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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary
Department of Natural Resources

Selected Scope Financial Audit

For the Year Ended June 30, 1993


Public Release Date: September 14, 1994 No. 94-47

Agency Background

The Department of Natural Resources is charged with the management of public waters, lands, parks, forests, and minerals, as well as with the regulation of a broad range of activities that affect natural resources. Rodney W. Sando is the commissioner of the department.

Selected Audit Areas

Water Recreation Account and Snowmobile Trails and Enforcement Account

The Water Recreation Account receives fees and surcharges from watercraft registration, unrefunded gasoline taxes attributable to boats, and one-half of fines and forfeited bail money for water violations. It collected $9.7 million in fiscal year 1993. The department uses the account for a variety of water recreation and safety purposes.

The Snowmobile Trails and Enforcement Account receives fees from snowmobile registrations and unrefunded gasoline tax attributable to snowmobile use. It collected $5.4 million in fiscal year 1993. The department uses the account for snowmobile trail acquisitions and maintenance, safety programs, and enforcement of snowmobile laws. The largest expenditure from this account was $2.2 million granted to local governments for construction and maintenance of snowmobile trails.

The department uses its cost accounting system to allocate payroll and operating expenditures to these two accounts. For example, in fiscal year 1993 it allocated $4.9 million in payroll costs to the Water Recreation Account and $1.6 million to the Snowmobile Trails and Enforcement Account.

We found that the department could not provide satisfactory support for payroll expenditures charged to these two accounts. This was particularly evident in the Trails and Waterways Division that accounted for most of the payroll costs charged to the accounts. The division's staff charged over half their time to payroll categories that were too general to indicate specific funding sources. Other problems we cited included the license center not verifying the completeness and accuracy of license sales and the transfer of gasoline taxes in advance of the statutory dates.