New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning that many counties, cities, towns, villages and school districts in the state "have nearly exhausted their resources in an effort to avoid severe fiscal stress."
DiNapoli's annual report on the health of the state's municipalities, issued Friday, notes that the gap between revenue and spending is growing.
From 2006 through 2011, total local government expenditures grew by an average of 3.3 percent per year while revenues only grew by an average of 2.8 percent per year, he noted.
“Years of decreasing, stagnant or slow economic growth have led local governments to cut vital services and tap their rainy day funds to balance budgets, a practice that is not sustainable in the long term," DiNapoli said in a statement.
The Comptroller reported local government fund balances (comonly thought of as savings or 'rainy day funds') have been reduced by 28 percent since 2006.
He also noted that sales tax collections only started to grow again at normal levels in 201, and that spending on public safety, sanitation, health, cultural and recreation programs has been cut by more than $300 million at the local level, starting in 2008.
DiNapoli is promising an 'early warning system' that will "identify signs of budgetary strain in local communities sooner so that corrective actions can be taken before a full financial crisis develops."
Tuesday, March 31, 2015, Watertown, NY
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