Apart from two townships that failed to report, Hubbard County towns as a whole came out ahead financially in 2019. However, several townships’ revenues fell short of expenditures for the year.

Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha released the 2019 Town Finances Report on Nov. 12.

The report analyzes the finances of 1,622 townships that reported to Blaha’s office for the year 2019, when there were a total of 1,781 towns, 853 cities and 87 counties statewide.

Statewide numbers

Township populations totaled 918,735, about 16.2 percent of the state population, and ranged from 11,303 in White Bear Township to five in Hangaard Township. Fifty-two percent of towns had a population of 300 or less, according to state demographer estimates.

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The reporting townships’ revenues totaled $334.5 million in 2019 – a 5.4 increase over 2018 revenues. Expenditures totaled $354.2 million in 2019, an increase of 13.4 percent from 2018.

Townships’ debt service expenditures decreased 5.9 percent last year to $10.5 million, while their outstanding indebtedness totaled $63.6 million, a 12.3 percent increase from 2018. Bonded indebtedness increased 19.8 percent, from $35.6 million outstanding in 2018 to $42.7 million in 2019.

In 10-year trends from 2010 to 2019, total township revenues in inflation-adjusted dollars increased 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, the share of total revenues derived from taxes decreased from 72.8 to 71.7 percent, and the share derived from intergovernmental sources increased from 17 to 19.8 percent. During the same 10-year period, total township expenditures increased 10.1 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Among the 159 towns that failed to report their 2019 finances to the state auditor’s office, as required by law, were Hendrickson and Steamboat River townships. Steamboat River Township also failed to report in 2018.

Regional data

The auditor’s report groups Hubbard County with Mahnomen, Clearwater, Beltrami and Lake of the Woods in the Headwaters economic region.

The report states that 96 towns in this region reported their 2019 finances. Total revenues decreased 0.1 percent and totaled $13.4 million, accounting for 4 percent of statewide town revenues.

Expenditures in the region decreased 9.8 percent to $12.2 million, or 3.5 percent of statewide town expenditures. Debt service in the region decreased 11.9 percent and totaled $117,959, or 1.1 percent of the statewide total.

Revenues by town

Hubbard County townships reported the following numbers on the revenue side:

  • Akeley Twp.: taxable tax capacity, $978,714; tax levy payable 2019, $210,503; tax revenues, $205,636; licenses and permits, $505; state grants, $23,803; interest earnings, $61; all other revenues, $500; total revenues, $230,505.

  • Arago: tax cap., $1,980,413; levy, $344,002; taxes, $366,988; state grants, $24,302; total, $391,290.

  • Badoura: tax cap., $441,507; levy, $86,004; taxes, $87,587; state grants, $9,576; interest, $1,520; total, $98,683.

  • Clay: tax cap., $438,404; levy, $50,001; taxes, $56,419; licenses and permits, $85; state grants, $5,890; interest, $3,848; total, $66,242.

  • Clover: tax cap., $634,653; levy, $39,297; taxes, $40,333; special assessments, $35; licenses and permits, $130; state grants, $19,825; charges for services, $30; interest, $1,310; other, $18; total, $61,681.

  • Crow Wing Lake: tax cap., $1,274,743; levy, $213,629; taxes, $215,918; federal grants, $20,834; state grants, $19,967; interest, $787; other, $5,673; total, $263,179.

  • Farden: tax cap., $2,045,106; levy, $449,906; taxes, $46,698; licenses and permits, $300; state grants, $30,245; charges for services, $750; interest, $738; other, $82; total, $478,813.

  • Fern: tax cap., $209,222; levy, $46,172; taxes, $44,692; state grants, $15,451; charges for services, $1,575; other, $794; total, $62,512.

  • Guthrie: tax cap., $517,871; levy, $97,298; taxes, $94,824; state grants, $17,805; charges for services, $1,450; interest, $500; other, $2,053; total, $116,632.

  • Hart Lake: tax cap., $542,234; levy, $75,010; taxes, $74,536; state grants, $13,807; charges for services, $4; interest, $9,213; other, $25; total, $97,585.

  • Helga: tax cap., $1,586,451; levy, $317,024; taxes, $306,847; licenses and permits, $4,347; state grants, $32,442; county/local unit grants, $1,307; charges for services, $8,650; interest, $2,838; other, $1,297; total, $357,728.

  • Hendrickson: tax cap., $261,741; levy, $34,997; no report submitted.

  • Henrietta: tax cap., $2,498,977; levy, $399,981; taxes, $402,561; licenses and permits, $3,915; state grants, $38,879; charges for services, $645; interest, $6,739; total, $452,739.

  • Hubbard: tax cap., $2,345,525; levy, $223,554; taxes, $225,921; licenses and permits, $120; state grants, $27,343; charges for services, $2,973; interest, $1,273; other, $43; total, $257,673.

  • Lake Alice: tax cap., $592,212; levy, $37,001; taxes, $45,300; state grants, $8,368; interest, $1,457; other, $131; total, $55,256.

  • Lake Emma: tax cap., $3,969,152; levy, $344,997; taxes, $344,997; state grants, $32,909; charges for services, $600; interest, $3,162; other, $7,784; total, $389,452.

  • Lake George: tax cap., $511,613; levy, $85,724; taxes, $84,112; state grants, $27,619; charges for services, $50; interest, $2,020; other, $78; total, $113,879.

  • Lake Hattie: tax cap., $313,752; levy, $70,004; taxes, $90,556; state grants, $10,100; interest, $549; other, $404; total, $101,609.

  • Lakeport: tax cap., $1,515,486; levy, $185,406; taxes, $191,339; federal grants, $1,513; state grants, $34,982; charges for services, $25,519; interest, $3,022; other, $33,158; total, $289,533.

  • Mantrap: tax cap., $1,547,278; levy, $178,541; taxes, $184,143; state grants, $22,156; charges for services, $1,605; interest, $4,149; other, $11,128; total, $223,181.

  • Nevis Twp.: tax cap., $2,577,365; levy, $487,032; taxes, $491,129; state grants, $41,581; interest, $1,348; other, $88; total, $534,146.

  • Rockwood: tax cap., $578,013; levy, $84,001; taxes, $82,849; licenses and permits, $250; state grants, $13,349; charges for services, $6,618; interest, $153; total, $103,219.

  • Schoolcraft: tax cap., $143,216; levy, $15,002; taxes, $17,493; state grants, $6,732; charges for services, $76; interest, $453; total, $24,754.

  • Steamboat River: tax cap., $481,835; levy, $49,500; no report submitted.

  • Straight River: tax cap., $1,181,168; levy, $151,019; taxes, $135,819; state grants, $24,338; county/local unit grants, $397; charges for services, $4,478; interest, $1,966; other, $10,996; total, $177,994.

  • Thorpe: tax cap., $292,052; levy, $26,998; taxes, $26,952; licenses and permits, $50; state grants, $11,771; county/local unit grants, $3,119; interest, $164; total, $42,056.

  • Todd: tax cap., $1,809,966; levy, $283,062; taxes, $281,867; licenses and permits, $41,899; state grants, $31,449; charges for services, $2,193; interest, $7,455; total, $364,863.

  • White Oak: tax cap., $902,579; levy, $305,447; taxes, $301,355; state grants, $29,165; charges for services, $500; interest, $563; other, $48; total, $331,631.

  • Countywide township totals: tax cap., $32,171,248; levy, $4,891,112; taxes, $4,846,871; special assessments, $35; licenses and permits, $51,601; federal grants, $22,347; state grants, $573,854; county/local unit grants, $4,823; all intergovernmental revenues, $601,024; charges for services, $57,716; interest earnings, $55,288; all other revenues, $74,300; total revenues, $5,686,835.

In addition to revenues, Hubbard County towns reported a total of $247,685 in “transfers in” from other accounts during 2019. These included $103,000 in Arago, $15,000 in Clover, $5,500 in Henrietta, $25,000 in Lake George, $86,085 in Mantrap, $7,100 in Rockwood and $6,000 in Straight River Twp.

Expenditures by town

Hubbard County townships reported the following numbers on the expenditure side:

  • Akeley Twp.: population 572; general government, $40,154; public safety, $29,741; road and bridge, $108,595; other, $3,250; total, $181,740.

  • Arago: pop. 637; gen. gov., $61,971; public safety, $19,434; road and bridge, $133,236; other, $2,887; total, $217,528.

  • Badoura: pop. 137; gen. gov., $22,684; public safety, $7,953; road and bridge, $57,903; other, $2,500; total, $91,040.

  • Clay: pop. 72; gen. gov., $22,384; public safety, $5,728; road and bridge, $49,785; total, $77,897.

  • Clover: pop. 172; gen. gov., $28,242; public safety, $5,868; road and bridge, $23,483; culture and recreation, $24,182; other, $2,420; total, $84,195.

  • Crow Wing Lake: pop. 345; gen. gov., 34,881; public safety, $19,571; road and bridge, $282,088; culture and rec., $427; other, $4,582; total, $341,549;

  • Farden: pop. 1,170; gen. gov., $73,992; public safety, $36,979; road and bridge, $261,657; culture and rec., $17,592; other, $24,126; total current expenditures, $414,346; gen. gov. capital outlay, $1,800; total, $416,146;

  • Fern: pop. 278; gen. gov., $21,454; public safety, $5,173; road and bridge, $31,508; other, $2,518; total current expenditures, $60,653; road and bridge capital outlay, $10,025; total, $70,678.

  • Guthrie: pop. 580; gen. gov., $44,348; public safety, $8,921; road and bridge, $50,864; other, $2,782; total, $106,915.

  • Hart Lake: pop. 513; gen. gov., $32,695; public safety, $15,880; road and bridge, $42,392; total, $90,967.

  • Helga: pop. 1,550; gen. gov., $116,245; public safety, $44,650; road and bridge, $89,121; other, $4,697; total current expenditures, $254,713; gen. gov. capital outlay, $90,345; principal payments, $58,641; interest/fiscal payments, $7,204; total, $410,903.

  • Hendrickson: pop. 328; no report submitted.

  • Henrietta: pop. 1,573; gen. gov., $69,810; public safety, $35,464; road and bridge, $160,213; culture and rec., $950; other, $9,818; tutal, $276,255.

  • Hubbard: pop. 796; gen. gov., $66,461; public safety, $22,902; road and bridge, $143,430; other, $554; total, $233,347.

  • Lake Alice: pop. 100; gen. gov., $21,893; public safety, $9,423; road and bridge, $21,542; other, $4,725; total, $57,583.

  • Lake Emma: pop. 997; gen. gov., $59,319; public safety, $28,686; road and bridge, $215,787; culture and rec., $1,200; other, $12,927; total, $317,919.

  • Lake George: pop. 319; gen. gov., $29,150; public safety, $32,411; road and bridge, $60,823; culture and rec., $2,348; other, $1,440; total, $126,172.

  • Lake Hattie: pop. 221; gen. gov., $19,901; road and bridge, $42,957; culture and rec., $450; total current expenditures, $63,308; public safety capital outlay, $4,443; total, $67,751.

  • Lakeport: pop. 892; gen. gov., $21,190; public safety, $94,868; road and bridge, $99,603; other, $3,901; total current expenditures, $219,562; gen. gov. capital outlay, $34,557; public safety capital outlay, $113,558; total capital outlay, $148,115; total expenditures, $367,677.

  • Mantrap: pop. 544; gen. gov., $55,386; public safety, $32,280; road and bridge, $110,881; other, $68; total, $198,615.

  • Nevis Twp.: pop. 1,070; gen. gov., $73,350; public safety, $59,034; road and bridge, $208,670; culture and rec., $300; other, $1,750; total current expenditures, $343,104; gen. gov. capital outlay, $1,090; road and bridge capital outlay, $147,480; total capital outlay, $148,570; total expenditures, $491,674.

  • Rockwood: pop. 428; gen. gov., $27,142; public safety, $14,050; road and bridge, $52,427; other, $445; total current expenditures, $94,064; gen. gov. capital outlay, $6,322; total, $100,386.

  • Schoolcraft: pop. 111; gen. gov., $9,905; public safety, $3,012; road and bridge, $19,624; total current expenditures, $32,541; gen. gov. capital outlay, $1,492; total, $34,033.

  • Steamboat River: pop. 128; no report submitted.

  • Straight River: pop. 763; gen. gov., $44,446; public safety, $19,334; road and bridge, $110,045; other, $5,900; total, $179,725.

  • Thorpe: pop. 53; gen. gov., $15,296; public safety, $9,628; road and bridge, $14,263; other, $3,813; total, $43,000.

  • Todd: pop. 1,424; gen. gov, $124,660; public safety, $26,581; road and bridge, $138,374; culture and rec., $200; other, $1,000; total, $290,815.

  • White Oak: pop. 519; gen. gov., $52,948; public safety, $24,526; road and bridge, $265,207; other, $5,657; total, $348,338.

  • Countywide township totals: pop. 16,365; gen. gov., $1,189,907; public safety, $612,097; road and bridge, $2,794,478; culture and rec., $47,649; other, $101,760; total current expenditures, $4,745,891; gen. gov. capital outlay, $135,606; public safety capital outlay, $118,001; road and bridge capital outlay, $157,505; total capital outlay, $411,112; principal payments, $58,641; interest/fiscal payments, $7,204; total expenditures, $5,222,848.

In addition to expenditures, Hubbard County towns assigned a total of $247,685 to “other financing uses,” including debt redemption (refunded bonds), transfers, etc.

These uses included $103,000 in Arago Twp., $15,000 in Clover, $5,500 in Henrietta, $25,000 in Lake George, $86,085 in Mantrap, $7,100 in Rockwood and $6,000 in Straight River Twp.

With these uses added to expenditures, total township revenues in Hubbard County surpassed their expenditures by $216,302 in 2019.

Balancing acts

Total 2019 expenditures (not counting “other financing uses”) exceeded revenues for the several towns in Hubbard County.

Hardest hit were Schoolcraft Twp., where expenditures came out on top by $9,279 or 37.5 percent of revenues; Clover Twp., where the gap was $22,514 or 36.5 percent; Crow Wing Lake Twp., where it was $78,370 or 29.8 percent; and Lakeport Twp., where it was $78,144 or 27 percent.

Other towns where expenditures overran revenues in 2019 were Clay, by $11,655 or 17.6 percent of revenues; Fern, by $8,166 or 13.1 percent; Lake Alice, by $2,327 or 4.2 percent; Lake George, by $12,293 or 10.8 percent; Straight River, by $1,731 or 1 percent; Thorpe, by $944 or 2.2 percent; and White Oak, by $16,707 or 5 percent.

Outstanding debt

Finally, regarding the outstanding indebtedness of Minnesota townships as of Dec. 31, 2019, the auditor’s office reported:

  • Arago Twp. owed $39,461 on a general obligation bond.

  • Helga Twp. had $171,035 in non-bonded, long-term debt.

  • Nevis Twp. had $42,775 in non-bonded, long-term debt.