Colorado agencies have $25.6 million in excess reserve funds and no plan for spending, audit finds

DENVER - Colorado agencies have $25.6 million in excess reserves and no commitments for spending that money, a new audit finds. Approximately half of the money is related to medical marijuana, the tenth consecutive year that the fund has not complied with state law.

Within 12 state departments, the Office of the State Auditor's report indicates 34 cash funds contain excess money. Last year, the Auditor found 32 funds with the same situation, but the amount divided among the current year's funds is actually $300,000 lower.

The Auditor's report says the 12 departments involved are Agriculture, Education, Higher Education, Human Services, Law, Natural Resources, Personnel and Administration, Public Health and Environment, Public Safety, Regulatory Agencies, Revenue and State. Additionally, nine of those agencies did not submit the proper information to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting.

State law, according to the Auditor, requires "a department to reduce fees if the department has excess uncommitted reserves; however, there is no penalty for maintaining excess reserves or not reducing fees."

Twelve-point-five million dollars of the excess cash reserves is attributed to the Medical Marijuana Cash Fund. A table within the audit indicates that fund has been out of compliance with the law for 10 consecutive years.

Other funds overseen by the Department of Public Health and Environment that do not comply are called Newborn Genetics, Assisted Living Residence, Laboratory Cash Fund, Fixed and Rotary Wind Ambulances, Hazardous Waste Commission Fund, Trauma System, Health Facilities General Licensure and Home Care Agency. Recommendations from the auditor for fixing the funds include monitoring the funds and reporting the correct financial information to the Office of State Planning and Budgeting.

The department says they plan to implement those procedures by June 2014. Additionally, their response says the fee structure for medical marijuana applications will be reviewed and adjusted in an attempt to reduce the balance of that particular fund.

The full text of the audit includes tables and detailed descriptions about the each of the other funds found to be out of compliance.

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