Local Government Publications

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

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

Research Reports > Reporting

July 2018 –

A number of laws govern the procurement of goods and services. Seeking competition guards against favoritism, extravagance, fraud and corruption. However, there is a well-established exception to these competitive bidding requirements for professional services, such as those rendered by attorneys, engineers or accountants, where cost is only one element that a responsible local official would want to consider. This report discusses some categories of professional services, the costs associated with these services and recent audit findings by OSC about local procurement policies and their implementation. The report also highlights best practices that local governments and school districts can follow that may reduce costs. 

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Sales Tax

July 2018 –

The Mohawk Valley Region’s dominant economic center is the Utica-Rome metropolitan area. Unemployment and child poverty rates are higher in the Region than for the State as a whole, while household income is below the State median. While the Region has lost industries and employers over the past couple of decades, there has recently been a modest increase in new manufacturing jobs. Also, the City of Utica has harnessed its surplus of affordable housing by reaching out to refugees to come and establish families and businesses in the area.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

July 2018 –

Guidance > Debt

July 2018 –

This booklet contains the suggested application and legal notice form for an exclusion of certain sewer debt from a municipality’s Constitutional debt limit.

Research Reports > Capital Projects, Reporting

June 2018 –

New York State has over 5,000 functioning dams, 861 of which are owned or co-owned by local governments. Local officials need to manage this infrastructure effectively, not only to preserve important capital assets, but also because it is a necessary investment in public safety. This report focuses on those dams that would pose the greatest risks in case of failure and therefore warrant the most careful monitoring and management. The report also discusses steps local officials and residents can take to manage those risks. | Interactive Map

Annual Reports > Debt, Reporting

June 2018 –

In 2016, the State’s 109 active Industrial Development Agencies reported projects valued at $95.6 billion, with nearly $715 million in net annual tax exemptions and $10.0 billion in total debt outstanding, including conduit and other debt. They supported 4,451 projects that had created 208,707 jobs from their inception through 2016. | Interactive Map

Research Reports > Capital Projects, General Oversight, Utilities

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. 

Research Reports > Revenues/Cash Management, Sales Tax

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

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. 

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

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.

Annual Reports > Financial Condition, Fiscal Stress, General Oversight, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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.

Accounting and Reporting Manuals (ARMs) > Budgeting, Reporting

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.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Sales Tax

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.

Research Reports > General Oversight, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Reporting

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

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

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. 

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

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.