Office of the State Auditor logo

For Immediate Release
November 12, 2020

Contact: Donald McFarland
Phone: 651-236-0494

Saint Paul, MN – Earlier today, State Auditor Julie Blaha released the 2019 Town Finances Report. “The 2019 township report provides a detailed view of financial trends prior to the COVID-19 crisis. The substantial economic and financial uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may have widespread implications on local governments, including challenging operational and financial reporting considerations. Because of such uncertainty, the 2019 township financial information is more important than ever as it will provide insight into the financial health, performance, operations, and cash flow pre-COVID-19.”

The 2019 Minnesota Town Finances Report shows revenues and expenditures increased and debt service decreased. For revenues, federal grants, specifically federal emergency management assistance (FEMA) grants had the largest percentage increase from the previous year. For expenditures, roads and bridges including capital outlay had the highest increase over the previous year.

Current Trends

  • In 2019, Minnesota townships reported total revenues of $334.5 million. This amount represents a 5.4 percent increase over the total revenues reported in 2018.
  • Minnesota townships reported total expenditures of $354.2 million in 2019. This amount represents an increase of 13.4 percent over the amount reported in 2018.
  • Townships had debt service expenditures of $10.5 million in 2019. This amount represents a decrease of 5.9 percent from 2018.
  • Outstanding indebtedness totaled $63.6 million in 2019. This represents an increase of 12.3 percent from 2018. Outstanding bonded indebtedness totaled $42.7 million in 2019, which represents an increase of 19.8 percent from the $35.6 million outstanding in 2018.

Ten-Year Trends

  • Between 2010 and 2019, total township revenues in actual dollars increased 28.1 percent. Inconstant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars, total township revenues increased 5.5 percent during this ten-year period.
  • Since 2010, the share of total revenues derived from taxes decreased from 72.8 percent in 2010 to 71.7 percent in 2019, and the share of total revenues derived from intergovernmental sources increased from 17.0 percent to 19.8 percent over that same period.
  • Between 2010 and 2019, total township expenditures in actual dollars increased 33.7 percent. In constant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars, total township expenditures increased 10.1 percent during the ten-year period.

To view the complete report, which includes an Executive Summary, graphs, and tables, go to: https://www.auditor.state.mn.us/default.aspx?page=2019TownReport

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The Office of the State Auditor is the constitutional office that oversees nearly $40 billion in local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. The Office of the State Auditor helps to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19th State Auditor. Follow us on Twitter @MNStateAuditor.