NYS Seal New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Legislative Commission on State-Local Relations

The Legal Framework for Providing
Local Government Services
Last Modified 7/2009


The New York State Legislative Commission on State-Local Relations, in cooperation with the Association of Towns of the State of New York, the New York State Conference of Mayors and Municipal Officials, the New York State Association of Counties, the Association of Small City School Districts and the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, is pleased to make available The Legal Framework for Providing Local Government Services.

For key areas of local government structure, from the creation, consolidation and dissolution of local governments, to the provision of particular services from animal control to zoning, the Legal Framework provides for the local level and, where appropriate, for the state's role:

  • constitutional and statutory authority;
  • selected court cases; and
  • Opinions of the State Comptroller and Attorney General.

The resource is designed to facilitate efforts to streamline local government services, to ensure their effective and efficient delivery, and to complement the Shared Services Program of the NYS Department of State (DOS). Details on the Program are available on the following DOS website:


The Commission will update Legal Framework information regularly, and would like to acknowledge the important contribution of the Assembly Counsel's Office in this effort.

The information updates a 1987 Commission report, New York's State-Local Service Delivery System - Legal Framework and Services Provided, which focused on general purpose local governments - counties, cities, towns and villages. In recognition of the important role of special purpose local governments in providing local services, this update includes more complete information on special districts, not included in the original report.

The information is intended as a guide, and does not completely discuss the various legal issues surrounding local governments or the services they provide. This information is not a substitute for professional legal advice and local officials should consult with their attorneys. Questions regarding opinions of the State Comptroller should be directed to the Office of the State Comptroller.

The nature of State programs aiding local governments in the areas included in the Legal Framework vary from year to year, depending on priority need and funding availability. Information on current programs can be obtained by contacting the State agencies directly. Also, visit the resource available on this website, Catalog of State and Federal Programs Aiding New York's Local Governments.

The Commission encourages users to provide comments on this resource by sending an e-mail to the Commission at sternr@assembly.state.ny.us, or by writing to the Commission at the following address:

Robert Stern
Senior Program Manager
NYS Assembly Program Development Group
Agency #4, 12th floor ESP
Albany, NY 12248
518 455-5203
518 455-4175f

Legal Framework - Local Level:
Animal Control
Annexation of Territory of Local Governments
Consolidation of Local Governments
Contracting for Public Services by Local Governments
Cooperative Agreements among Local Governments
Creation of Local Governments
Dissolution of Local Governments
Economic Development
Parks and Recreation
Planning and Zoning
Sewerage and Drainage
Solid Waste Management
Transfer of Functions of Local Governments
Water Supply

Legal Framework - State's Role

Coming Soon:
Aging Services
Arts and Culture
Borrowing Provisions
Emergency Medical and General Ambulance Service
Financial Management Powers
Fire Service
Health/Mental Health
Homeland Security
Law Enforcement
Municipal Office Buildings
Public Transportation
Required or Authorized Offices or Officers
Revenue Raising Options
Social Services
Structure of Local Government

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