Framingham City Council Finance Subcommittee Proposes Additional Budget Rules

FRAMINGHAM — At the next Framingham City Council meeting in March, the Council will be asked to approve additional budget rules for the Mayor, when presenting the fiscal year 2019 City of Framingham Budget.

City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair George King presented City Council Ordinance 2018-022 before the City Council last night for a first reading. Under City Council rules, all ordinances require a second reading before passage by the Council.

Besides adhering to the budget process rules, spelled out in the City Charter, Ordinance 2018-022 requests the Mayor’s office include a listing for “each municipal department of all positions in the department  that includes the employee name (if vacant so indicate), the date the position was established, then title of the position, the job classification,  the total compensation requested for each employee.”

The ordinance also requestes that the budget be broken down between “operational and personnel requests” and to be “appropriated in a lump sum by department.” Currently, the fiscal year 2018 budget is appropriated by division not department.

Mary Ellen Kelly

City of Framingham Director of Administration and Finance Mary Ellen Kelly said she didn’t understand why the Council was making this request now. She suggested the Council go through the first City budget process, before making suggested changes.

“State law is pretty specific,” said Kelly. “Not sure why need ordinance on top of that.”

Kelly also said she would prefer to not present the budget with employee names next to salaries.

City Council Finance Subcommittee Chair George King said it was a a”reasonable request,” and that many cities and town list employee names with salaries, right on their website.
King, who was elected as an at-large city councilor, said he understands what it means to have his salary published, as he has served as a school administrator and as the former Town Manager in Framingham.
District 2 City Councilor Pam Richardson applauded the ordinance.
The City Council vote was 11-0 on the first reading of the ordinance last night. A second vote is needed for the ordinance to pass.
The Mayor is required to submit the fiscal year 2019 budget to the City Council no later than 60 days prior to the beginning of the fiscal year as provided in Article VI,  Section 3 of the Home Rule Charter.
Fiscal year 2019 begins on July 1, 2018.
Previously, Framingham Selectmen submitted a budget to Framingham Town Meeting to approve in May, under the town form of government. And the Framingham School Committee submitted a budget to Town Meeting to approve in May, also.

Now, the City of Framingham School Committee will submit a budget to the Mayor, to be included in her budget to submit to the 11-member City Council.

Per the Charter, the “budget message of the Mayor shall explain the budget for all municipal agencies both in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs. It shall outline proposed financial policies of the municipality for the ensuing fiscal year, describe important features of the budget, indicate any major variations from the current fiscal year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues together with the reasons for these changes, summarize the municipality’s debt position and include other material that the Mayor considers desirable, or that may be required by the provisions of a municipal ordinance.”

The Mayor’s proposed budget shall “show in detail all estimated income from the proposed property tax levy and from all other sources and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the fiscal year. The budget shall be arranged to show the actual income and expenditures for the previous three fiscal years and the estimated income and expenditures for the current and ensuing fiscal years.”

Per the Charter, a public hearing shall be held by the City Council subcommittee on Finance, chaired by King. The Finance subcommittee shall hold a public hearing on the proposed operating budget, providing no less than 10 days. That subcommittee will thoroughly review the budget making a presentation and recommendation to the full council within 21 days.

The Council shall consider the budget in open public meetings after the Mayor and Finance subcommittee make presentations to the full council.

 The Council may require the Mayor, or any other municipal agency, to furnish such additional information as it may consider necessary to assist in its review and consideration of the proposed operating budget.

Per the Charter, the Council “shall adopt the budget, with or without amendments, within 21 days after the day the proposed budget was reported out by its Finance
subcommittee.”

The Council “may delete or decrease any programs or amounts except expenditures required by law, or for debt service, but, the Council shall have no authority to add programs or increase amounts except as provided by the general laws,” per the Charter.

“If the Council fails to take any action with respect to any item in the proposed budget within the 21-day period that amount shall, without any action by the council, become a part of the appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year and shall be available for the purposes specified,” according to the Charter.

The vote to approve the budget, or any amendments thereto, shall be on a roll call vote, as required by the Charter.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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