Local Government Publications

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

May 2018 –

Most large urban areas in New York State are served by municipal sewer systems, many of which commingle stormwater with the wastewater from homes and businesses in combined sewer systems. The flows from combined sewers can overwhelm treatment systems and have a harmful impact on the environment. This report, as part of the Office of the State Comptroller’s infrastructure series, describes the current scale of the problem in the State and some of the steps being taken to remediate it. 

February 2018 –

Property tax exemptions can be a valuable tool to improve the affordability of housing for certain populations, fuel economic growth or encourage the adoption of energy-smart technologies. This report examines the amount and variety of property tax exemptions in New York State outside of New York City. It also looks at the specific points in the process where local governments can exercise some discretion, including the types of exemptions offered, how to ensure that exemptions are properly awarded and the use of alternative methods for raising revenue.

January 2018 –

Local sales tax collections for calendar year 2017 totaled $16.6 billion, an increase of $620 million, or 3.9 percent, from the previous year. This marks the highest year-over-year growth since 2013. 

January 2018 –

The Office of the New York State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) measures fiscal stress in school districts each year. This report summarizes results of school district scores for the 2016-17 school fiscal year, the fifth annual release of FSMS scores.

January 2018 –

This 2017 Annual Report on Local Governments provides a summary analysis of the financial state of the local governments outside of New York City for local fiscal years ending in 2016.

January 2018 –

The Accounting and Reporting Manual for Fire Districts is a comprehensive guide for fire districts and others interested in accounting and financial reporting by fire districts in New York State. The manual provides an overview of accounting and financial reporting principles to be used by fire districts to account and report their financial activities.

October 2017 –

This report highlights the North Country region's geography, demographics, municipalities, economy and labor markets, and includes a discussion about what the future may hold for the region.

October 2017 –

This report summarizes common findings from audits of 161 local government and 7 public authority water systems from January 2012 through May 2017. These audits identify deficiencies in financial management, including consistent overestimation of water revenues, incorrect billing, improper transfer of money between water and other funds, and insufficient internal controls and long-term planning. Many audits have also found other problems in water system operations, including significant losses as water travels from its sources to its users.

October 2017 –

Bridges are structures of chronic concern, both because of the degree to which we rely on them and the risks they pose should they fail. This report offers a quick look at New York’s bridges, including those in New York City. In 2016, 11 percent of all New York bridges were structurally deficient, according to federal standards. Bridges owned by New York’s local governments and authorities are more likely than State-owned bridges to be structurally deficient (12.8 percent compared to 9.0 percent). | Interactive Data

September 2017 –

The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) annually assesses fiscal stress in local governments and school districts. This report examines and summarizes notable trends in the fiscal scores of all 1,595 New York counties, cities, towns and villages regardless of their fiscal year end dates, for the period 2013 through 2016. 

September 2017 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information to local governments and school districts on the financial statement reporting requirements for tax abatements, as required by Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement No. 77, Tax Abatement Disclosures. This bulletin also identifies several programs in New York that meet GASB’s tax abatement definition.

August 2017 –

This report highlights the Finger Lakes region’s geography, demographics, municipalities, economy and labor markets, and includes a discussion about what the future may hold for the region.

August 2017 –

For the first half of calendar year 2017, local sales tax collections were $8.0 billion, a 3.3 percent increase over the same period last year. This is a slight improvement over the last several half-year periods. Economic factors supporting these results include continued low unemployment and high consumer confidence. Sales taxes were also boosted by growth in collections from sales of motor fuels.

July 2017 –

Federal aid is a critical component of local government revenues. Proposed changes to federal education policy, expanded military spending and the Executive Order declaring "sanctuary jurisdictions" ineligible for some federal grants could also affect New York's local governments. This report and the accompanying interactive data use information reported by local governments to help local officials and citizens understand how they could be affected by such changes. | Interactive Data

July 2017 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide updated guidance to local governments and school districts on the accounting for various gaming revenues. This bulletin addresses the following:

  • Moneys received or distributed as a result of Indian Gaming Compact or Settlement Agreement; and
  • Casino licensing fees and various gaming revenues as a result of the Upstate New York Gaming and Economic Development Act of 2013.

Updated July 2017 (Originally Issued February 2017)

May 2017 –

This bulletin provides updated guidance related to the accounting for retained percentages (retainage), including updates to previous accounting entries based on the current standards for recognition and measurement of certain liabilities.
Updated May 2017 (Originally Issued October 2014)

March 2017 –

The system for providing fire protection services throughout New York State can be surprisingly complex. This report will provide an overview of the organization, administration, membership benefits, and common OSC audit findings for fire protection entities.

March 2017 –

In 2015, the State’s 109 active Industrial Development Agencies reported projects valued at $88.7 billion, with nearly $700 million in net annual tax exemptions and $11.4 billion in total debt outstanding, including conduit and other debt. They supported 4,484 projects that had created 224,734 jobs from their inception through 2015. Interactive Map

February 2017 –

New York State requires school districts to report extensive data on their finances, student demographics and outcomes, teachers, school facilities, school climate and other factors. This report offers a regional perspective on some of this data. Looking at the results this way highlights geographic variation in these indicators.  Interactive Map | Technical Appendix [pdf]

February 2017 –

An overview of the different ways in which public water supplies are provided, regulated and funded in New York State. The report addresses specific concerns facing local governments including funding trends, capital planning practices and the emerging risk areas of contamination and security.