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Susquehanna River Basin Commission March 15 Meeting Agenda Includes Adopting Recommendations In Auditor General’s Report

The agenda for the March 15 Susquehanna River Basin Commission includes a resolution adopting recommendations made in the Auditor General’s 2018 Performance Audit of the Commission.  (formal notice)

In November, Auditor General DePasquale released a performance audit of the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basin Commissions looking at issues like overlap of responsibilities with DEP, financial accountability and transparency.

The Audit concluded there is no overlap of responsibilities between the Commissions and DEP, as some House Republicans have alleged, but the Auditor General recommended an update of the memorandums of understanding between the agencies to clarify their roles and responsibilities. 

That process is going on now as DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said in his House budget hearing February 14.

With respect to permit fees charged by SRBC and the fact House Republicans cut funding for both Commissions in half in the last two state budgets, the Audit said, “SRBC management stated that in light of the current lack of funding being provided by signatory parties [Pennsylvania and others], the SRBC may need to consider reducing/eliminating discounts offered to municipal authorities.

“This could negatively impact Pennsylvania’s public authorities that have dockets with the SRBC in the form of increased fees.

“Additionally, while SRBC management indicated the reduced contributions have not affected fees charged to project applicants and docket holders to date, it must balance revenues with its expenses, which could ultimately result in increased fees.”

Also at the House budget hearing, Secretary McDonnell said they are taking the Auditor General’s recommendations seriously and he supports restoring funding to the Commissions because Pennsylvania has not been paying its “dues” and when you are the one in the room not paying their dues it does color the discussions.

Auditor General DePasquale did pan the SRBC for “extravagant” food expenses, noting the SRBC provided itemized receipts for only $14,072 of the $16,259 in food expenses, which included appetizers, filet mignon, salmon, and Maryland crab cakes, along with side dishes and desserts.

SRBC said in its response printed with the Audit in November that steps had already been taken to address these issues (page 47 of the Audit).

Click Here for more background on the Audit.

Also on the agenda is an informational presentation from Maryland of interest to the lower Susquehanna River region; Fiscal Year 2020 budget reconciliation; consideration of an amendment to the irrevocable retiree health trust; ratification/approval of contracts/grants; a report on delegated settlements; resolution to balance renewal cycle workload; and Regulatory Program projects.

The meeting will be held at the Crowne Plaza Annapolis, 173 Jennifer Road in Annapolis starting at 9:00.

Click Here for more information on the meeting.  Questions should be directed to Ava Stoops, 717-238-0423 Ext. 1302.

For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.


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