THE BUDGET FORMAT
The budget summary contains summary totals from all operating segments. The revenue section details revenue sources with expected trends. Each departmental section contains a department mission statement and financial data relating to the entire department, including personnel detail. The enterprise section includes revenue and expenditure trends of the self-sustaining enterprise funds along with departmental goals. The Capital Improvements Program section details all expected capital program outlays in the current fiscal year, as well as a summary of the next following years. City budgets since 2019 can be found here.
WHAT IS A BALANCED BUDGET?
A budget is considered in balance when revenues are equal to or greater than expenditures. This is a requirement of all Massachusetts communities.
THE BUDGET & APPROPRIATION PROCESS
The budget preparation process for all cities is governed by Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Ch. 44. The General Laws require that the budget be supported by revenues earned during the year plus any saving from prior years. MGL also requires public involvement in the process, including the requirement for a public hearing on the proposed budget.
The Mayor provides leadership in the budget process by developing budgetary policy and working closely with department heads and the City Council to assure that the process identifies community needs and priorities and develops a farsighted and well-crafted plan. The Mayor initiates the budget process that provides the policy context for identification of priorities and development of initiatives. See article 5 of the Charter for the rules of the budget process.
The Water Fund was established under Chapter 41, § 69B January 2000, as a special revenue fund until 2008 when it was adopted as an enterprise fund. Commencing July 1, 1994, the city established the Sewer Enterprise Fund in accordance with Chapter 44, § 53F ½, of the MGL.
Budget Amendment Increases
Any increase to the budget must be submitted to the City Council by the Mayor for approval. Budget amendments usually occur from transfers from other special revenue funds (usually receipts reserved for appropriation funds), free cash appropriations in general fund, or retained earnings appropriations within the Enterprise Funds. They can also be voted as an additional appropriation to the budget to be offset by property taxes, local revenue, state aid, and reserves prior to the tax rate being set in December of each year.
Budget Amendment Transfers
Budget transfers within the school department are submitted to the School Committee for their approval, and are processed by the Finance Department once approved. Budget transfers for city (non-school) budgets, between departments must be submitted to City Council for their approval. Transfers between personnel to ordinary expenses for the same department require the Mayor’s approval with a report to the City Council. This is due to the fact that the City Council votes the original budget as follows:
The City Council votes each personnel and ordinary expenses line separately within each department
The City Council votes the TOTAL for the school budget, not separate departments and/or organizational units as they do for the City Budget.
The City of Greenfield adopted the Department of Revenue of Local Services Bulletin no. 06-209 from May 2006 Section C2. This section refers to the alternative year end procedure which allows budget transfer starting May 1 and ending July 15, upon recommendation of the Mayor, of any departmental appropriation to another department appropriation, not to exceed three percent of 5,000, whichever is greater, of the department’s annual budget. The Municipal Modernization Act (MMA) revised this bulletin to lift this cap effective November 7, 2016. The Finance Department will provide the City Council Ways and Means Committee with a list of these budget transfers in addition to the regular transfers.