New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has introduced a proposed bill* aimed at helping local governments across New York improve their long-term budget planning. The bill would provide reimbursement from the state to municipalities for costs incurred for hiring financial advisors to assist in the development of multi-year budget plans.
Key elements of the proposed legislation include providing for counties, cities, towns and villages identified as fiscally stressed to be reimbursed by the state’s Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments for all or part of the costs associated with long-term budget planning and multi-year financial planning to enable these entities to develop revenue and expenditure trends, establish long-term priorities and goals, and take into consideration the impact of near-term budgeting decisions on future fiscal years.
* Comptroller’s Program Bill #35. The proposed legislation is part of the Comptroller’s fiscal stress initiative that includes the creation of a Fiscal Stress Monitoring System for local governments. The system, implemented in 2013, uses financial indicators that include year-end fund balance, cash position and patterns of operating deficits to create an overall fiscal stress score which classifies whether a municipality is in “significant fiscal stress,” in “moderate fiscal stress,” is “susceptible to fiscal stress,” or “no designation.” As of April 22, 2014, DiNapoli’s monitoring system has identified a total of 142 municipalities in some level of fiscal stress. This includes 16 counties, 18 towns, five cities, 16 villages and 87 school districts.