Local Government Publications

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

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)

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Reporting

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)

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.

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.

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.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Sales Tax

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.

Research Reports > Budgeting, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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. 

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

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.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

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.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress, Sales Tax

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.

Guidance > Claims Auditing/Credit Cards, Reporting

July 2016 –

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

Research Reports > Information Technology, Reporting

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.