Local Government and 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.
Report on the Private Sales of Bonds: August 13, 2010 through June 30, 2011 [Released 12/29/11]
Local Finance Law requires the State Comptroller to report on private bond sales conducted by local government entities from the effective date of the Act through June 30, 2011. Because these private sales may be economically beneficial to local governments, OSC recommends that the expiration provision on the statutory private sale cap of $5 million be repealed. [read complete Private Sales of Bonds report - pdf]
Local Government Snapshot: 2010 Census: Implications for New York State’s Local Governments [Released 10/13/11]
New York State’s population increased by 2.1 percent between 2000 and 2010 – the fifth slowest rate of growth among all states nationwide. Gains or losses in population cause a shift in the local tax base, drive adjustments in State and federal revenue allocations, and influence the demand for municipal services and infrastructure. [read complete 2010 Census Snapshot - pdf]
Local Government Snapshot: Local Government Information Security: The Cost of Inadequate Protections [Released 08/12/11]
Along with the ways that the new technologies change how we work comes the responsibility to protect confidential information adequately so that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized individuals. Failure to do so can come at a considerable financial cost.
[read complete Information Security Snapshot - pdf]
Local Government Snapshot: Local Government Spending on Highways [Released 07/13/11]
New York’s 57 counties (excluding New York City), 61 cities, 932 towns, and 556 villages reported spending nearly $2.6 billion to maintain 187,000 highway lane miles in 2009. Highway maintenance is one of the largest categories of expense for local governments, representing 7.6 percent of total local government expenditures. [read complete Highway Spending Snapshot - pdf]
Annual Performance Report on New York State's Industrial Development Agencies [Released 07/12/11]
The 115 IDAs operating in the State in 2009 are just one type of entity that performs economic development functions. Additionally, there are 279 local development corporations (LDCs) operating in New York State. There have been and continue to be persistent problems and questions related to local governments’ use of LDCs, and to IDA performance and accountability. In response, Comptroller DiNapoli recently advanced a reform package that would limit municipal use of LDCs to finance local government operations and the acquisition or improvement of their assets. [read complete IDA report - pdf]
Local Government Snapshot: Reducing the Cost of Tax Assessment Through Shared Services [Released 05/05/11]
Real property tax assessment is an important function of local governments. In 2009, New York’s city, county, town and village assessing units spent nearly $132 million and employed roughly 1,350 certified assessors, tax directors, and assessment appraisers. Local governments should explore sharing this function to achieve cost savings and improve the quality of assessments.
[read complete May Snapshot - pdf]
Municipal Use of Local Development Corporations and Other Private Entities: Division of
Local Government and School Accountability Background, Issues and Recommendations [Released 04/14/11]
New York’s counties, cities, towns, and villages frequently utilize local development corporations (LDCs) and other private entities for economic development and other activities. These LDCs and similar private entities are exempt from many of the constitutional and statutory provisions that guide the operations and financial transactions conducted by local governments, increasing the risk of waste, fraud, or abuse of taxpayer dollars or assets.
[read complete LDC report - pdf]
Local Government Snapshot: Fiscal Impact of Proposed School Aid Cuts [Released 03/17/11]
The 2011-12 Executive Budget proposes a $1.5 billion net cut in State aid to schools, which would result in a 7.3 percent decrease in aid to districts statewide, translating to a 2.9 percent reduction to total general fund budgets. [read complete March Snapshot - pdf] | [read District by District report - pdf]
Research Brief - Staying Ahead of the Curve: School Districts Responding to Fiscal Challenges [Released 03/14/11]
This report describes the fiscal challenges facing school districts in New York State. As with other classes of government, school districts have struggled to maintain fiscal balance in the midst of rising costs and declining economic conditions. [read complete Research Brief - pdf] | [read regional profile report]
Local Government Snapshot: January 2011 - Sales Tax Collections Improve in 2010;
County Collections Still Shy of 2008 [Released 02/04/11]
Local sales tax collections grew by 9.9 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, when sales tax collections declined by 6.0 percent. However, nearly a third of this growth was due to a sales tax rate increase in New York City. [read complete January Snapshot report - pdf]