Many local governments are struggling to keep up with growing costs as revenues decline, a report Friday from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.
From 2006 through 2011, expenditures for the state’s nearly 4,000 local governments grew by 17.4 percent, while revenues increased 15 percent, the report said.
The disparity has meant that local governments have burned through reserves and cut programs and staff to balance their books, he said.
“For the past five years, the financial trends in our municipalities and school districts have become of heightened concern,” said DiNapoli in a statement.
Local governments have long warned about their troubled fiscal picture. Counties, cities and towns said that unfunded state-mandated programs and stagnant revenue from property and sales taxes are crippling them.
Expenses for the 57 counties outside New York City will outpace revenue by $4 billion over the next decade, the state Association of Counties estimated in an October report. The group, along with other local leaders, has called for mandate relief from the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“The negative outlook expressed by the state’s chief auditor ought to be of serious concern to state leaders,” said Stephen Acquario, the group’s executive director.
“NYSAC, on behalf of the state’s 62 counties, again calls upon the state to provide immediate and measurable mandate relief to avoid a local fiscal cliff.”
DiNapoli announced in September he would launch in January an early warning fiscal stress monitoring system to help local governments identify their fiscal risks.