Publications: Local Government Management Guide





Capital Assets

This guide will address a number of practices that local officials can use to receive the most value from their government’s investment in capital assets.

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Capital Projects Fund

Local governments undertake capital projects to acquire, develop, improve or maintain various facilities, other infrastructure and/or equipment. These projects are generally large in scale, require large sums of money and are long-term. A capital projects fund is used to account for the financial resources supporting capital projects during the life of the project. This guide is intended to provide local officials with an overview of the use of capital projects funds and guidance on the fundamentals of accounting for capital projects. Accounting and reporting for capital projects can be a complex matter. As a result, we have developed several comprehensive examples and corresponding journal entries: Sample Capital Project #1 - Construction of a new office building (City) [pdf]; Sample Capital Project #2 - Purchase of a new highway truck (Town) [pdf]; Sample Capital Project #3 - Purchase of a new highway truck (Village) [pdf].

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Cash Management Technology

Learn about electronic cash management technologies and the internal controls needed to help detect fraud and ensure that all transactions are captured. Relevant topics include the use of online banking, electronic transfers of funds, accepting credit/debit cards, remote deposit capture, lockboxes and common protection practices to safeguard cash.

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Financial Condition Analysis

This guide is designed to help you analyze the financial condition of your local government or school district.

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Fiscal Oversight Responsibilities of the Governing Board

This guide covers the following key fiscal oversight responsibilities of a governing board: developing policies, monitoring fiscal operations and conducting audits.

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Improving the Effectiveness of Your Claims Auditing Process

Primarily for officials who are new to the task of auditing claims, this guide provides basic information about the steps required in an effective auditing process.

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Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity

Years ago, Industrial Control Systems (ICS) were considered low-risk because they were isolated from networks and the Internet but interconnectivity with the outside world is now a reality. There are many steps municipalities can take to improve their ICS cybersecurity and better protect the health and safety of their residents.

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Information Technology Contingency Planning

The impact of an unplanned IT disruption involving the corruption or loss of data or other computer resources could significantly curtail an organization’s operations. Proactively anticipating and planning for IT disruptions prepares personnel for the actions they must take if this happens.

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Information Technology Governance

The following guidance is intended to make the oversight of information technology less daunting by providing a template for understanding and strengthening controls over IT.

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Investing and Protecting Public Funds

To keep public funds safe, officials and cash managers need to understand the requirements they must comply with and the investment limitations and safeguards required of local government investments and deposits. This guide includes the following sections about the fundamentals of investing and protecting local government funds in New York State: • Prudence in Investments • Actively Monitor Cash Flow • Investment of Public Funds • Protection of Deposits and Investments • Investment Policy • Other Topics

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Management’s Responsibility for Internal Controls

This guide is designed to introduce local government and school managers and officials to the components of an integrated internal control framework. The following topics are discussed in this guide: • The Origin - Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (COSO) • Integrated Internal Control Framework - The Big Picture • The Five Essential Elements of Internal Control • Limitations of Internal Controls • The Impact of Information Technology • The Role of Internal Auditors and Audit Committees.

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Multiyear Capital Planning

This guide will address the process for developing an effective capital plan. It will discuss: • Developing a capital planning process • Creating an asset inventory • Prioritizing capital projects • Assessing budgetary impacts • Financing capital acquisitions • Adopting a capital plan and budget • Monitoring plan results.

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Multiyear Financial Planning

This guide is intended to help local governments create an effective multiyear planning process that helps identify and manage potential fiscal difficulties before crises emerge. Developed with input and assistance from local officials across the State, this handbook provides general guidelines for the development of a financial planning process, including suggestions for how to: • Make good long-term revenue and expenditure projections; • Measure expected benefits from proposed local actions; and • Draw those projections together in a useful document for local decision-makers and other audiences.

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Personal Service Cost Containment

This guide is designed to assist local governments and school districts contain certain personal service costs. It is broken down into the following sections: • Containing Health Insurance Costs • Minimizing Unemployment Insurance Costs • Managing Workers’ Compensation Costs • Overtime Planning and Management The suggestions in this guide are ideas for you to consider and possibly utilize in the management of your operations and in the development of your annual budget. You will need to tailor these cost savings opportunities to fit the requirements and needs of your local government or school district.

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Ransomware

Malicious software, or malware, refers to software programs that are designed to harm computer systems. These programs can wreak havoc on both systems and electronic data by, for example, deleting files, gathering sensitive information such as passwords without the computer user’s knowledge and making systems inoperable. Computer users can inadvertently install malware on their computers by many methods, including opening email attachments, downloading content from the Internet or merely visiting infected websites.

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Reserve Funds

This guide describes the types of reserve funds that local governments and school districts can establish and maintain. In general, reserve funds have specific intended purposes and requirements as set forth in law. This guide contains a summary of the many different types of reserve funds authorized by New York State statutes. The descriptions included in this guide provide information on: • General provisions for each type of reserve fund • Purposes for which each reserve fund may be used • Special provisions, if applicable, that pertain to certain reserve funds, such as: • Maximum total reserve balance permitted • Maximum annual contribution in any fiscal year • Referendum requirements for establishing or expending from reserve funds • Permitted uses of any unobligated or excess reserve funds.

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Seeking Competition in Procurement

This guide provides an overview of the following procurement topics: • Who is Responsible ? • Planning and Promotion • Seeking Competition • E-Procurement • Cooperative Purchasing • Piggybacking on Certain Government Contracts • Procurement Policies and Procedures • Professional Services • Preferred Sources • Environmentally Responsible Purchasing • Ethics and Conflicts of Interest.

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Shared Services in Local Government

Shared services can help municipalities increase effectiveness and efficiency in their operation. As municipal responsibilities become increasingly complex and demanding, municipalities should explore shared services and other cooperative opportunities as a way to reduce or avoid costs, improve service delivery, or maintain services.

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Strategic Planning

We have designed this publication for both elected and appointed local officials who are interested in strategic planning. This guide assumes no prior knowledge of strategic planning and takes a very basic approach to the rudiments involved in creating and implementing such a strategic plan. This publication aims to convey the following: • Description of strategic planning: what it is, key terms and concepts • Why strategic planning is beneficial • How to apply this technique • Who should be involved, and at which stages • Offer a “how-to” guide that takes you from inception to implementation The Office of the State Comptroller advocates strategic planning as another tool to preserve your municipality’s fiscal health and overall well-being. By taking a look at the past and present, we believe that you will be better equipped to craft your own future.

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The Practice of Internal Controls

The purpose of this management guide is to provide practical information about internal controls for local government financial operations. The control procedures discussed in this guide are presented in an easy reference format which lists individual controls (for specific financial areas) and the reasons why the control is important. Choosing the right internal controls and ensuring that they are consistently applied will help ensure that local governments are using public assets efficiently and protecting against loss, waste and abuse

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Travel and Conference Expense Management

In addition to policy development, this guide also includes practical discussions on establishing lodging, meal, and mileage rates; standardized travel forms; using credit cards and cash advances to pay for travel; extension of travel for personal reasons; travel expenses of spouses and other nonemployees; and other topics associated with the management of travel and conference expenses. We have also included information pertinent to volunteer firefighters and online training.

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Trouble Ahead: Managing Your Budget in Times of Fiscal Stress

In this environment, it is more important than ever that finance officers actively monitor their budgets against actual revenue collections and expenditure outlays to minimize the risk of a year-end deficit. By following a simple, stepby-step process, local governments can determine what budget assumptions may need revisiting, what expenditures may need to be reduced to maintain budget balance, and where they stand financially throughout the fiscal year. During times of fiscal stress, the overriding financial principle must become “don’t spend money you may not have.”

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Understanding the Budget Process

This guide is a resource for those governing bodies and officials who are responsible for preparing, developing, and monitoring the annual budget. The following is an overview of the information contained in this guide: • Who is Responsible? • Information Used to Prepare the Budget • Budget Preparation Process • Putting the Tentative Budget Together • Implementing the Budget • Monitoring the Budget

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Wireless Technology and Security

The purpose of this guidance is to provide a basic overview of wireless technology and security. There are a number of steps that local governments and school districts can take to help mitigate the risks of wireless technology. Although wireless environments and their related security systems can be quite complex, a government personnel can implement effective controls with relative ease and without incurring additional cost.

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