Alabama Forestry Commission has until April 30 to respond to federal audit that questioned whether US$5.1M in stimulus funding was correctly spent; USDA already slashed amount owed from US$14.4M

LOS ANGELES , April 16, 2012 () –

The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has until April 30 to respond to a federal audit that questioned whether the commission correctly spent US$5.1 million in federal stimulus funding, The Gadsen Times reported April 17.

State Forester Linda Casey said an accounting review would be completed on time and may resolve the issue, leaving AFC owing nothing.

In November, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) said the AFC should repay $14.4 million. In January, USDA reduced that amount to $5.1 million, The Gadsen Times reported.

The OIG said Alabama did not follow accounting regulations, issued in 2004, for three grants from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). For 27 years, the AFC had used one accounting system to track grants, but the USDA no longer accepted that method, said Casey, adding that the USFS review team had informed her of accounting methods that can be used to restate the use of federal funds from 2009 to 2011, The Gadsen Times reported.

An AFC employee's “first run-through” of the financial data indicated that using acceptable accounting procedures on those years would eliminate the amount owing, said Casey.

The original $17.3 million in grants was given to eradicate invasive cogon grass, re-establish longleaf pine, and to carry out prescribed burning.

The primary source of this article is The Gadsen Times, Gadsen, Alabama, April 16, 2012.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.