Last week, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli issued a report on the state’s 675 local authorities, which finds that 639 of them report approximately $1.5 billion in spending and $18 billion in outstanding debt, but operate with little oversight. Local authorities facilitate economic development activities, provide water delivery and sewer systems, manage solid waste, maintain parking structures, and manage public housing.

He said that his office conduct a series of audits on local authorities, and will periodically release research and policy reports that recommend how they can operate more effectively and be more accountable to the public.

Comptroller DiNapoli said:

“My goal is to shed light on these types of entities – share what we know and what we have yet to fully understand.  Because local authorities fly so low under the radar, operating without the oversight and controls required of municipal governments, it’s difficult for taxpayers to know how effective they are. My audits have shown an increased risk of waste and abuse by these entities, sometimes leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in inappropriate costs.”