State Auditor Blaha Releases 2021 Town Finances Report - January 19, 2023
“Governing during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a test for townships”
Saint Paul, MN – “Governing during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a test for townships,” said Auditor Blaha. “The 2021 Town Finances Report data highlights the impact of federal COVID-19 assistance to townships.”
State Auditor Julie Blaha has released the 2021 Minnesota Town Finances Report which details the financial operations of Minnesota townships. The 2021 Report shows revenues and debt service increased while expenditures decreased from 2020.
Total revenues were up 3.5 percent in 2021, while expenditures decreased 6.3 percent. Among the factors driving the growth in revenues were federal grants, which increased 30.2% over the previous year. The federal grant program, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), was largely responsible for the increase in 2021.
While towns use most of their resources on general government, fire, all other public safety, and roads and bridges, 2021 data reveals that the expenditures on all these categories decreased from the previous year. Expenditures on debt service (principal, interest, and fiscal charges) rose 4.3 percent over the amount reported in 2021, reflecting a greater use of debt by towns.
- In 2021, Minnesota towns reported total revenues of $394.2 million. This amount represents a 3.5 percent increase over the total revenues reported in 2020.
- Minnesota towns reported total expenditures of $337.7 million in 2021. This amount represents a decrease of 6.3 percent from the amount reported in 2020.
- Towns had debt service expenditures of $13.8 million in 2021. This amount represents an increase of 4.3 percent over 2020.
- Outstanding indebtedness totaled $78.3 million in 2021. This represents an increase of 8.8 percent over 2020. Outstanding bonded indebtedness totaled $58.5 million in 2021, which represents an increase of 15.4 percent over the $50.7 million outstanding in 2020.
- Between 2012 and 2021, total town revenues in actual dollars increased 41.1 percent. In constant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars, total town revenues increased 12.7 percent during this ten-year period.
- Since 2012, the share of total revenues derived from taxes decreased from 74.5 percent in 2012 to 65.8 percent in 2021, and the share of total revenues derived from intergovernmental sources increased from 16.0 percent to 26.9 percent over that same period.
- Between 2012 and 2021, total town expenditures in actual dollars increased 33.1 percent. In constant, or inflation-adjusted, dollars, total town expenditures increased 6.3 percent during the ten-year period.
View the complete report, which includes an Executive Summary, graphs, and tables, on the OSA website.