Secretary-Treasurer Financial Report FY22 Q4

Governmental Activities
Secretary/Treasurer’s Summary
Friday, July 8, 2022
Secretary-Treasurer Leonard Fineday

Aniin Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag anishinabeg! Greetings Leech Lake people! I had the honor of being sworn in as Secretary/Treasurer for the Leech Lake Reservation Business Committee on July 1, 2022, and we have been able to hit the ground running on a number of issues.

First, July 1 was the start of Fiscal Year 2023, which runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. We should have had a budget for all of our operations in place prior to July 1, but we fell short of that goal on the government side. Realizing we wouldn’t have a duly adopted budget in place before the start of the fiscal year, the RBC adopted a resolution to authorize spending for the continuing operation of governmental functions through October 31, 2022. This Continuing Resolution authorizes governmental operations to spend 1/10th of FY22 expenditure levels per month through October 31, 2022.

The Continuing Resolution was adopted before the start of the fiscal year and thus before I was sworn in. However, since I have assumed the duties of Secretary/Treasurer, I have been working diligently with our finance staff and division directors to finalize the governmental budget for RBC adoption. Completing this budget is a top priority for me and I will keep everyone updated as to the progress on that goal.

Regarding our General Fund financial status as of the end of FY22, we have approximately $14.2 million in reserve. However, our FY21 annual audit is still outstanding. FY21 ran from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, and this audit should have been completed on or before September 30, 2021. Due to a number of mitigating factors, this audit is still outstanding and our finance staff is working very hard with outside auditors to finalize this audit. The final audit report could result in minor changes to the amount we have in our General Fund reserve. Again, completing this audit is a top priority for me, but also depends on the responsiveness from our outside auditors, so an exact goal for completion is outside our control. However, I will continue to keep everyone updated on this matter as we move forward.

We are also continuing the preparation work for the second round of pandemic-related individual financial assistance to our Band members 18 and over, with distribution set for some time in August 2022. Finance is working with RBC to set an exact date for distribution, so watch for future announcements regarding those specific details. The RBC has authorized this second round of individual assistance at $1,700.00 per adult band member. This individual assistance is for pandemic-related financial burdens and will come from American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds the Band received last year from the Federal government.

The RBC has also authorized a $250.00 payment to each account in the Minor’s Trust fund for our band members younger than 18. This payment will come from General Fund reserves as the ARPA does not allow State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to be placed in a trust account.

Last year, the Band received $81,734,349.88 in total State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds and must spend them in accordance with the requirements outlined in the appropriating legislation and the regulations issued by the Department of Treasury. To date, the Band has spent approximately $24,466,959.00 of these funds in the areas of Premium Pay, Personal Leave Payout and Indirect Costs. This leaves approximately $57,267,390.88 remaining in our State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. We plan to utilize these funds to pay for the second-round of the pandemic-related individual assistance. The RBC and our communications and finance teams are working together to gather input from our Band members regarding the use of the remaining funds, so please continue to watch for updates from LLBO regarding ways you can have your voice heard in how these remaining funds are expended.

We are also working hard to resolve issues surrounding our third-party billing activities and the programs that bill for those services, such as Opiate Treatment, Behavioral Health, Chemical Dependency, Indian Child Welfare and Assisted Living. I will be working closely with our program managers, division directors and finance staff to develop work plans to ensure that we are providing top quality services to our Band members and receiving the appropriate reimbursements for those services. Of course, this will take some time to develop and implement, but we will follow through and continue to keep Band members informed of our progress.

I am also working with our Gaming Division to review our financial status in our gaming operations as well as the status of our loan with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. I want to ensure we are complying with all applicable terms and covenants in the loan. As in other areas, I will keep all Band members apprised of my findings and actions.

On July 11, 2022, I attended my first Tribal Executive Committee meeting. I was sworn in and was elected Treasurer for the TEC. At the meeting, we discussed the advisory referendum on enrollment, the ongoing efforts from the delegation regarding Constitutional Reform, adopted a resolution that recognized the original boundaries of the Sandy Lake Reservation, and had a brief discussion regarding the MCT land transfer issue. Additional follow-up will be held regarding the land transfer issue. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these or any other MCT-related issues, please reach out to me and I’ll be happy to share what information I have.

In closing, I want to thank the people of Leech Lake for this opportunity. I am thankful to be serving in this capacity and look forward, with optimism, to the progress that we can make together.

Leonard “Lenny” Fineday