Audit Exposes Mountrail County’s $176.8 Million in Reserves

Mountrail County Courthouse in Stanley, North Dakota. (Photo via screenshot.)

The taxpayers of Mountrail County should be demanding some answers from their county commissioners. The State Auditor’s office released audit findings yesterday showing the county has about $176.8 Million in “available cash balances”.

“Having debt-free, available cash balances in the excess of $176.8 million is not common and resulted in a thorough review of Mountrail County’s budget process.” –State Auditor, Josh Gallion

Not only is this “not common”, but one source at the State Capitol told me that the total reserves for North Dakota’s 53 counties is just under $1 Billion. If true, that means Mountrail County — with its population of around 10,000 people — accounts for about 20% of that.

To put this into a different perspective, the $176.8 Million figure is more than three times that of Cass County’s— with its population of more than 180,000 people. Is anyone else seeing a problem here?

There were a number of concerns found in the State Audit of Mountrail County— ten of them to be exact. Here’s some of the highlights:

  • Failed to Submit Required Information to Tax Department
  • No Supporting Documentation for Estimated Cash in Annual Budget
  • Exceeding Interim Funds Allowed by State Law
  • Does Not Currently Prepare a Fraud Risk Assessment

There’s definitely more. But I can’t help but wonder how the folks in Mountrail County feel about all of this? Especially since many of them have incurred property tax increases while the county has been banking unlawful reserves. It’s not a good look.

It’s certainly amazing what government will do when the people aren’t watching. This should be a lesson for all of us, not just the taxpayers of Mountrail County.

Get involved.



  1. Mountrail County Audit Finds Interim Funds Exceeds Amount Allowed by State Law | State Auditor’s Office
  2. 2019 Mountrail County – SAO Report.pdf (
  3. Mountrail County under scrutiny after state audit | KX NEWS (
  4. Cass County CAFR.cdr (
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About T. Arthur Mason 882 Articles
T. Arthur Mason is a native North Dakotan who has spent nearly all of his life in the Peace Garden State. As the third of four children in Western North Dakota, Mason grew to appreciate family and the outdoors. Some of his fondest memories are annual deer hunts with family and friends. In his early teenage years, faith became a central part of T. Arthur Mason's life. He and the majority of his family attend church together on a weekly basis and find this a fulfilling aspect of their lives. Through the influence of his father, T. Arthur Mason became intrigued with politics. As a boy, he attended political events with his father and enjoyed the friendships that resulted as a byproduct of those political associations. As Mason grew older, he became convinced that the quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson was true, "That government is best which governs least." Today, T. Arthur Mason enjoys time with his wife and children, an occasional hunt, and an increasingly active life on the political scene. This blog is the fulfillment of a dream to design a web site in the realm of politics and to advocate for the principles of Liberty and constitutionally limited government. On behalf of all those that contribute to The Minuteman, we hope you enjoy your time on the site and will share the message with others.