Annual Budget Process and Schedule
The Town of Andover operates under state statutes, locally adopted by-laws, and a Town Charter (Chapter 571 of the Acts of 1956, as amended). The Charter establishes a Selectmen/Town Manager/Open Town Meeting form of government. The five-member Board of Selectmen are according to the Charter "The Makers of policy of the Town Government" (Section 1 - Board of Selectmen), and the Town Manager serves as the Chief Executive Officer (Section 10 - Powers and Duties).
Financial projections are prepared as part of the Capital Improvement Program for the upcoming fiscal year by the middle of September. These projections are discussed in joint planning sessions with the Strategic Planning Task Force (members of the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee). The projections assist in establishing budget preparation guidelines. In November, the Town Manager distributes his budget guidelines and worksheets to all departments for the next fiscal year starting July 1st. Departments prepare their budget requests and return all information to the Finance Director and Town Manager by early winter. During January they meet with department heads to discuss requests.
The Charter requires the Town Manager to submit his recommended budget to the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee (Section 15 - Estimate of Expenditures). Town By-law, Article IV, Section 6, stipulates that the annual budget shall be submitted to those bodies on or before the first Friday of February of each year.
During the months of February and March the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee conduct a joint series of public meetings to review and discuss the departmental budgets. These meetings are open for questions from the public. Meeting notices are posted at least 48 hours in advance and the schedule is posted in the local newspaper and on the local government channel 22. The Finance Committee responsibilities are described in Town By-laws Article III, Section 3 (Composition; term of office; powers and duties). The Town Meeting voters are advised on all financial matters by a nine member Finance Committee appointed by the Town Moderator who is elected each year.
BUDGET APPROPRIATION AND AMENDMENT
The legislative body of the Town is an “open town meeting.” All registered voters are entitled to attend and vote on any matter that comes before the Town Meeting. Town Meeting has the authority to appropriate funds for the operating and capital budget except for specific cases where state statutes or regulations do not require appropriation. Any amendments to appropriations require Town Meeting vote at either a regular or special town meeting. (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 5). The procedures for a town meeting are specified in Town By-laws Article II. The Town Meeting warrant (items to be voted on) is published in the local newspaper at least 14 days before the day of the town meeting.
The Finance Committee mails the warrant and its report and recommendations to all households at least 10 days prior to the Annual Town Meeting.
At Town Meeting, reports and recommendations are presented by the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Planning Board, and other interested parties. Town Meeting votes and appropriates the budget and all other financial articles presented at a town meeting.
The budget for the Town is presented on a cash basis. This means that transactions are recorded when expenditures are disbursed and when revenues are received. Obligations of the town (i.e., outstanding purchase orders) are not reflected as expenditures in the year incurred but are reflected in the year disbursed. Funds for these obligations are reflected as "continued" appropriations from the prior fiscal year.
The budget presents only the General Fund and the Enterprise Funds, which are required by state statute to be appropriated by Town Meeting. Revenues from various Special Revenue Funds are shown as credits within specific department budgets to provide a funding source for specific purposes.
|September - October||Pre-budget Planning: Financial forecast and Capital Improvement Program prepared and distributed to Selectmen, Finance Committee and School Committee. Strategic Planning Task Force holds planning meetings.|
|November - January||All Town departments submit budget requests to the Town Manager.||All School departments submit budget request to the Superintendent of Schools.|
|January||Town Manager reviews budget requests and submits his recommended annual budget (this document) to the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee.||School Superintendent review budget requests and submits her recommended budget to the Town Manager and School Committee.|
|February - April||Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee Review Town Manager's Proposed Budget and CIP.||School Committee and Finance Committee review Superintendent's Preliminary Budget.|
|April||Final Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and Town Manager recommendations are published and sent to all households in Andover.||School Committee finalizes recommendations and submits them for inclusion in the Finance Committee Report.|
|Ten days before first Town Meeting business session||Finance Committee report, including Town Meeting Warrant, mailed to all Andover households ten days prior to the start of Town Meeting.|