Financial-Related Audit Report
Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund
Two Fiscal Years Ended June 30, 1999
The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund was established in 1988 to use investment earnings from net lottery proceeds for the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR), consisting of 20 members of the Legislature, oversees the distribution of the trust fund monies. For fiscal years 1998 and 1999, the Legislature appropriated the majority of trust fund monies for projects conducted by the University of Minnesota and the Department of Natural Resources. The Department of Natural Resources was the pass-through agent for many of the non-state projects.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
- The University of Minnesota used approximately $21,000 for project costs that may not have been eligible for reimbursement from the trust fund. The university also did not timely submit final project and expenditure reports. We recommended that the university work with LCMR to determine whether the costs charged to these projects were eligible for reimbursement. We also recommended that the university submit required project reports in a timely manner.
- The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) purchased equipment totaling $6,296 after the end date of a project. We recommended that DNR reimburse the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for this expenditure.
- DNR personnel did not adequately administer one of the LCMR grants. DNR inappropriately paid the grant to a subrecipient on a pro rata basis rather than paying the subrecipient on a reimbursement basis. DNR personnel did not review project costs to determine that the subrecipient used the funds for eligible costs. The subrecipient may need to repay about $69,000 for ineligible costs. We recommended that DNR review the subrecipient's project costs, determine the eligibility of the costs, and request repayment for those costs found to be ineligible.
Financial-related audit reports address internal control weaknesses and noncompliance issues found during our audits of state departments and agencies. The scope of this audit focused on the administration of Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund appropriations for fiscal years 1998 and 1999. We conducted audit work at the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, the University of Minnesota, and the Department of Natural Resources.