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September 27, 2023

New York State local governments’ financial indicators evaluated by the New York State Comptroller

On September 26, 2023, New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced latest fiscal stress scores reflecting findings contained in 10 years of his fiscal monitoring system data.

Comptroller DiNapoli reported "A total of 14 local governments in New York State ended their fiscal year 2022 with a fiscal stress designation, down from 20 a year ago". Of the 14, nine were announced on September 25, 2023. These determinations were based on the State Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) scores released on September 25, 2023 and highlighted in a report. In particular, the Comptroller noted "many municipalities benefited from federal aid and rising sales tax revenues in 2022".

DiNapoli launched FSMS in 2013 to evaluate local governments’ financial indicators, including year-end fund balance, operating deficits, cash-on-hand, short-term borrowing, fixed costs and other factors. The system’s fiscal stress scores provide an early warning to local officials about potential fiscal issues and give the public insight into their communities’ financial health.

“Our fiscal stress early warning system identifies potential financial problems for local governments so they can take corrective action to avoid problems down the road,” DiNapoli said. “The fact that fewer local governments were in fiscal stress in fiscal year 2022 was largely due to the infusion of aid from the American Rescue Plan Act and sales tax revenue growth. Sales tax collections have leveled off in recent months and federal dollars are being spent down, so localities should plan their budgets cautiously and accordingly.”

DiNapoli releases fiscal stress scores for municipalities (excluding New York City) twice a year. The scores announced today are for local governments operating on a calendar year basis for fiscal year 2022, covering all counties and towns, 44 cities, and 11 villages. This round of scoring identified nine local governments in fiscal stress, including five cities and four towns. In March, DiNapoli announced that five local governments with non-calendar fiscal years were designated in stress.

The Town of Centerville in Allegany County was the only one in the highest-ranking designation of “significant stress.” The City of Little Falls (Herkimer County) and the Village of Coxsackie (Greene County) were in “moderate stress,” the next highest ranking, followed by the cities of Albany, Cortland, Glen Cove, Poughkeepsie, the towns of Dayton, Mohawk and Yates, and the villages of Canajoharie, Chateaugay, Huntington Bay, and Mohawk, which were designated as “susceptible to fiscal stress.” 

“With the resources provided by the Office of New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, like the fiscal stress monitoring system, Westchester County has successfully steered toward fiscal stability,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “We inherited a challenging financial situation, but with the support of these critical resources we bettered out footing. Today we can proudly say we have improved our bond rating, lowered taxes and bolstered our rainy-day fund – all while cutting taxes.”

“Our New York State Comptroller continues to provide valuable fiscal guidance and assistance to municipalities throughout our state,” Colonie Town Supervisor Peter G. Crummey said. “In fact, last year, in my first year as Colonie town supervisor, I implemented the first ever fund balance policy which was a long-time recommendation of Comptroller DiNapoli. As a result of implementing such recommendation, in addition to other fiscally prudent actions, our town’s bond rating and fiscal health continues to rise.”

“When State Comptroller DiNapoli introduced the FSMS we were a little hesitant at the county level. We had just come out of the Great Recession. It was a very rocky time in state and local finances,” said New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Stephen Acquario. “But let’s give credit where credit is due. The Comptroller took a chance on this new program. He cares about local governments and our fiscal condition was compromised. The fiscal condition of our local governments means something to him as the state’s chief auditor. When we look back at why he did this, it was for the betterment of the state.”

"For the past decade State Comptroller DiNapoli's Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has played a valuable role in objectively measuring and identifying municipal fiscal stress,” New York State Conference of Mayors Executive Director Barbara Van Epps said. “With the release of this year's report, the Comptroller wisely warns of impending fiscal stress due to the recent leveling off of sales tax collections and the spending down of one-time federal aid. These negative trends highlight the need for the Governor and State Legislature to provide local governments with the assistance and tools that they need in the 2024-25 state budget."

Along with the scores released today, DiNapoli issued a report summarizing fiscal year end 2022 fiscal stress scoring results for calendar year and non-calendar year municipalities, including designations by class, changes to fiscal stress indicators and issues of concern, among other things. Included in the report is an analysis of the 10 years of data collected since the launch of the system, highlighting lessons learned over the past decade.

An online interactive visualization released with the report lets users select a county on a map and display fiscal stress information for all local governments within the county, including filing status, stress designations and scores, from fiscal years 2013 to 2022.

Among the report’s findings:

  • As was the case a year ago, none of the reporting counties were designated in any fiscal stress category in fiscal year 2022. While the number of towns designated in stress grew slightly, less than 1% were designated, second only to counties.
  • The number of cities and villages in stress designations decreased in fiscal year 2022 compared to 2021. For cities, 11% were designated in some level of stress, down from 16% in 2021. Just 1.1% of villages were designated in stress, down from 2.2% in 2021.
  • The number of local governments that triggered a fiscal stress indicator score was down for all five categories from fiscal year 2021 to 2022 after already declining the prior year. The percentage of local governments showing low fund balance in 2022 was 6.9%, down from 7.5% in 2021.
  • Nearly 90% of all local governments that have received a fiscal stress score from fiscal years 2013 to 2022 have never been designated in stress.
  • A total of 20 local governments have spent five or more years in a fiscal stress designation from fiscal years 2013 to 2022.

DiNapoli’s report also noted that the number of local governments failing to file their annual financial reports in time to receive a fiscal stress score has risen over the past several years, up from 121 in fiscal year 2013 to 209 in 2022. When a municipality doesn’t file, it leaves local officials and taxpayers in the dark about possible financial problems. DiNapoli’s office will undertake targeted outreach and training to help local governments comply with the law and bring their financial reporting up to date.     

 

Lists

Municipalities in Stress for Fiscal Year Ending 2022

Municipalities Who Did Not File or Designated Inconclusive


Excel Spreadsheet

Detailed List of All Municipalities in State and Fiscal Stress Scores

 

Report

Fiscal Stress Monitoring System Municipalities: Fiscal Year 2022 Results

 

Online Interactive Visualization

Fiscal Stress Monitoring System 10 Year Statistics

 

Online Search

Fiscal Stress Monitoring System

 

 

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