Local Government Publications

Search Audits for reports on municipalities and school districts dating back to 2014.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2021 –

This snapshot highlights the FSMS results for school districts that reported for school fiscal year (SY) 2019-20, which ended on June 30, 2020, which included the period of the statewide mandatory school shutdown from March 18 through the end of the school year. The snapshot also discusses some of the major fiscal stress risk factors posed by the pandemic for school districts in SY 2020-21 (not yet scored).

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2021 –

This snapshot highlights the FSMS results for school districts that reported for school fiscal year (SY) 2019-20, which ended on June 30, 2020, which included the period of the statewide mandatory school shutdown from March 18 through....

Guidance > Cash Disbursements, Cash Receipts, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

January 2021 –

Providing for sound cash management assures that investments are optimized for the best possible return for taxpayers.
Updated January 2021 (Originally Issued January 2016)

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight, Purchasing

January 2021 –

State contracts can provide many necessities for local governments and school districts like road salt, fuel, vehicles, heavy equipment, food, furniture, computer hardware and software, and much more. Goods and service contracts fall into three general categories: commodities, service and technology. Capitalizing on the State's buying power and expertise may result in lower prices and better quality goods and services.
Updated January 2021 (Originally Issued January 2016)

Local Government Management Guides > Claims Auditing/Credit Cards

December 2020 –

The guide has been written is a resource for those governing bodies and officials who are responsible for the audit of claims. It is also the hope that the information contained in the guide will be valuable to new board members and inexperienced claims auditors. The guide provides a foundation of knowledge that users can build upon as they gain experience auditing claims.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

December 2020 –

Local government sales tax collections declined by 7.1 percent, or $102 million, in November compared to the same month in 2019. The decline is steeper than in October, but not as bad as the double-digit declines in the earlier months (April-June) of the pandemic. All but five counties saw declines in overall collections in November, and New York City had a 6.5 percent, or $45 million, decline. | Regional Table [.xlsx]

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Capital Projects, Reporting

December 2020 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform local government and school district officials of the upcoming new requirements regarding the classification of leases for accounting and reporting purposes, as required by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 87, Leases (Statement 87). This bulletin explains the GASB’s new definition of a lease (including outlining the types of leases that are excluded by this new standard) and an explanation of what a lease term is per Statement 87. | Reasonably Certain Template [.xlsx]

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

November 2020 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance on identifying fiduciary activities for accounting and financial reporting purposes and how local governments and school districts will need to account for and report these activities in the Annual Update Document (AUD) and the ST-3. | GASB Statement 84 Implementation Guidance Frequently Asked Questions
Updated November 2020 (Originally Issued March 2020)

Research Reports > Sales Tax

November 2020 –

Local government sales tax revenue declined by 5.2 percent, or $74.4 million, in October compared to the same month in 2019. This drop was less severe than previous declines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the spring when collections fell by double-digits. New York City had a 5.3 percent, or $34.5 million, decline in revenue, and all but eight counties in the state saw drops in collections for October as well. | Regional Table [.xlsx]

Guidance > Capital Projects, Cash Disbursements, Cash Receipts, Debt, General Oversight, Purchasing

November 2020 –

A review of the basic duties of a town supervisor with statutory references designed to assist the newly elected supervisor in becoming familiar with the structure of town government and the supervisor's role in it. This is also a publication useful to town board members and other town officials.
Updated November 2020 (Originally Issued January 2018)

Research Reports > Budgeting, Reporting

October 2020 –

Participation in school district budget votes has been relatively low, particularly since the implementation of the tax cap. In response to the pandemic, school districts in New York State were required to provide all residents with an absentee ballot for the 2020-21 school budget vote. This new process likely contributed to an increase in participation: triple the number of votes were cast compared to the prior year. However, even with a slightly higher percentage of votes cast against the budgets, the ultimate results were similar to those of last year’s traditional voting process: nearly all budgets were approved on the first vote. For district-level information: http://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/research-budget-votes/budget-votes.cfm.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

October 2020 –

Statewide local sales tax collections in the third quarter of 2020 declined by 9.5 percent, or $452 million, over the same quarter in 2019. This decrease, while alarming in a typical year, was still a marked improvement from the 27.1 percent drop in the second quarter, which reflected the peak of the economic impact to date from the COVID-19 pandemic. New York City’s steep decline of nearly 22 percent in sales tax revenue was the main driver behind the overall drop in local government collections in the third quarter. Nearly every other region of the state saw at least some increase over the third quarter of 2019, although these increases were not as strong as in the pre-COVID first quarter. | Regional Table [.xlsx]

Research Reports > Sales Tax

October 2020 –

New York State imposes a "general sales tax" at a single rate on most goods and some services. Counties and cities can impose their own local sales tax in addition to the State rate. Local sales tax revenue is a major part of local government finances, amounting to $16.9 billion in 2019. This report is an update to the Office of the State Comptroller’s March 2015 publication on local government sales taxes in New York State.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

September 2020 –

This snapshot highlights the results for counties, cities, towns and villages that reported for local fiscal years ending (FYE) 2019. These scores, therefore, provide a baseline for local government fiscal preparedness in the period just prior to the pandemic. To provide additional context for these results, this snapshot also examines some of the biggest local government fiscal stress risk factors arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Sales Tax

September 2020 –

This snapshot highlights the results for counties, cities, towns and villages that reported for local fiscal years ending (FYE) 2019. These scores, therefore, provide a baseline for local government fiscal preparedness in the period just prior to the pandemic. To provide additional context for these results, this snapshot also examines some of the biggest local government fiscal stress risk factors arising from the COVID-19 crisis.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

September 2020 –

Local government sales tax revenue declined by 7.8 percent, or $111 million, in August compared to the same month last year. This drop in revenue is similar to the overall decline in July of 8.2 percent, though much less extreme than the early months of the pandemic when sales tax collections plummeted by double digits. All but two counties in the state experienced decreases in overall collections for August, and New York City’s collections dropped by 7.1 percent. | Regional Table [.xlsx]

Local Government Management Guides > Claims Auditing/Credit Cards

September 2020 –

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.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Budgeting, Reporting

August 2020 –

The purpose of this Legislation is to relieve some of the financial stress experienced by local governments and school districts as a result of the State Disaster Emergency declared pursuant to Executive Order 202 of 2020 (State Disaster Emergency).

Research Reports > Sales Tax

August 2020 –

Sales tax collections for local governments in July totaled $1.3 billion, or $116 million less than in July 2019. Although the month’s collections are down compared with last year, the decline is less steep than at any time since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect sales tax collections. Nearly every county in every region of the state saw decreases, and New York City experienced a 7.3 percent decline. | Regional Table [.xlsx]

Research Reports > Sales Tax

July 2020 –

Sales tax revenue for local governments in the second quarter of 2020 totaled $3.3 billion, a decline of $1.2 billion compared to the same period last year. The second quarter drop came after a 4.6 percent increase in first quarter collections, the strength of which was partly due to better collection of taxes on internet sales from small, out-of-state merchants. However, within the second quarter, collections for the month of June showed some improvement in most regions with many upstate counties experiencing year-over-year growth. | Monthly and Quarterly Local Sales Tax Collections by Region [.xlsx]