Press Release: State Auditor Julie Blaha Releases Annual Financial Report on Minnesota Special Districts


For Immediate Release

April 30, 2020


Donald McFarland | 651-236-0494

Saint Paul, MN – “In Minnesota, local governments are a frontline force in delivering crucial services including health care, public safety, and transportation. When counties, cities, and townships work to address issues that extend beyond traditional local government boundaries, the solution is often the creation of special districts to provide services and direct resources in an efficient and effective manner,” said Auditor Blaha. “In Greater Minnesota, special districts often provide health services through hospital districts and mental health/family services collaboratives.”

Earlier today, State Auditor Julie Blaha released the 2018 Minnesota Special Districts Finances Report. Special districts are local government units created or authorized by state law to perform specific duties or to provide specific services in a limited scope.

The Report was compiled from 2018 special district reporting forms, financial statements, and audits. Special districts in Minnesota end their fiscal years at different times. This report covers the special districts with fiscal years that ended between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019 (FY 2018).

The primary sources of revenues for special district governmental funds were state grants, taxes, and charges for services. In addition to governmental funds, many special districts establish enterprise funds to account for services that are financed and operated in a manner similar to private business enterprises.

The Report and its underlying data are available on the website of the Office of the State Auditor. Highlights of the report include:

  • Special districts reported total governmental fund revenues of $1.2 billion in 2018. The primary sources of revenues for special district governmental funds were state grants (35 percent), taxes (20 percent), and charges for services (16 percent).
  • Special districts reported total governmental expenditures of $1.1 billion in 2018. Of this amount, $906.2 million were current expenditures, $124.0 million were capital expenditures, and $78.5 million were debt service payments.
  • Special district enterprise operations reported operating revenues of $2.2 billion, operating expenses of $2.7 billion, and operating losses of $432.3 million (operating revenues minus operating expenses) in 2018. In addition, special district enterprises had nonoperating revenues of $816.9 million, nonoperating expenses of $225.5 million, and a net profit of $159.1 million. Nonoperating revenues include sources such as taxes and intergovernmental grants.
  • Special districts reported $5.6 billion in governmental and enterprise fund outstanding long term debt (bonds and other long-term debt) in 2018.
  • Of the 135 special districts that held long-term debt in 2018, five special districts accounted for $4.7 billion, or 83 percent, of the total outstanding long-term debt of special districts. The five special districts, in order of outstanding long-term debt, were the Metropolitan Council, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency.

To view the complete report, which includes an Executive Summary, graphs and tables, click here.




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.