County reimbursement for legal costs

A bill was heard in the State Government Committee this week to reimburse Wright, Becker, and Ramsey Counties for legal fees incurred due to a lawsuit by then-State Auditor Rebecca Otto regarding the privatization of audits authorized in the 2015 Omnibus State Government bill. The reimbursement language was included in the vetoed 2017 Omnibus State Government bill. In April 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the 2015 law that allows counties to use private CPA firms to conduct annual financial audits.

The legal cost for Wright and Becker Counties has been determined to be $140,000, and it is still unclear how much Ramsey County spent. The issue is largely resolved, and a new State Auditor, Julie Blaha, is leading the office after her election last year. (SF 154)