CHICAGO — Faced with declining state aid, Minnesota counties are relying more heavily on property taxes and spending more than they collect in revenue, leading to increased draw-downs on their unreserved balances, a state auditor’s report found.

The report released this week by auditor Rebecca Otto reviews the 2008 financial data of the state’s 87 counties and tracks long-term trends over the last decade. Over the last seven years, counties collectively relied more heavily on property tax revenue, with a 7.2% increase between 2007 and 2008. A similar trend was noted in Otto’s report on Minnesota city finances earlier this year.

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