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Local townships in relatively good financial shape

By Sarah Smith

Hubbard County’s 28 townships – actually 26 of the 28 – seem to be in reasonably good financial shape. But 10 of them outspent their revenues.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto released the

Minnesota Town Finances Report Thursday, which is a comprehensive report on revenues, expenditures and debt. The report analyzed town financial operations for the calendar year ended Dec. 31, 2012.

According to Otto’s findings, Arago and Steamboat Townships did not submit reports. Arago has not submitted a report for the past three years. The two townships have lots of company, however.

“The number of towns that failed to report in 2012 (176) was double that

of 2011 (86),” the report stated.

More than half of the townships in the state have less than 300 residents. Only 17.5 percent of the state’s population lives in townships.

But due to the number of non-reporting towns, accurate statistics and trends could not be derived.

“In 2012, Minnesota towns reported total revenues of $279.3 million,” the report indicated.

“This amount represents a 3.1 percent increase over the total revenues

reported in 2011. The overall increase is most likely understated,” due to the number of townships not reporting.

“An analysis that examined only those towns that reported both years showed an increase of 7.2 percent” in revenues, the report summary indicated.

“Minnesota towns reported total expenditures of $253.7 million in

2012,” the summary concluded.

“This amount represents a decrease of 4 percent from the amount

reported in 2011. The primary cause of this decrease was the significant

number of towns that failed to report in 2012. An analysis of only those

towns that reported in both 2011 and 2012 showed an increase of 0.2

percent in total expenditures.”

Lake Emma Township has the highest tax capacity in the county at $3.990 million, followed by Henrietta ($2.446 million), Nevis ($2.386 million) and Hubbard ($2.266 million).

Schoolcraft Township is the lowest, with a tax capacity of $137,946, followed by Lake Hattie ($284,323), Lake Alice ($310,210), and Thorpe ($378, 806).

Hendrickson and Lakeport townships are the only ones with federal grants, of $17,315 and $12,350 respectively. All townships get state grant monies.

Hendrickson, Fern, Schoolcraft and Straight River get county grants, a total of $7,747.

Nevis Township had the highest total revenues at $515,013, followed by Henrietta ($473,223) and Lake Emma ($377,558).

The full report can be accessed at www.auditor

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

(218) 732-3364