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nycreport2012.pdf

nycreport2012.pdf

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DIVISION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY 
New York Cities:
An Economic and Fiscal Analysis 1980 – 2010
September 2012
New York State is home to 62 cities with a combined population of 10.4 million. New York City, the largest with a population of 8.2 million, is a global center of commerce and culture.New York State’s other 61 cities, with a combined population of 2.2 million, have their ownrich histories and distinctive challenges. Many of these cities now face serious fiscal stress,prompting broad debate over the origin of such problems and potential responses by the State. This report seeks to inform that debate by examining the economic and fiscal histories of theseother cities between 1980 and 2010, a period characterized by divergent trends for differentgroups of cities in the Empire State.Given that each of New York’s cities is unique, these fiscal and economic conditions vary.However, as a whole, the 46 cities in upstate New York – defined here as those found in theCapital District, the Southern Tier, and farther north or west – are facing greater challenges than Yonkers and the smaller cities located in the Mid-Hudson and Lower Hudson regions and onLong Island. New York City is on a relatively strong economic trajectory. Partly as a result, these
15 cities are generally in sound condition economically − enjoying growth in population and jobs
 – although in some cases their fiscal conditions are troubled. Most upstate cities, by contrast, facedeep challenges economically and demographically, as well as fiscally.In general, cities in upstate New York have not fared well over the past few decades. A half century ago, these cities were a model of economic growth, jobs and innovation. Today, many of these cities are struggling to balance budgets and revitalize their economies in the midstof structural deficits and economic stagnation. The financial problems of New York’s cities,particularly in upstate New York, are not recent phenomena but go back many years, especially for the cities of Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, Binghamton and Rochester. These problems are partly the result of significant job losses followed by population declines that began in the 1950s asmanufacturing operations began leaving the State. Population losses accelerated throughout the1960s and the 1970s and have continued through 2010, although at a slower pace.Now, with a slow economic recovery from the financial meltdown of 2008-2009, cities aretrying to manage with stagnant or contracting tax bases while facing the challenges of an aging population, higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and increasing demands for socialservices. In addition, the costs of doing business and delivering necessary services such as policeand fire protection have increased, often at rates higher than the rate of inflation or the growthin personal income.
OFFICE OF THE NEW YORK STATE COMPTROLLER
Thomas P. DiNapoli • State Comptroller 
 
2
Ofce o the State Comptroller 
 New York's Cities- An Economic and Fiscal Analysis
For many years, cities have relied on property taxes as the main local source of revenue to fund expenses. With property tax bases that are often stagnant and property taxes at historically high levels relative tohousing values and income levels, troubled cities have been turning to sales tax increases and higher userfees for services. However, these additional revenues have not kept pace with growing expenditures.Some cities have begun to examine new options such as seeking additional revenue from tax-exemptproperty owners, although such funding streams remain small in the context of overall budgets. Many if not most cities have been drawing down budgetary reserves in recent years – a strategy that by definition is unsustainable. The current fiscal crunch is a product of long-term and systemic factors, and will intensify if localelected leaders are unable to identify or implement acceptable solutions. As reserves are furtherdepleted, some cities are likely to be confronted with current year deficits that, if left unaddressed, couldlead to difficulty in continuing normal operations. The decades-long economic and fiscal challengesfacing New York’s cities have reached a new and critical point requiring serious public discussion.
New York’s Cities – 2010 Population
Upstate CitiesDownstate Cities
CityPopulationCityPopulationCityPopulationAlbany
97,856
Mechanicville
5,196
Beacon
15,541
Amsterdam
18,620
North Tonawanda
31,568
Glen Cove
26,964
Auburn
27,687
Niagara Falls
50,193
Hudson
6,713
Batavia
15,465
Norwich
7,190
Kingston
23,893
Binghamton
47,376
Ogdensburg
11,128
Long Beach
33,275
Buffalo
261,310
Olean
14,452
Middletown
28,086
Canandaigua
10,545
Oneida
11,393
Mount Vernon
67,292
Cohoes
16,168
Oneonta
13,901
Newburgh
28,866
Corning
11,183
Oswego
18,142
New Rochelle
77,062
Cortland
19,204
Plattsburgh
19,989
New York
8,175,133
Dunkirk
12,563
Rensselaer 
9,392
Peekskill
23,583
Elmira
29,200
Rochester 
210,565
Port Jervis
8,828
Fulton
11,896
Rome
33,725
Poughkeepsie
32,736
Geneva
13,261
Salamanca
5,815
Rye
15,720
Glens Falls
14,700
Saratoga Springs
26,586
White Plains
56,853
Gloversville
15,665
Schenectady
66,135
 Yonkers
195,976
Hornell
8,563
Sherrill
3,071
Ithaca
30,014
Syracuse
145,170
Jamestown
31,146
Tonawanda
15,130
Johnstown
8,743
Troy
50,129
Lackawanna
18,141
Utica
62,235
Little Falls
4,946
Watertown
27,023
Lockport
21,165
Watervliet
10,254
Source: U.S. Census, 2010
 
3
New York's Cities- An Economic and Fiscal AnalysisIndustrial Development Agencies
A Short Economic History
Population
 With the exception of New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers, most of New York’scities are relatively small. Of the State’s 62 cities, 10 have populations below 10,000, 39 have populationsbetween 10,000 and 50,000 and eight have populations between 50,000 and 100,000. Four cities(Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers) have populations over 100,000. The City of Sherrill inOneida County is the smallest city in New York with a population of 3,071, while New York City is by far the largest with a population of approximately 8.2 million.For many of these cities, the early to mid-20th century was a time of prosperity, with growth inpopulation and employment as the national and State economies expanded. During the second half of the 1900s, the broad decline of manufacturing employment and other factors combined to drain jobs andpopulation from many of New York’s cities, increasing regional competition for businesses and jobs. The largest decline in population in the State of New York occurred in the 1970s. However, unlike theCity of New York and many cities in the Hudson Valley and Long Island, New York’s upstate citieshave continued to lose population through 2010. Since 1980, New York’s upstate cities have seen a netpopulation decline of about 279,000 or 14.9 percent from the 1980 total of 1.9 million. This loss inpopulation between 1980 and 2010 for the upstate cities followed a loss in population of approximately 514,000 between 1960 and 1980. In the upstate area, only six cities have seen increases in populationsince 1980: Saratoga Springs (2,680), Ithaca (1,282), Oneida (583), Rensselaer (345), Sherrill (241), andCanandaigua (126), all quite modest-relative to the overall scale of the general decline. With the exception of the decade of the 1970s, the cities in the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New  York City have all gained population. Cities located in Hudson Valley and Long Island saw solid growthof about 41,000 people or 6.8 percent since 1980. New York City incurred an increase in population of 1.1 million or 15.6 percent.
New York Cities – Change in Population
RegionPopulation1960Change1960-70%Change1970-80%Change1980-2010%Upstate
2,415,611
-204,000
-8.5
-309,578
-14.0
-279,448
-14.9
Hudson Valley and Long Island
602,523
5,348
0.9
-30,690
-5.1
40,769
6.8
New York City
7,781,984
112,878
1.5
-823,223
-10.4
1,103,494
15.6
All Cities
10,800,118
-83,774
-0.8
-1,163,491
-10.9
864,815
9.1
Source: U.S. Census, 1960, 1970, 1980, 2010
 As a point of comparison, total population in New York State has increased by 1.8 million or 10.4percent since 1980, and by 2.6 million or 15 percent since 1960.
 
Ofce o the State Comptroller 

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