Local Government Publications

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

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.

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.

January 2017 –

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

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.

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.

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.

November 2016 –

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

October 2016 –

This report explains what land banks are, discusses how they can help local governments cope with high concentrations of vacant and abandoned properties and identifies factors that could determine their long-term success. 

October 2016 –

This manual provides a basic discussion about the System while accompanying technical appendices provide details about the methodology OSC staff utilize in performing the assessments.

September 2016 –

This report examines and summarizes notable trends in the fiscal scores of all New York counties, cities, towns and villages regardless of their fiscal year end dates, for the period 2013 to 2015.

August 2016 –

Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties make up New York’s Mid-Hudson region. Much of the region is suburban, with greater development near the Hudson River, Metro-North railroad stations and major roadways into New York City. Economically, the Mid-Hudson region is relatively prosperous: county median incomes and property values are both well above the State and national averages as are the costs of living and doing business there. Current unemployment is below 5 percent in most of the counties, with a significant number of residents commuting to New York City. Recent economic development efforts have focused on attracting biotechnology and other high-tech manufacturing and on activities that take advantage of the region’s extensive road systems and generally well-developed infrastructure.

July 2016 –

Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties make up New York’s Mid-Hudson region. Much of the region is suburban, with greater development near the Hudson River, Metro-North railroad stations and major roadways into New York City. Economically, the Mid-Hudson region is relatively prosperous: county median incomes and property values are both well above the State and national averages as are the costs of living and doing business there. Current unemployment is below 5 percent in most of the counties, with a significant number of residents commuting to New York City. Recent economic development efforts have focused on attracting biotechnology and other high-tech manufacturing and on activities that take advantage of the region’s extensive road systems and generally well-developed infrastructure.

July 2016 –

Procurements: Guidelines for the "Piggybacking" Exception to Competitive Bidding under General Municipal Law § 103(16)

June 2016 –

Audits conducted by OSC have shown that some types of weaknesses are persistently prevalent in local government and school district IT systems, regardless of the complexity or size of the system. This guide provides information for local leaders on some of the more common cybersecurity attacks and what can be done to help prevent a breach in the future.

June 2016 –

This report provides an analysis of annual financial data reported to the Office of the State Comptroller and the Authorities Budget Office by IDAs for fiscal year 2014, discusses regional impacts and highlights a new law championed by Comptroller DiNapoli, which increases transparency in IDA operations.

May 2016 –

This guide is a resource for those governing bodies and officials who are responsible for preparing, developing, and monitoring the annual budget. The following is an overview of the information contained in this guide: • Who is Responsible? • Information Used to Prepare the Budget • Budget Preparation Process • Putting the Tentative Budget Together • Implementing the Budget • Monitoring the Budget

May 2016 –

This guide will address a number of practices that local officials can use to receive the most value from their government’s investment in capital assets.

April 2016 –

This brief focuses on prolonged foreclosure activity in New York State and the challenges facing local governments and communities in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.

March 2016 –

This report examines the recent history of school aid, highlighting the opportunities and challenges presented by this year’s budget. The first section looks at aid from the school district perspective, followed by a discussion in the context of New York’s overall budget.

February 2016 –

Total local sales tax collections in New York State grew by $552 million, or 3.6 percent, from 2014 to 2015 This was stronger than the 3.0 percent increase in the prior year. New York City sales tax collections grew by 7.3 percent, or $487 million, about half of which was due to an adjustment for incorrect payments in previous years. Excluding New York City, growth in local sales tax collections was 0.7 percent, with 30 of 57 counties outside of New York City having declines in their 2015 sales tax collections.