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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

CHAPTER 370. COUNTIES; CHANGE OF BOUNDARIES

Table of Sections
SectionHeadnote
370.01CHANGE OF BOUNDARIES; CREATION OF NEW COUNTIES.
370.02PETITION.
370.03PROCLAMATION TO HAVE ELECTION; ONLY ONE PROPOSITION.
370.04RECORD PETITION; PUBLISH NOTICE.
370.05NOTICE OF ELECTION; FORM OF BALLOT.
370.06CANVASS; JUDGES OF ELECTION; COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD.
370.07DUTIES AFTER ELECTION.
370.08EFFECT OF PROCLAMATION.
370.09QUALIFY COMMISSIONERS; ELECT CLERK; APPOINT OFFICERS.
370.10COMMISSIONER VACANCIES DUE TO BOUNDARY CHANGES.
370.11Repealed, 2001 c 198 s 8
370.12DUTIES OF AUDITOR; MEETING OF BOARD.
370.13REDISTRICTING OF COUNTY; SUBSEQUENT ELECTION.
370.14BOUNDARIES RESTORED AFTER CONTEST.
370.15WHEN HIGHWAY CENTERLINE TO BE CITY AND COUNTY BOUNDARY.
370.16Local, Big Stone and Lac qui Parle Counties
370.17TOWNS, SCHOOL, AND ROAD DISTRICTS.
370.18RECORDS TRANSCRIBED.
370.19TAXES; LEVY; COLLECTION.
370.20NEW COUNTIES; TAX LEVY.
370.21TRANSFER OF PLATS.
370.22COUNTY INDEBTEDNESS; COUNTY BUILDINGS.
370.23COUNTY BONDS; PAYMENT AND ISSUE.
370.24PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO ACT.
370.01 CHANGE OF BOUNDARIES; CREATION OF NEW COUNTIES.
The boundaries of counties may be changed by taking territory from a county and attaching
it to an adjoining county, and new counties may be established out of territory of one or more
existing counties. A new county shall contain at least 400 square miles and have at least 4,000
inhabitants. A proposed new county must have a total taxable market value of at least 35 percent
of (i) the total taxable market value of the existing county, or (ii) the average total taxable market
value of the existing counties, included in the proposition. The determination of the taxable
market value of a county must be made by the commissioner of revenue. An existing county shall
not be reduced in area below 400 square miles, have less than 4,000 inhabitants, or have a total
taxable market value of less than that required of a new county.
No change in the boundaries of any county having an area of more than 2,500 square miles,
whether by the creation of a new county, or otherwise, shall detach from the existing county any
territory within 12 miles of the county seat.
History: (602) RL s 380; 1913 c 337 s 1; 1917 c 359; 1919 c 458; 1985 c 109 s 1; 1988 c
719 art 5 s 84; 1989 c 329 art 13 s 20; 1990 c 480 art 9 s 12; 2001 c 198 s 1
370.02 PETITION.
A separate petition for each affected county signed by at least one-fourth of those voting in
the county at the last preceding election, giving the residence of each signer, may be filed with the
secretary of state, and a copy with the auditor of each county, at least 90 days before any general
election, requesting a change of county boundaries, or that a new county is established out of
territory taken from one or more existing counties. If the petition is for a change of boundaries, it
must contain a description of the territory to be taken, the name of the county from which the
territory is to be detached, and the county to which the territory is to be attached. If the petition
is for the establishment of a new county, it must be signed by at least a number of registered
voters equal to one-fourth of those voting in each portion of both the proposed new county and
the remaining portion of the existing county in the last general election, state the name of the
proposed new county, a description of the territory to be included, giving boundaries, the name
and location of the proposed county seat for the new county and for the remainder of the existing
county if not the current county seat, and the names and places of residence of the persons who
shall constitute the first county board.
History: (603) RL s 381; 1985 c 109 s 1; 2001 c 198 s 2
370.03 PROCLAMATION TO HAVE ELECTION; ONLY ONE PROPOSITION.
The secretary of state must certify, on the basis of information supplied by the county
auditor, that the signatures on the petition are registered voters of the affected county and that
there is the requisite number of them. Once this determination has been made, the secretary of
state shall notify the governor of the filing. The governor shall issue a proclamation, at least
60 days before the election, stating that the petitions have been filed, and the substance of the
petitions, and directing that the question of change of boundaries, or the establishment of a new
county and county seat as stated in the petition, as the case may be, be submitted to the voters of
the affected counties at the election. No more than one proposition may be submitted at the same
election, except for mutual exchange of territory between counties.
History: (604) RL s 382; 1985 c 109 s 1; 2001 c 198 s 3
370.04 RECORD PETITION; PUBLISH NOTICE.
Upon issuance of the proclamation, the secretary of state shall record the petitions, affidavits,
and proclamation, and transmit a certified copy of the proclamation, by mail, to the auditor
of each county.
History: (605) RL s 383; 1984 c 543 s 32; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.05 NOTICE OF ELECTION; FORM OF BALLOT.
The notice of the next general election of county officers must specify that the question of
forming the new county, or changing the boundaries of existing counties, as the case may be,
will be voted upon at the election, and must state substantially the facts in the petition. If the
proposition is for a change of boundaries, the ballots shall include the words: "For changing
county boundaries. Yes. No." If for the establishment of a new county, the words: "For a new
county. Yes. No." Each of the last two words, "yes" and "no," shall be followed by a square in
which the voter may make a cross to indicate a choice.
History: (606) RL s 384; 1985 c 109 s 1; 1986 c 444
370.06 CANVASS; JUDGES OF ELECTION; COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD.
The election judges, in addition to the returns required in other cases, shall transmit to the
secretary of state, by certified mail, their certificate of the number of votes cast for and against
any proposition submitted within 24 hours after the canvass is completed. The county canvassing
board shall make return of the vote as in the case of votes for state officers. The return must show
the result of the vote for and against any proposition submitted, in the proposed new county, as
well as in the entire county affected by the election.
History: (607) RL s 385; 1913 c 422 s 1; 1978 c 674 s 60; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.07 DUTIES AFTER ELECTION.
    Subdivision 1. State Canvassing Board. The State Canvassing Board shall canvass the
returns at the time of canvassing the votes cast for state officers, and in the same manner. The
board may use the returns received from the election judges to correct errors and supply omissions
in the returns of the county canvassing board. When the canvass is completed, the board shall file
a certificate declaring the result of the vote with the secretary of state.
    Subd. 2. Governor. If the certificate shows that the proposition has received a majority of the
votes cast in each affected county if changing county boundaries, or has received a majority of the
votes cast in the territory forming the proposed new county and a majority of the votes cast in the
remaining portion of the existing county if the proposition was for the establishment of a new
county, the governor shall issue a proclamation declaring that the proposition has been adopted
within ten days after completion of the canvass.
    Subd. 3. Secretary of state. The secretary of state shall record the certificate and
proclamation, and transmit a certified copy of the proclamation to the auditor of each county
whose territory is affected.
    Subd. 4. County auditors. The auditor shall, if the proposition was for the establishment of
a new county, serve a certified copy on each of the persons elected as county commissioners of
the new county.
    Subd. 5. Publish proclamation with laws. The proclamation shall also be published with
the general laws enacted at the next session of the legislature.
History: (608) RL s 386; 1913 c 422 s 2; 1984 c 543 s 33; 1985 c 109 s 1; 2001 c 198 s 4
370.08 EFFECT OF PROCLAMATION.
Upon the issuance of the proclamation, the proposed change of boundaries becomes
effective. If the proposition was for the establishment of a new county, it becomes duly organized.
The territory of the new county shall remain attached, for judicial purposes, to the county from
which it was taken, until the officers of the new county have been appointed and have qualified, as
provided in section 370.09.
History: (609) RL s 387; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.09 QUALIFY COMMISSIONERS; ELECT CLERK; APPOINT OFFICERS.
Immediately after the service upon them of copies of the governor's proclamation, the
persons chosen as commissioners shall meet at the place named as the county seat and qualify.
The county board shall elect one of its members to act as clerk until the auditor is qualified; and
shall then appoint the county officers, beginning with the auditor, and the appointed persons shall
qualify as required by law.
History: (610) RL s 388; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.10 COMMISSIONER VACANCIES DUE TO BOUNDARY CHANGES.
If a change in the boundaries of a county abolishes a commissioner district or districts in
the county, by the removal of all the territory of the district or districts from the original county,
or otherwise, or creates a vacancy or vacancies in the board of county commissioners of the
original county, and the board of county commissioners is left with less than five members, with
an even number of members, or with more than five members, to complete a board consisting
of an odd number of members, or at least five members, a special election shall be held as
provided by section 375.101, except that the person shall be elected at large within the changed
boundaries of the original county.
History: (611) 1907 c 5 s 1; 1985 c 109 s 1; 2001 c 198 s 5
370.11 [Repealed, 2001 c 198 s 8]
370.12 DUTIES OF AUDITOR; MEETING OF BOARD.
Immediately upon the election and qualification of the commissioner or commissioners
at large the county auditor shall give written notice, delivered personally or by mail, to each
commissioner in the county, of a meeting of the board. The meeting shall be held at least five,
but not more than ten, days after notice is given. The meeting's business shall include any
business which may have been required by law, or by previous proceedings, to be transacted by
the county board at a meeting held after the change of boundaries became effective and before
the vacancies created were filled, and which was not transacted, after the qualification of the
commissioner or commissioners at large, and shall have the effect and validity as if accomplished
at the prior meeting. Further proceedings required to follow the commissioners' action on these
matters shall be taken within the times or on the dates provided by law, or within a reasonable
time after giving notice as required by law.
History: (613) 1907 c 5 s 3; 1985 c 109 s 1; 2001 c 198 s 6
370.13 REDISTRICTING OF COUNTY; SUBSEQUENT ELECTION.
At least six months before the next general election in the county held after the election and
qualification of the commissioner or commissioners at large, unless there is less time between the
at-large election and qualification and the general election, in which event the action provided
for shall be taken at the first meeting after the commissioners have qualified, the board shall
proceed to redivide the county into five commissioner districts, numbered from 1 to 5, unless
otherwise provided by law. At the next general election held in the county after the redistricting, a
commissioner shall be elected from each district, the member from each odd-numbered district to
hold a two-year term, and the member from each even-numbered district to hold a four-year term,
and thereafter all commissioners, except those elected or appointed to fill vacancies for unexpired
terms, shall be elected for four-year terms. If, the redistricting causes any new district to cover the
same territory as any one of the old districts, the commissioner elected from the old district shall
continue to act as commissioner from the new district for the remainder of the term for which
elected. In case a contest, or other litigation, is pending involving the legality of the change of
boundaries of the county, the redistricting shall not be made until after the contest, or other
litigation, has been finally determined in favor of the change of boundaries. In this event, if the
term of any commissioner at large expires before the county is redistricted, a successor shall be
elected by the voters of the entire county for a term of four years, unless sooner ended, under
this chapter, or otherwise.
History: (614) 1907 c 5 s 4; 1985 c 109 s 1; 1986 c 444; 2001 c 198 s 7
370.14 BOUNDARIES RESTORED AFTER CONTEST.
If the territory detached from the county by the change of boundaries is restored to it by the
final determination of the courts as a result of a contest or other litigation concerning the change of
boundaries of the county, after the appointment or election of the commissioner or commissioners
at large, the term of office of each commissioner at large shall terminate immediately after
the election or appointment and qualification of a commissioner for the district of the former
commissioner whose place on the board is occupied by the commissioner at large. If the term
for which the former commissioner was elected has not expired, the former commissioner shall,
within 30 days after the final determination restoring the district to the county, qualify as required
by law and hold office for the remainder of the term. Otherwise the vacancy shall be filled by
appointment as in other cases.
History: (615) 1907 c 5 s 5; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.15 WHEN HIGHWAY CENTERLINE TO BE CITY AND COUNTY BOUNDARY.
Where a city of the fourth class in one county adjoins a city of the first class in another
county, and the centerline of a highway running along the boundary line between these cities and
counties deviates from the boundary line between these cities and counties, but the boundary line
is within or on the lateral limits of the highway, then the centerline of the highway shall be
established as the boundary line between the cities and the counties.
History: (615-1) 1933 c 230; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.16 [Local, Big Stone and Lac qui Parle Counties]
370.17 TOWNS, SCHOOL, AND ROAD DISTRICTS.
    Subdivision 1. If unaffected by new county lines. The towns, school districts, and road
districts whose boundaries are unaffected by the change of county lines shall continue to be the
same in the new county, or county to which transferred, under the same officers as before.
    Subd. 2. If divided by new county lines. Fractions of towns or districts divided by the
changed county lines shall be reorganized by the county board of the county in which they are
placed, or be attached to adjoining towns or districts, as the board considers best.
History: (616) RL s 389; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.18 RECORDS TRANSCRIBED.
All records in the office of the county recorder affecting real estate transferred under this
chapter from one county to another shall be transcribed by the county recorder of the county
to which the transfer is made. In the same manner, the county auditor shall transcribe from
the auditor's office the records and documents that the county board directs. The board of
commissioners of the county to which the records are transmitted shall pay the county recorder
and the county auditor for transcribing the records. These transcribed records shall have the
same effect, for all purposes, as the originals.
History: (617) RL s 390; 1907 c 136 s 1; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.19 TAXES; LEVY; COLLECTION.
No transfer of territory under this chapter shall affect the collection of taxes levied at the date
of the filing of the petition. The taxes shall be collected by the officers of the original county, and
all money remaining in or coming into the treasury of the original county, or into the possession of
any county officer, and belonging to any town, school, or road district in the territory transferred,
shall be apportioned and paid to the town or district in the same manner as if the town or district
had remained a part of the original county. After the filing of the petition no county tax shall be
extended, by or on behalf of the original county, upon any property within the territory proposed
to be transferred, unless and until the proposed change has been rejected.
History: (618) RL s 391; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.20 NEW COUNTIES; TAX LEVY.
When a new county has been, or may be, created and organized out of territory within the
boundaries of one or more organized counties in the state, the county board of the new county
may, immediately or within 90 days after its organization, levy a tax for county purposes for the
current year, subject to the limitations now provided by law, and the county auditor shall extend
the tax upon the auditor's tax books. The tax is due 30 days from the date of the levy and shall be
paid and collected as other taxes for county purposes are now paid and collected. All tax levies
made for county purposes by the county board of the county or counties out of which the new
county is created and organized, during the year immediately preceding the organization of
the new county, which affect the territory within the boundary of the new county, are vacated
and any extension is void.
History: (619) 1911 c 11 s 1; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.21 TRANSFER OF PLATS.
The county recorder of the county from which a land transfer is made under this chapter shall
deliver the records, or certified copies, of the original plats of land in the territory transferred, to
the county recorder of the county to which the territory is transferred. The county recorder of the
county to which a land transfer is made shall then record and file the records.
History: (620) RL s 392; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.22 COUNTY INDEBTEDNESS; COUNTY BUILDINGS.
All transferred territory is liable for its proportion of the excess indebtedness of the original
county above the value of its county buildings and of the balance of funds in its treasury. The
share shall be based upon the last assessment, and the value of the buildings, unless agreed upon
by the respective county boards, shall be fixed by the sworn appraisal of three disinterested
citizens, none of whom shall be a resident or taxpayer in either county, and who shall be appointed
by the governor, upon the written application of the board of either county. The appraisal shall be
in writing, subscribed and verified by at least two appraisers, and filed in the office of the secretary
of state, and shall be final and conclusive. Within five days after the filing of the appraisal, the
secretary of state shall transmit to the auditor of each of the counties a certified copy of the
appraisal, application, appointment and oath.
History: (621) RL s 393; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.23 COUNTY BONDS; PAYMENT AND ISSUE.
The county board of the county to which territory is transferred shall pay for indebtedness by
levying a tax at the time fixed by law for so doing; and, for the purpose of meeting any portion of
the indebtedness which may become due before it can be raised by taxation, and providing for
the necessary county expenses, the board in any new county may issue bonds of its county, with
coupons attached, for not more than $10,000, to run for a period of not more than ten years, at a
rate of interest as authorized under section 475.55.
History: (622) RL s 394; 1985 c 109 s 1
370.24 PENALTY FOR REFUSAL TO ACT.
The validity of the establishment of any new county shall not be affected by the failure or
refusal of any county officer to do any of the acts or things required by this chapter, but any officer
who refuses or willfully neglects to perform any required duty is guilty of malfeasance in office.
History: (623) RL s 395; 1985 c 109 s 1