DISTRICT AUDITS

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What is an Audit?

Section 2. Audit [1] The managers of a Watershed District must have an annual audit completed of the books and accounts of the Watershed District. The annual audit may be made by a public accountant or by the state auditor.

The annual audit must be made by a certified public accountant or the state auditor at least once every five years, or when cumulative District revenues or expenditures exceed a specified amount set by the BWSR in consultation with the state auditor.

Requirements for an Audit (M.S. Chapter 103D.355, 6.54-6.55, 6.67 and 609.456)

The managers of a Watershed District must have an annual audit completed of the books and accounts of the Watershed District. The annual audit may be made by a public accountant or by the state auditor.

If the audit is made by the state auditor, the audit must be initiated by a petition of resident owners of the Watershed District or resolution of the managers of the Watershed District. The petition is guided by M.S. Chapter 6.54 -6.55. The cost for the state auditor’s services must be paid by the Watershed District.

If a public accountant in the process of auditing discovers evidence suggesting nonfeasance, misfeasance or malfeasance by an employee or officer of the public entity, the public accountant needs to make a prompt report to the county and state auditor per M.S. Chapter 6.67. This is also covered under M.S. Chapter 609.456.

Audits provide valuable information that helps managers make important policy decisions. Key questions should be asked of an auditor (Source: League of Minnesota (LMC) Handbook for Cities)

  • How is our Watershed District doing financially? The answer will be based on how close the fund balances are to the amounts planned in the budget.

  • Are financial statements consistent with the adopted budget? Significant variations should be identified and the reasons for the variations discussed.

  • What steps can our Watershed District take to improve financial operations and our financial health? Auditors may have suggestions for internal controls, and should be asked to comment on actions taken during the last fiscal year to address concerns raised in prior audits.

  • Are revenues generated by enterprise funds adequate to cover expenses and debt service requirements? If not, a rate adjustment may be needed.

  • Is the Watershed District using revenues from one fund to subsidize another? The extent and rationale for the subsidy should be examined.

  • Is the city relying on a revenue source that may be susceptible to change?

  • Are there any lawsuits or other contingencies that could affect Watershed District finances?

[1] Watershed District Handbook, Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts, November, 2005.