NB_300_19_35 - NB 300-19-35 LTP- Guidance to States Regarding End of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Easement Internal Controls Preobligation Reviews and Other End of FY Cutoffs
NB 300-19-35 LTP- Guidance to States Regarding End of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Easement Internal Controls Preobligation Reviews and Other End of FY Cutoffs
National Bulletin:  300-19-35   Date: August 15, 2019
Subject: LTP- Guidance to States Regarding End of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Easement Internal Controls Preobligation Reviews and Other End of FY Cutoffs  


 
 
Purpose.   To provide States with guidance on how the National Internal Controls Team will process fiscal year (FY) 2019 easement preobligation review requests submitted during the 4th quarter of FY 2019. This guidance also provides other end of FY cutoffs surrounding payments, closings, and National Easement Staging Tool (NEST).     
 
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2019.     
 

Background.   National Instruction (NI) 300-300 (amended May 2019) requires specific internal control reviews prior to the obligation and payment/closing of any easement or 30-year contract enrollment. In prior fiscal years, the National Internal Controls (IC) Team received packages for review late into September, and after the cutoff dates published by the FPAC Business Center Payment Operations Section (FBC-POS) (previously named the Accounts Payable Services Branch). Although the National IC Team worked with States and processed as many packages as possible, some preobligation packages remained in “Follow up Needed” status at the end of the fiscal year and not all applications with approved IC reviews were obligated by the end of the fiscal year. Late submissions to the IC team are also anticipated in FY 2019.

To ensure accuracy in the financial statement, in particular easement count for stewardship lands, proper reporting of closed easements in the National Easement Staging Tool (NEST) is critical. A “black out period” for certain easement closings has been established in previous fiscal years and will again be instituted in FY 2019 to aide in minimize the risk of having unreported closed easements.     

 

Explanation.  Due to the anticipated FBC-POS cutoff dates for processing payments and applications –

 -All easement program Preobligation IC review requests submitted for National internal controls review after September 3, 2019 will not be processed by the national internal controls team and will have the maintenance request status set to “Rejected.” This cutoff date for obligation approvals is intended to minimize the negative impact of unreconciled late-September obligations on the NRCS financial statement.

-ACEP-WRE, EWPP-FPE, RCPP-HFRP, and RCPP-ACEP-WRE prepayment/closing IC reviews not approved by September 20, 2019, will be held for approval until October 1, 2019. This date is set to correspond with the anticipated FBC payment package deadlines.

- ACEP-WRE, EWPP-FPE, RCPP-HFRP, and RCPP-ACEP-WRE easements are not to be closed between September 21 -September 30, 2019. This blackout period for closing and payment approvals applies only to the listed programs and is intended to minimize the negative impacts of unreconciled late-September closings and payments on the NRCS financial statement.

-ACEP-ALE prepayment/closing IC reviews can be submitted at anytime and do not have any closing “blackout dates” however; States must communicate with partners to ensure that closing date information is recorded in NEST as soon as possible, particularly prior to the end of the fiscal year.

States are reminded to enter all closing dates in NEST prior to September 27, 2019. NEST lock out date for State users begins 11:59 PM EST on September 27, 2019. State users will not regain access to NEST for data entry again until late October/early November. Additional information on NEST end of Fiscal Year activities is forthcoming.

 
Contact.   If you have questions or concerns regarding this national bulletin, contact the National Internal Controls Team at NRCS.Internalcontrols@wdc.usda.gov    
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs
 
 
     
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