State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli's Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has designated 25 municipalities across the state as fiscally stressed. This year's list, which includes ten counties, six cities and nine towns, marks the third-straight decline in the overall number of municipalities listed in stress. The number of local governments considered to be in "significant fiscal stress," however, more than doubled over the prior year.
"Fewer local governments are considered fiscally stressed, but those with persistent financial problems are struggling to stay out of the red and fix their problems," said DiNapoli. "While the results may be encouraging in some areas, there are municipalities that should focus on near-term financial risks and implement more prudent long-term planning."
The latest round of scores is based on 2017 financial information provided to DiNapoli's office by local governments as of Sept. 5, 2018 and includes only municipalities with fiscal years ending on Dec. 31, 2017. In New York, all counties and towns, 44 cities and 10 villages have a calendar-based fiscal year – a total of 1,043 communities.
Of the municipalities with a Dec. 31, 2017 fiscal year end, the counties of Nassau, Monroe, Suffolk and Westchester; the cities of Niagara Falls, Poughkeepsie and Watervliet; and the towns of German Flatts, Oyster Bay and Parish have received the highest designation of "significant fiscal stress."
Six communities have been listed in the second-highest category of "moderate fiscal stress." This includes: Franklin and Rockland Counties; and the cities of Albany and Plattsburgh.
An additional nine municipalities have been listed as "susceptible to fiscal stress." These are: the counties of Broome, Clinton, Erie and Onondaga; the city of Fulton; and the towns of Clarkstown, Covert, Dayton and Elmira.
Earlier this year, 38 municipalities and school districts were classified in some level of fiscal stress as of their non-calendar 2017 fiscal year end date.
DiNapoli's monitoring system, which was implemented in 2013, evaluates local governments on nine financial indicators and creates a fiscal stress score. Indicators assess fund balance, cash-on-hand, short -term borrowing, fixed costs and patterns of operating deficits. The system also evaluates information such as population trends, poverty and unemployment in order to establish a separate "environmental" score for each municipality which can be used to help describe the environment in which these local governments operate.
In an accompanying report that examines fiscal stress trends, DiNapoli noted Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Valley had the largest percentages of local governments in a fiscal stress category.
The report also identified 124 local governments that failed to file their financial information in time to receive a stress score, and one that filed inconclusive data in 2017. There are 33 local governments that have not filed their financial information in time to receive a score in any of the five years that the system has been in place. By failing to report, these local governments avoid being scored and raise serious questions about the nature of their fiscal operations.
For the most up-to-date list of municipalities in stress for fiscal year ending 2017: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/localgovernments/pdf/2017/munis-stressed.pdf
For a list of non-filers for fiscal year ending 2017, visit: https://www.osc.state.ny.us/sites/default/files/local-government/documents/pdf/2020-04/2017-munis-not-filed.pdf
To sort fiscal scores by year and entity name, visit: https://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/fsms.cfm
For more detailed information about the Comptroller's fiscal stress monitoring system and to view reports related to local government fiscal stress visit: www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/index.htm
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