Local Government Publications

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

Research Reports > Debt, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

July 2020 –

The report summarizes most recently completed data (fiscal year ending 2018) found in these annual reports. In addition to reviewing IDA data, the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) provides training to IDA officials on various topics, including recent legislative reforms and how to improve their compliance with reporting requirements. | Interactive Map

Research Reports > Budgeting, Debt, Financial Condition, Fiscal Stress, Revenues/Cash Management, Sales Tax

July 2020 –

Our State’s local governments are being tested on many fronts as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This report will examine some of the major risks to these revenue sources, the dependence of local governments on each, and the effects of federal government actions to help keep local governments afloat thus far.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > General Oversight

June 2020 –

This guidance document discusses the importance of proper fiscal oversight by local and school district officials during these unprecedented times. It also identifies various revenues available under the CARES Act to local governments and school districts in New York State. Lastly, it addresses how CARES Act revenues and pandemic-related expenditures should be accounted for by local government and school district officials.
Updated July 2020 (Originally Issued June 2020)

Research Reports > Sales Tax

June 2020 –

Sales tax revenue for local governments in May totaled $918 million, or $437 million less than 2019. The sharp decline in revenues was widespread around the state, ranging from a drop of 19.5 percent in Westchester County to a 41.5 percent decline in Tioga County. Nearly every county in every region of the state saw a large drop in overall collections. New York City experienced a 31.9 percent decline, amounting to $196 million in lost revenues for a single month.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

May 2020 –

Plummeting sales tax collections were widespread, leaving counties, cities and some other local governments short by about $327 million compared to last year. Although the first quarter of 2020 was relatively strong, March sales tax collections had already begun to show the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown–a decrease of 3.7 percent statewide with the largest declines downstate. The April figures show shrinking revenues for local governments throughout the state.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

April 2020 –

New York State local sales tax collections in the first quarter (January-March) of 2020 totaled $4.4 billion. This was an increase of 4.6 percent over the same period last year, mostly reflecting sales made before the statewide implementation of business and office closures and social distancing policies in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

April 2020 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide updated guidance to counties on accounting for Medicaid expenditures. This bulletin supersedes our November 2005 accounting bulletin entitled Medicaid Cap Update.

Research Reports > Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

March 2020 –

New York’s school districts are responsible for one of the most important functions of government – educating children from kindergarten through 12th grade. Each district must navigate a complex set of State rules and local needs and determine how to fund its programs using a mix of local property taxes and State and federal aid sources. This report provides regional analysis of certain financial and demographic data for New York’s school districts outside of New York City. It presents this information to identify the levels and recent trends in revenue, expenditures, district wealth, student characteristics and outcomes, and special education services that could impact district budgets. | School District Level Data [xlsx]

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

March 2020 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide updated information regarding pension accounting treatment and guidance on how our local governments and school districts can comply with the new requirements, including compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), the Annual Update Document (AUD) and ST-3.
Updated March 2020 (Originally Issued May 2015)

Research Reports > Financial Condition, Reporting

March 2020 –

Local officials are statutorily required to file certain financial reports annually with the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC). While most local governments file within required timeframes, some do not. A relatively small number of local governments are severely delinquent—failing to file for three or more years—which calls into question the financial standing of the locality as well as the effectiveness of the management of the local government in general.

Annual Reports > Debt, Financial Condition, Fiscal Stress, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management, Sales Tax

February 2020 –

The following report highlights the very difficult fiscal environment under which local officials are expected to fulfill their obligations to the people they serve, as well as outlining the significant steps OSC is taking to assist in these efforts. | NYS Local Government Interactive Data

Research Reports > Sales Tax

February 2020 –

Local sales tax collections in New York State totaled $18.3 billion in 2019 for a year-over-year increase of 4.7 percent. While this was slower than the 5.3 percent annual growth for 2018, it exceeded growth in all other years since 2013. The economic climate in 2019 was generally positive for sales tax growth. The statewide labor market remained firm throughout the year, with continued employment and wage growth. Consumer spending also held up well throughout the year, despite slightly reduced consumer confidence over prior years.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Revenues/Cash Management, Sales Tax

January 2020 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance related to accounting for Aid and Incentives for Municipalities (AIM)-Related Payments. These payments are a result of a recent amendment to the New York State Tax Law, which requires a portion of county-imposed sales tax revenues to be withheld and distributed by the State Comptroller to certain towns and villages in accordance with new Tax Law Section 1261.
Updated January 2020 (Originally Issued December 2019)

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2020 –

This report summarizes results of school district scores for the 2018-19 fiscal school year (SY) and compares results to SYs 2016-17 and 2017-18. The report reflects the seventh annual release of FSMS scores. FSMS covers 674 school districts in 57 counties, but excludes the New York City School District.

Research Reports > Debt, Fiscal Stress

November 2019 –

Local government debt is necessary for the funding of expensive and long-lived capital infrastructure. However, high debt can place pressure on a local government’s ability to pay debt service while still addressing other funding needs, and increasing reliance on short-term debt could be a sign of structural budget imbalance. Local debt outstanding appears to have stabilized since the last recession, after more than a decade of substantial increases. Some types of local government, especially counties and fire districts, have continued to increase their total levels of debt. In general, downstate has the highest debt per capita, although there are pockets of higher debt around the State.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

November 2019 –

Local sales tax collections in New York State totaled $4.8 billion in the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 6.3 percent over the third quarter of 2018. This growth was stronger than in either of the first two quarters of the year.

Research Reports > Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

November 2019 –

The Office of the State Comptroller collects property tax levy and assessed value data from local governments statewide and makes this information available online. These detailed tables show tax levies, property values and tax rates for each city, county, town, village and school district in the State. This report uses 2019 data to summarize property tax results and trends in the State. 

Local Government Management Guides > General Oversight, Information Technology, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

October 2019 –

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.

Local Government Management Guides > Information Technology

October 2019 –

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.

Local Government Management Guides > Information Technology

October 2019 –

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.