OSA Weekly Update - 3/22/2024

1. Message from Auditor Blaha

2. Released: Updated Tax Increment Financing County Guide

3. Avoiding Pitfall: Examine Bank Statements Promptly to Preserve Potential Claims

4. Job Openings

5. Upcoming Deadlines

1. Message from Auditor Blaha

A hidden gem on the Office of the State Auditor's website is our Infrastructure Stress Transparency Tool. Minnesota has a vast amount of aging infrastructure. Maintaining, rehabilitating, and replacing this infrastructure will need proper planning. The Tool makes the infrastructure data easier to use and understand with maps, graphs, and filters, with the goal of helping decision makers with long term financial planning. Try the Tool for yourself and let us know how you use it at outreach@osa.state.mn.us.

2. Released: Updated Tax Increment Financing County Guide

An updated version of the Tax Increment Financing County Guide is now available. This guide is intended to be a reference to help county officials and staff identify and administer their TIF responsibilities. The updates include edits for law changes since the previous 2019 version was released, as well as other edits for clarity and miscellaneous developments (including a new sample of a recommended TIF district certification request form).

3. Avoiding Pitfall: Examine Bank Statements Promptly to Preserve Potential Claims

Under Minnesota law, it is important that local governments preserve their legal rights against banks regarding unauthorized payments made from local government accounts. Under Minn. Stat. § 336.4-406, once a bank (defined to include savings banks, credit unions, etc. “engaged in the business of banking”) sends an account statement to a customer, the customer has a duty to “exercise reasonable promptness” in examining the statement for unauthorized payments. If the statement discloses an unauthorized payment, it is the customer’s duty to “promptly notify the bank.” A customer that fails to fulfill this duty “is precluded from asserting” claims against the bank.

The number of days that constitute “reasonable promptness” often is specified in the depository agreement with the bank, and it may be less than 30 days. For example, in one case decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court, an account holder was barred from recovering from his bank $22,000 that the bank paid on forged checks, because the account holder did not notify the bank within the 20-day notification period provided in the agreement with the bank. See Stowell v. Cloquet Co-Op Credit Union, 557 N.W.2d 567 (Minn. 1997).

To preserve possible legal claims, know the time-period specified in the agreement with your bank and review bank statements accordingly.

The full Avoiding Pitfall is available on the OSA website.

4. Job Openings

Temporary Constitution Division Director

The OSA is hiring a Temporary Constitution Division Director. This position directly supports State Auditor Julie Blaha and is based in Saint Paul with options to telework. This position manages the public-facing communication for the OSA through graphic design and social media. This position also participates in office wide level decision making and planning as part of the leadership teams.

This is a temporary appointment that will last up to 6 months, beginning as early as April 1, 2024, ending September 30, 2024.

The job posting closes at midnight tonight, March 22, 2024.

Special Investigations Legal Analyst

The OSA is hiring a Special Investigations Legal Analyst. This position aids attorneys in the Legal and Special Investigations Division and is based in Saint Paul. This positions conducts research related to the legal guidance the Division provides, organizes investigative information to aid in legal analysis and responds to citizen and OSA staff questions regarding legal topics within the OSA's purview.

The job posting closes on April 11, 2024.

5. Upcoming Deadlines

Relief Association Reporting Deadlines

Reporting forms for fire relief associations with less than $750,000 in assets and less than $750,000 in liabilities are due by March 31, 2024. In addition to the reporting forms, each relief association with assets and liabilities below the statutory threshold must have an Agreed-Upon Procedures engagement and submit the certified public accountant’s report on applying the procedures.

Form submissions are not complete until all required signatures are provided. The form signature pages are provided in the PDF version of the form that is created after the form is uploaded through the State Auditor’s Form Entry System (SAFES). The forms can be signed electronically in SAFES or paper signature pages can be submitted.

Reporting forms and audited financial statements for fire relief associations with assets or liabilities of at least $750,000 are due by June 30, 2024.

County TIF Information Forms Due April 1

The County TIF Information Form is due from counties by April 1, 2024. The form captures activity that occurred in 2023 including the county's TIF administrative activities, distributions of tax increment, and transfers of TIF enforcement deduction. The information assists the Office of the State Auditor in its oversight of TIF authorities. Instructions on accessing the form in SAFES were emailed to county representatives on January 16, 2024.

If you have any questions, please contact us at TIF@osa.state.mn.us.

Cash Basis Cities and Township Reporting

The Annual Financial Reporting Form for Cities and Townships reporting on a cash basis of accounting is due April 1, 2024. The Annual Financial Reporting Form, or the State Auditor Data File for CTAS users, and Financial Statements should be submitted through SAFES.

If you don't have a SAFES username and password, email safes@osa.state.mn.us. If you have any questions on reporting, email gid@osa.state.mn.us and to ctas@osa.state.mn.us for CTAS users.