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Office of the State Comptroller - Local Government & School Accountability

Publications: Research Reports

Since 2003, the Division has been using the information OSC collects from local governments to produce research reports on major policy issues facing local governments and state policy-makers. Published under the Issues in Focus series, as brief bulletins on hot topics or as stand-alone reports, these publications help inform the public policy debate with data and analysis.

2014
Growing Cracks in the Foundation - Follow-Up Report

Growing Cracks in the Foundation: Local Governments Still Challenged to Keep Up with Vital Infrastructure Needs - Follow-Up Report [Released 09/10/14]

New York’s local governments report that they are falling behind in meeting their responsibilities to adequately maintain and improve these systems. [read complete Infrastructure Needs report - pdf]

Local Government Snapshot - July 2014

Snapshot: Growth in Local Sales Tax Collections Slows to 2.4 Percent in First Half of 2014; Long Island and Southern Tier Collections Decline [Released 07/30/14]

Although total local sales tax collections have grown each quarter since the end of the 2008-2009 recession, the rate of this growth has shown a downward overall trend. [read complete Growth in Local Sales Tax Collections report - pdf] | [read county-by-city data - pdf]

City of Glens Falls

2014 Fiscal Profile: City of Glens Falls [Released 07/23/14]

Like many other cities, Glens Falls has struggled in recent years to maintain services, avoid large tax increases and balance budgets. The City’s high debt service costs for infrastructure expenditures as well as its subsidization of the Civic Center continue to be a burden. By 2012, Glens Falls had drawn down its available general fund balance to $0.6 million, or 3.7 of percent of expenditures. [read complete City of Glens Falls report - pdf]

City of Albany

2014 Fiscal Profile: City of Albany [Released 06/03/14]

Albany had no available general fund balance between 2002 and 2006. Subsequently, the City’s available balance grew to a high of $19.8 million in 2008 before declining in the wake of the 2007-09 recession. Standard and Poor’s Rating Services rates the City of Albany’s general obligation debt at AA-, at the low end of its second-highest rating category. The City has formally applied to the Governor’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments for assistance and has been accepted by the Board. [read complete City of Albany report - pdf]


City of Middletown

2014 Fiscal Profile: City of Middletown [Released 05/30/14]

Between 2007 and 2012, the City’s available fund balance increased by 82 percent, from $3.8 million to $7.0 million in 2012. In 2012, Moody’s warned that rising employee benefit costs could put upward pressure on expenditures. Also, the State cap on growth in the property tax levy could affect the City’s ability to continue to balance its budget by increasing the property tax. [read complete City of Middletown report - pdf]


Annual Performance Report on New York State Industrial Development Agencies Fiscal Year Ending 2012

Annual Performance Report on New York State Industrial Development Agencies Fiscal Year Ending 2012 [Released 05/13/14]

Often, the required reports that industrial development agencies (IDAs) submit to OSC and other agencies are incomplete and inconsistent. Recent audits by OSC have found a lack of documented cost-benefit analysis, lack of recapture clauses in many project agreements and insufficient tracking of projects and their incentives. [read complete Annual Performance Report on New York State Industrial Development Agencies Fiscal Year ending 2012 report - pdf]


City of Plattsburgh

2014 Fiscal Profile: City of Plattsburgh [Released 05/07/14]

The City of Plattsburgh has strong financial operations marked by operating surpluses in 2010 and 2011, modestly sized but growing and diverse tax base and healthy reserve levels. However, Plattsburgh’s high proportion of tax-exempt properties, weak socioeconomic measures due to a large student population and high debt burden are possible threats to the City’s financial condition. [read complete City of Plattsburgh report - pdf]


Local Sales Tax Collections

Snapshot: Local Sales Tax Collections Increase by 5.2 Percent in 2013; New York City and Long Island Have Strongest Growth [Released 02/27/14]

Sales tax is a major revenue source for New York City and the 57 counties. The strongest growth for 2013 was in the Long Island region Some of the rapid sales tax growth seen there and in New York City was due to the rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Sandy. [read complete Local Sales Tax Collections report - pdf]


Revenue Challenges Facing School Districts

Snapshot: Revenue Challenges Facing School Districts [Released 01/14/14]

Between a tax levy limit that restricts local funding, State and federal aid cuts and a lack of other sources of funding, schools are facing fiscal challenges that are not likely to dissipate in the short term. [read complete Revenue Challenges Facing School Districts report - pdf]


City of Buffalo

2014 Fiscal Profile: City of Buffalo [Released 01/13/14]

Like many other "Rust Belt" cities, Buffalo suffered a decline as transportation patterns shifted and manufacturing facilities shut down. However, Buffalo still benefits from its location on the Canadian border and the City, with State and private sector support, has recently made significant efforts to promote new development. [read complete City of Buffalo report - pdf]