NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of counties, cities, towns and villages in New York state experiencing fiscal stress fell to 35 in 2013 compared with 40 during the previous year, a report by the state's top financial watchdog showed on Thursday.
However, the study by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned about reading too much into year-on-year comparisons as the report is only in its second year. This year's survey also covered 23 fewer municipalities than the previous year.
The report showed that nearly 18 percent of counties and 16 percent of cities are in fiscal stress, while less than 2 percent of towns are in stress. Rockland County topped the list of distressed municipalities for the second year in a row.
The survey has a coverage scope of 1,043 entities that operate on a calendar fiscal year, but only 978 provided conclusive data. In the previous year's report, 1,001 municipalities provided data.
DiNapoli introduced the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System last year as a way of keeping track of the finances of municipalities hit hard by the financial crisis and recession.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; editing by Matthew Lewis)