Local Government Publications

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

Annual Reports > Debt, Reporting

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.

Local Government Management Guides > General Oversight, Inventories

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.

Local Government Management Guides > Budgeting, Cash Disbursements, Cash Receipts, Debt, Payroll/Employee Benefits, Revenues/Cash Management

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

Research Reports > Reporting

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.

Research Reports > Budgeting, Reporting, Revenues/Cash Management

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.

Research Reports > Sales Tax

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.

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

February 2016 –

The 2015 Annual Report on New York State’s local governments describes the revenue and expenditure trends affecting our counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts, and highlights some of the work the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) is doing in the areas of policy research, auditing and training.

Accounting Notices and Bulletins > Revenues/Cash Management

February 2016 –

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide guidance related to the accounting for moneys received by County governments from the Compassionate Care Act. These revenues are derived from an excise tax on the gross receipts from the sale of medical marihuana.

Research Reports > Fiscal Stress

January 2016 –

Three Years of School District Fiscal Stress Results: School Years 2012-13 to 2014-15 01/28/2016 - For school year 2014-15, OSC identified 82 school districts as experiencing some degree of fiscal stress: eight were in significant fiscal stress, 24 in moderate fiscal stress and 50 were susceptible to fiscal stress. The share of school districts experiencing fiscal stress has remained fairly stable over time. The tax cap continues to constrain districts’ ability to increase their property tax levies; for 2016-17 the growth factor will be 0.12 percent. 

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

January 2016 –

You can take steps to reduce the cost of unemployment insurance, which provides short-term financial assistance to people who become unemployed through no fault of their own. The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) determines who qualifies for benefits and individual employers fund their own programs.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

Whether your municipality provides garbage collection services directly or by contract with a private company, citizens must receive the highest quality of service for the lowest possible cost.

To determine if your community’s system of collection is the most cost-effective, evaluate different methods and estimate the cost of each option. The local government, when considering which system of collection to use, should also consult with its legal counsel, as appropriate.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight, Purchasing

January 2016 –

You can realize significant savings for your school district or local government by paying less for energy and consuming less energy. Reducing energy consumption also makes communities greener.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

As a member of a board of education (board), you’re responsible for ensuring the school budget is well managed and operations are cost effective. Auditing provides your board the best opportunity for improving fiscal management and protecting taxpayer dollars through expert and independent review.

Use this reference guide to familiarize yourself with the different roles and responsibilities in the audit process.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight, Utilities

January 2016 –

Establishing an effective water accounting system is a necessary first step in controlling water losses and reducing water system costs.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an industry goal of 10 percent for unaccounted water system losses. A water accounting system helps to track water throughout the system and identify areas that may need attention, particularly large volumes of unaccounted-for water.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

The audit committee assists and advises the board on issues relating to the district’s internal and external audits.

Cost-Saving Ideas > Claims Auditing/Credit Cards

January 2016 –

When employees need to make small one-time purchases, it is often more convenient for them to pay with a credit card than to fill out a procurement request form and wait for it to be approved. This also saves time and energy for procurement staff.

The cost of this convenience is the heightened risk of inappropriate spending, such as wasteful or personal purchases. To ensure that credit cards are used only for approved and necessary expenses, local governments must have both a credit card policy and a system of internal controls in place.

Guidance > General Oversight, Reporting

January 2016 –

This booklet has been prepared to familiarize you with the audit process and provide insight into the key stages of its development, from the earliest stages to the final report. It describes what auditors look for and their professional auditing standards. The booklet is intended only to highlight some of the significant elements of the audit.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

The external auditor performs the legally required financial statement audit and renders an opinion on whether the financial statements are in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

Find specific sections of the law related to capital asset management.

Cost-Saving Ideas > General Oversight

January 2016 –

When municipal employees travel on business, such as to attend conferences and training classes, generally you may only reimburse them for authorized expenses that they actually incur and are deemed necessary. By requiring travelers to document their expenses and follow set guidelines for reimbursement, you can cut costs and mitigate the risk of fraud.