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'Special districts' get once-over from state

State Auditor Rebecca Otto has released the Special Districts Finance Report, a comprehensive report on the revenues, expenditures and debt of Minnesota's special districts for the 2010 fiscal year.

This report is intended to provide transparency for 585 special districts to the public and policymakers.

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 -- such as watershed districts.

Three of the larger special districts in Minnesota are Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Council, and the Southern Municipal Power Agency.

Highlights from the report include:

• Special districts reported total governmental fund revenues of $979.8 million in 2010.

The primary sources of revenues for special district governmental funds in 2010 were taxes (30 percent), state grants (27 percent), federal grants (14 percent), local grants (13 percent), and charges for services (11 percent).

• Special districts reported total governmental expenditures of $1 billion in 2010. Of that, $824.2 million were current expenditures, $89.9 million were capital expenditures, and $89.3 million were debt service payments.

See the Minnesota Auditor's Office website for the full report.