The Finance Subcommittee of the City Council has spent the last three weeks, the allowable statutory period, reviewing the budget submitted by the Mayor on May 1st. The Committee met extensively with the CFO, heard department presentations, and asked many questions. Under state statute it is important to remember the Council only has the power to reduce appropriations, not add to them.There is no question the first time through this process is a learning experience for all parties. The Committee has only been meeting for four months total and had to absorb a phenomenal amount of information to evaluate this budget. Over the next year the Committee will have the opportunity to spend time understanding the operations of the City and its entities in much greater depth and detail to inform future budget processes. Such understanding may allow the budget review to more specifically review operations and programs in a more comprehensive manner.This year, although the review was informed by substantial information, the Committee review focused more on general areas such as budget changes, as opposed on specific programs. Nonetheless, the budget being presented has been reduced by $838,570 in operating expenses and by $2,200,000 in reserve appropriations for a total of $3,038,570. The major focus areas were new programs, new positions, large budget increases, departmental consolidations and reserve accounts, among other items. The Committee spent considerable time on understanding the revenue which funds the budget and the challenges each significant revenue provides in terms of consistency.The report will highlight the important part of revenue in this budget and the significant recommendations the Committee is making in terms of revenue. Also, the report will describe the work the Committee intends to undertake in the future to enhance our role in budget oversight and efficiency. The Committee is proud to offer the City Council our recommendations on what is an historic budget for Framingham. Not only is it our first City Council approved budget, if the Committee recommendations are approved, it is the first budget in the Proposition 2 ½ era (1981) and likely well before, featuring no tax levy increase. This is a significant step designed to bring economic benefit to all taxpayers. The Committee is ready to answer any questions the councilors may have.
Click here to view the Finance Committee Report to the City Council on FY 19 Budget.