Legacy grant audit: More public media, zoos scrutinyby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — State officials should do a better job monitoring Legacy Amendment grants that go to zoos, museums, public radio and public TV, an audit released Thursday said.
The state Office of the Legislative Auditor has been analyzing how well state agencies are overseeing Legacy Amendment money.
Minnesota voters in 2008 approved the Legacy Fund constitutional amendment establishing a 3/8ths of a cent sales tax to fund the outdoors, clean water and the arts.
The audit of the state Department of Administration found that the agency's internal controls over grants were "generally adequate." It also said the department generally complied with grant requirements.
But in testing 16 grants, auditors found that for 14 of them, the department did not reconcile advance grant payments with the grantees' progress reports to prevent spending discrepancies. The report also covered grants funded through the state's General Fund and raised questions about how much money General Fund grantees were spending on supplies like batteries, ink and toner, which one grantee classified as "equipment."
The audit also found that the department did not complete monitoring visits for 11 of 16 grants tested.
The report issued by the Legislative Auditor did not specify which grants it audited, but eight organizations were covered. The list covered Minnesota Public Radio, Twin Cities Public Television, the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Minnesota Children's Museum, the Minnesota Film and TV Board, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, KBEM Radio and KVSC Radio.
In response to the audit, Administration Commissioner Spencer Cronk said the agency has already implemented a plan to improve grant monitoring and reconciling payments with grant progress reports.
Cronk also said the department will consider seeking legislative or industry guidance on the definition of "equipment" for public media grants.
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Editor's Note: A previous version of this story omitted information about which type of grant the report questioned for spending money on supplies. The grant came from the General Fund, not funds through the Legacy Amendment.