State Comptroller DiNapoli Announces Latest Fiscal Stress Scores
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has designated 27 municipalities across the state as fiscally stressed. The list, which includes eight counties, eight cities and 11 towns, marks the fewest number of municipalities listed in stress since DiNapoli implemented his early-warning system in 2013.
"Although the number of local governments designated as fiscally stressed has declined noticeably, there are still too many communities struggling with chronic budget strain," said DiNapoli. "Looking to the future, local officials should exercise fiscal caution through sensible spending decisions, realistic revenue projections and proper long-term planning."
The latest round of scores is based on 2016 financial information provided to DiNapoli’s office by local governments as of Aug. 31, 2017 and includes only municipalities with fiscal years ending on Dec. 31, 2016. In New York, all counties and towns, 44 cities and 10 villages have a calendar-based fiscal year – a total of 1,043 communities.
Based on their 2016 financial reports, the counties of Broome and Monroe, and the cities of Albany and Watervliet have received the highest designation of "significant fiscal stress."
Thirteen communities have been listed in the second-highest category of "moderate fiscal stress." This includes: Erie, Franklin, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties; the cities of Fulton, Glen Cove, Niagara Falls, Ogdensburg and Poughkeepsie; and the towns of Cherry Valley, Oswego and Parish.
An additional 10 municipalities have been listed as "susceptible to fiscal stress." This includes: St. Lawrence County; the city of Port Jervis; and the towns of Colonie, Constable, Elmira, Evans, German Flatts, Mansfield, Oxford and Saugerties.
Earlier this year, another 70 municipalities and school districts were classified in some level of fiscal stress as of their non-calendar 2016 fiscal year end date.
DiNapoli’s monitoring system evaluates local governments on nine financial indicators and creates a fiscal stress score. Indicators assess fund balance, cash-on-hand and patterns of operating deficits. The system also evaluates information such as population trends, poverty and unemployment to help describe the environment in which these local governments operate. Each municipality receives a separate "environmental" score based on this assessment.
In an accompanying report that examines fiscal stress trends over the past four years, DiNapoli noted that 117 municipalities have been designated as fiscally stressed at least once during the period and 11 of those have been designated as stressed in each of the four years. Monroe County is the only municipality listed in "significant" stress each year.
Other findings in the report include:
- Eight local governments were newly classified as in stress in 2016 while 27 moved out of a stress category;
- Sixty-one entities have appeared on the fiscal stress list only once during the four-year period; and
- More than one-third of all municipalities in a fiscal stress category are located in the downstate regions of Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Valley.
The number of local governments that either failed to file their financial information in time to receive a stress score or that filed inconclusive data has increased each year from 122 in 2013 to 138 in 2016. For a list of non-filers for fiscal year ending 2016, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/localgovernments/notfiledinconclusive.htm
For a list of persistent non-filers – those local governments that have not filed in time to receive a score in each the past four years, see Appendix B of the most recent Fiscal Stress Monitoring System report: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/pdf/four-years-munis.pdf
To view the complete, sortable list of fiscal scores for municipalities, visit: http://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
For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 130,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created by DiNapoli to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.