Local Government Publications

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

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

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.

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. 

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Reporting

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

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.

Research Reports > Capital Projects, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Revenues/Cash Management

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)

Research Reports > Budgeting, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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.

Annual Reports > Debt, Reporting

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

Research Reports > Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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]

Research Reports > Reporting, Utilities

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

January 2017 –

While total local sales tax collections in New York State grew by only 0.7 percent in 2016, the modest increase was largely due to a multiyear correction that inflated New York City's 2015 collections. After adjusting for this correction, total local growth was about $357 million over the prior year, or about 2.3 percent.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2017 –

The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) annually assesses fiscal stress in local governments and school districts. This is the fourth annual FSMS scoring of school districts, showing results for the four school years through 2015-16.

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

January 2017 –

This Annual Report seeks to highlight some of the year’s important policy developments and trends for local governments.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight, Payroll/Employee Benefits

January 2017 –

In many local governments and school districts, employees have the option to receive health insurance coverage after retirement. Among other things, the retirees may be:

  • allowed a continuation of coverage for surviving spouses or certain other eligible persons for a period of time after the eligible retiree dies.
  • required to contribute to the health insurance coverage costs.
  • offered subsidized health insurance costs by allowing the retiree to buy coverage at the group rate. 1

Containing health insurance costs should be a priority for local governments and school districts. One way to reduce health insurance costs is to pay premiums only for eligible retirees or their surviving spouses and dependents.

An audit of 20 school districts revealed ten school districts who collectively paid $239,000 in health insurance benefits for deceased or ineligible retirees.

Local Government Management Guides > Budgeting, Financial Condition, Revenues/Cash Management, Sales Tax

January 2017 –

This guide is intended to help local governments create an effective multiyear planning process that helps identify and manage potential fiscal difficulties before crises emerge. Developed with input and assistance from local officials across the State, this handbook provides general guidelines for the development of a financial planning process, including suggestions for how to: • Make good long-term revenue and expenditure projections; • Measure expected benefits from proposed local actions; and • Draw those projections together in a useful document for local decision-makers and other audiences.

Cost-Saving Ideas > Claims Auditing/Credit Cards, General Oversight

January 2017 –

Improving your local government's receipt collection system may get revenue into its bank account more quickly.

Start by evaluating the costs and benefits of various revenue collection alternatives, using measures such as:

  • How long does it take to process a tax or fee payment?
  • How many total collections are being processed?
  • What is the cost per transaction?
  • How convenient is the process for residents?

By becoming more efficient, your local government can possibly increase collections, lower processing costs and increase interest earnings.