The Amherst Board of Selectmen understand the importance of government transparency. In an effort to educate its citizens on the Town’s Approved Operating Budgets, they have developed an initiative to publicly post budget information after the budget development process has been completed.
Approved Operating Budget:
How the Approved Operating Budget is developed:
The Town’s Operating Budget goes through several procedural layers before it becomes finalized for the upcoming budget year. A sample of these layers include but are not limited to the steps outlined below:
- Town Department Heads develop a financial plan, using their departmental expertise, of anticipated community needs in an effort to best serves the citizens of Amherst. This financial plan goes through the Town Administrator for review.
- The Town Administrator brings all Department Heads financial plans together as they work as a team to find overlapping savings that can be bridged across departments. This new financial plan is presented to the Board of Selectmen for consideration while the Ways & Means Committee conducts their own comprehensive reviews of requests.
- The Town of Amherst’s Ways & Means Committee is a volunteer committee consisting of citizen from many areas within our public and private sectors of the community. This committee is appointed by the Town Moderator. In addition, a Selectman Liaison joins this committee and they conducts a comprehensive analysis of all department requests, community needs, strategic planning for the future, and bring a new prospective of what the citizens of Amherst want to see for services vs. what the Town can provide based upon resources. This committee presents a comprehensive report of recommended changes to the Board of Selectmen based upon their discoveries.
- The Board of Selectmen conduct their own comprehensive review of budgetary requests, ask questions of both the Ways & Means Committee and Town Departments, then they incorporated recommendations from all areas to complete the budget process. This budget now become the proposed operating budget for the upcoming year. This proposed operating budget is presented to the citizens for consideration through the Deliberative Session process. (see the Amherst SB2 page for more information on this form of government.)
- After the Deliberative Session the proposed operating budget is presented to the voters on election day, along with a calculated default budget. If the proposed budget passes, it becomes the operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Should the budget fail, the default budget is used for the upcoming fiscal year.