Yonkers Makes State Comptroller’s ‘Cities in Significant Fiscal Stress’ List

Real Estate In-Depth | April 5, 2021

Source: New York State Comptroller's Office

ALBANY—State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has identified eight villages and three cities in New York that were in some level of fiscal stress in 2020, based on scores that largely reflect the time period before the COVID-19 pandemic. DiNapoli, in a report released on April 2, evaluated all non-calendar year local governments and designated three cities and three villages in “significant fiscal stress,” one village in “moderate fiscal stress” and four villages as “susceptible to fiscal stress.”

For the fiscal years ending 2020, the three cities found to be in “significant fiscal stress” include Amsterdam (Montgomery County), Long Beach (Nassau County) and Yonkers (Westchester County).

The three villages in “significant fiscal stress” are Island Park (Nassau), Valley Stream (Nassau) and Wappingers Falls (Dutchess).

The village of Fayetteville (Onondaga) is designated as being in “moderate fiscal stress” and the villages of Addison (Steuben); Millbrook (Dutchess); Oriskany (Oneida); and South Dayton (Cattaraugus) are designated as being “susceptible to fiscal stress.”

“These local communities were already struggling with fiscal stress before the pandemic hit,” DiNapoli said. “Some of that pressure could be alleviated with federal stimulus funds and the restoration of state aid, but the full extent of the pandemic’s impact on local communities is unclear and the fiscal landscape continues to change. Local officials should remain vigilant in monitoring their financial condition.”

The latest round of fiscal scores evaluated local governments with fiscal years ending between Feb. 28 and July 31. DiNapoli’s office evaluated the fiscal health of 523 villages, which predominantly have a fiscal year ending on May 31, based on self-reported data. The scores also cover the 17 cities in New York with non-calendar fiscal years, including the “Big 4” cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, each of which have fiscal years ending on June 30.

The system, which has been in place since 2012, assesses levels of fiscal stress in local governments using financial indicators including year-end fund balance, cash position, short-term cash-flow borrowing and patterns of operating deficits. It generates overall fiscal stress scores, which ultimately drive final classifications. The system also analyzes separate environmental indicators to help provide insight into the health of local economies and other challenges that might affect a local government’s or school district’s finances. This information includes population trends, poverty and unemployment.

In January, DiNapoli released fiscal stress scores for school districts which found 31 school districts statewide were designated in fiscal stress. In September, DiNapoli’s office will release scores for municipalities with a calendar-year fiscal year, which includes all counties, towns, the majority of cities and a few villages.