Local Government Publications

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

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

September 2019 –

This report summarizes the fiscal and environmental results of all 1,586 New York counties, cities, towns and villages for their fiscal years ending (FYE) in 2018 and compares results to FYE 2017. It also points to useful tools to help local governments experiencing stress, such as multiyear financial planning to ensure that financial resources are available for future needs. 

Research Reports > Budgeting, Capital Projects, Debt, Information Technology, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

September 2019 –

The City of Schenectady recently began installing energy saving LED street lights and expanding wireless connectivity to certain neighborhoods as part of its Smart City Project. Other local governments across New York State are also turning to new technologies to save money, better communicate with residents and allow taxpayers to make payments online. The report notes that local government leaders should be prepared to systematically address the heightened need for cybersecurity, particularly concerning smart infrastructure devices and related data.

Local Government Management Guides > Capital Projects

September 2019 –

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].

Research Reports > Budgeting

August 2019 –

New York State’s Constitutional Tax Limit (CTL) restricts the amounts local governments may raise by taxing real estate in any fiscal year. All cities, counties and villages must comply. Overall, relatively few municipalities are dangerously close to their CTL; however, the number has been increasing in recent years. For these communities, the CTL poses a serious constraint on their ability to generate revenue. This report, using data through 2018, examines recent trends in the proximity of cities (excluding New York City), counties and villages to the CTL and focuses in more detail on those for whom the CTL poses the biggest budgeting challenge.

Research Reports > Reporting

August 2019 –

Parents, educators, the public and State policymakers agree that student safety must be a top priority in every school. This report summarizes some of the information reported by New York’s public school districts on violent and disruptive incidents and expenditures on school building security materials and equipment, and includes a series of regional profiles.

Accounting and Reporting Manuals (ARMs) > Budgeting, Reporting

August 2019 –

The Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) has compiled the manual as a comprehensive accounting/reporting guide for school district officials and others interested in accounting and financial reporting by school districts in New York State. It provides an overview of generally accepted governmental accounting and financial reporting principles, and OSC’s interpretations of such principles, where pronouncements are silent or do not address problems common among school districts within New York State.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

July 2019 –

Local sales tax collections for the first half of 2019 totaled $8.8 billion in New York State. Collections grew by 3.4 percent and 3.2 percent in the first and second quarters, respectively, over the same periods in 2018. This moderate pace is closer to those seen in most of 2017 than to the stronger early quarters of 2018.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

June 2019 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide updated account code guidance for school districts recording contributions to the New York State and Local Employee Retirement System (ERS) and to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).

Annual Reports > Debt, Reporting

May 2019 –

In 2017, the State’s 109 active Industrial Development Agencies reported projects valued at $98.1 billion, with over $750 million in net annual tax exemptions and $8.0 billion in total debt outstanding, including conduit and other debt. They supported 4,385 projects that produced a net total of 198,522 jobs gained since their inception through 2017. | Interactive Map

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Reporting

May 2019 –

Broadly speaking, Long Island residents enjoy a high quality of life, reflected in high median incomes, relatively low unemployment and crime rates, strong public schools, numerous higher education opportunities and many cultural and natural recreational activities. However, the region's population and economic growth comes with challenges, such as traffic congestion and high property taxes.

Research Reports > Reporting

March 2019 –

Statewide, foreclosure filings fell by 46 percent between 2013 and 2018. Foreclosure rates are highest in the Long Island and the Mid- Hudson regions. Only four counties— Clinton, Putnam, Rockland, and Suffolk— have a foreclosure rate over 1 percent. Other stakeholders are pursuing efforts to reduce harm to local governments and communities caused by “zombie properties.”

Local Government Management Guides > General Oversight, Information Technology, Inventories

March 2019 –

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

January 2019 –

Local sales tax collections in New York State were $17.5 billion in 2018, a 5.3 percent increase over the previous calendar year and the third consecutive year that growth in collections improved. Certain economic factors may be contributing to this improvement--more than 62,000 additional New York residents were employed in 2018, total wages for the first two quarters increased by nearly 5.7 percent compared to the same period in the prior year, consumer confidence has remained high and consumer spending has been mostly steady throughout the year.

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

January 2019 –

The 2018 Annual Report on Local Governments 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.

Guidance > Cash Disbursements, Claims Auditing/Credit Cards, Justice Court, Reporting

January 2019 –

The handbook for Town and Village Justices and Court Clerks is to assist in fulfilling the financial reporting requirements of the Town and Village courts. This publication may be requested in hardcopy from the Justice Court Fund by calling 518-473-6438 or 518-473-6830.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2019 –

This report summarizes results of school district scores for the 2017-18 school fiscal year (SY) and compares results to SY 2016- 17.

Research Reports > Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

December 2018 –

Local governments or public authorities own 20 of the State’s 27 municipal solid waste landfills, the type of landfills that take in most of what we typically think of as “garbage”—residential, commercial and institutional waste. This report examines the role of local governments in solid waste management, with particular attention to the issues they confront as municipal solid waste landfill owners.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

September 2018 –

The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) annually assesses fiscal stress in local governments and school districts. This report summarizes the fiscal and environmental results of all 1,589 New York counties, cities, towns and villages for their fiscal years ending in 2017.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

August 2018 –

Local sales tax collections in New York State for the first half of 2018 were $8.5 billion, a 6.0 percent increase over the same period last year. This was the highest half-year increase since 2010, growing in every region of the State compared to the first half of 2017. Factors that may have influenced this include the lowest unemployment rate in over a decade, steady wage growth in the first half of 2018 and high consumer confidence.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

July 2018 –

This bulletin provides information regarding the accounting treatment for other post-employment benefits (OPEB) and guidance on how local governments and school districts can comply with the new standards in the Annual Update Document (AUD) and ST-3. | GASB 75 & OPEB Frequently Asked Questions