A new early warning monitoring system in New York would identify municipalities and school districts in St. Lawrence County and elsewhere around the state under budgetary strain so corrective actions can be taken.
With a growing number of local governments facing significant fiscal stress, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the plan today.
“Local officials are struggling to cope with considerable economic challenges and structural budget imbalances and the situation may only get worse,” said DiNapoli.
“That’s why my office is proposing an early warning system that will identify those headed down the path to fiscal crisis sooner and give local officials and the public sufficient time to discuss options for turning things around.”
Using data already submitted by more than 4,000 local governments, the comptroller’s office will calculate and publicize an overall score of fiscal stress for municipalities and school district across the state. These scores will be used to classify whether a community is in “significant fiscal stress,” “moderate fiscal stress,” or “nearing fiscal stress.” This system is based on a process that DiNapoli’s auditors have been using to detect financial problems in communities.
The early warning system will include nine financial indicators, such as cash-on-hand and patterns of operating deficits, together with broader demographic information like population trends and tax assessment growth.
DiNapoli plans to distribute the proposed system to officials in the state for their review during a 60-day comment period. DiNapoli will implement the system starting with those localities whose fiscal year ends December 31, 2012 and later apply it to villages and school districts whose fiscal years end at various periods throughout the year.
A recent report found that many of New York’s munici[alities are struggling to balance budgets and revitalize deteriorating local economies. This report is the second in a series of reports examining local government finances and factors causing fiscal stress.
Since 1980 city expenditures have jumped $2.7 billion, while locally raised revenues increased by only $2.1 billion, according to the report.
For more detailed information about DiNapoli’s proposed fiscal stress monitoring system see http://osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/fiscalmonitoring/pdf/fiscalstressmo....