2008.1 The amendment increased the state’s sales tax by three-eighths of one percent for 25 years and dedicated 14.25 percent of the additional revenue to the Parks and Trails Fund. The constitutional amendment requires that money in this fund be used to “support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.” The Legislature appropriates money from the Parks and Trails Fund for specific purposes. The two largest recipients of appropriations from the fund have been the Department of Natural Resources and Metropolitan Council.

This audit examined expenditures from the Parks and Trails Fund by the Department of Natural Resources and the Metropolitan Council during the period from July 2012 through February 2015. The audit focused on whether the department and council had adequate internal controls to ensure that they used money from the Parks and Trails Fund in compliance with purposes described in the state constitution, the appropriation laws, and other finance-related legal requirements.

Conclusion

The Department of Natural Resources had generally adequate internal controls and generally complied with most legal requirements applicable to the use of Legacy money from the Parks and Trails Fund appropriations. However, the department did not ensure that its cost allocation methodology for administrative costs complied with the Parks and Trails Fund appropriation laws.

The Metropolitan Council did not have adequate internal controls to monitor its grant recipients; however, for the items we tested, the grant recipients complied with legal requirements applicable to the use of money from the Parks and Trails Fund and for purposes specified in appropriation laws.

Findings

  • The Metropolitan Council did not sufficiently monitor Parks and Trails Fund grants to regional park implementing agencies.
  • The Department of Natural Resources could not show how the administrative costs it allocated complied with the “directly related to and necessary for” and the “supplement not substitute for” requirements.

1 Minnesota Constitution, art. XI, sec.15, provides for the distribution of the additional dedicated sales tax revenue into four funds, as follows: Outdoor Heritage Fund, 33 percent; Clean Water Fund, 33 percent; Parks and Trails Fund, 14.25 percent; and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, 19.75 percent.

More Information

Office of the Legislative Auditor ♦ Room 140, 658 Cedar St., St. Paul, MN 55155