A few weeks ago the Office of Legislative Audits release a report concerning DNR’s use of money to fund the construction of recreational facilities. The auditor says that this does not appear to be consistent with statutory restrictions on funds. We’ve clipped it below so you may read the section and the link will take you to the entire report. Did the town plan to use some of the money from the sale of the landing to build a recreation center. It gives us a headache trying to think of getting a straight, reliable answer on that one, considering the confusing web that’s spun on the basics of this matter.
———- STATE AUDIT
DNR awarded certain POS grants to local jurisdictions for indoor recreation projects that did not appear to be consistent with statutory restrictions on the funds.
DNR awarded certain POS grants to local jurisdictions for indoor recreation projects that did not appear to be consistent with statutory restrictions on the funds. State law provides that POS funds are to be used to acquire land for outdoor public recreation and open space use and to develop the land for needed outdoor recreation facilities. However, DNR management advised us that open space funds have been used for numerous projects involving indoor facilities (such as community centers and golf course building renovations) over the history of the program. For example, we noted one grant totaling $1.8 million that was awarded to a local jurisdiction for the development of an indoor aquatic center. This grant represented a portion of the $4.1 million in POS funds awarded to that local jurisdiction for land acquisition ($490,000) and development of the aquatic center ($3.6 million).
DNR management believes that indoor recreation projects fall under the intent of the law because indoor facilities accommodate recreation activities, such as swimming, that are typically conducted outdoors. In addition, DNR management stated that indoor facilities are a better investment of POS funds since the public can enjoy year-round use of the facilities rather than seasonal use of outdoor facilities. However, counsel to the Maryland General Assembly advised us that the use of POS funds for indoor recreational facilities does not appear to be consistent with the aforementioned laws governing the funds. 12
We recommend that DNR refrain from using POS funds for indoor facilities unless an Opinion of the Attorney General is obtained supporting the use of