Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another Town, another finance committee:

The Arlington Finance Committee (FinCom) is a standing committee of the Town Meeting. Its purpose is to recommend a vote to Town Meeting on the Town budget and all articles that require an appropriation. The FinCom reviews each department's budget in detail and holds hearings on Town Meeting appropriation articles. In conjunction with the Town Manager, the Budget and Revenue Task Force, and other Town offices, the FinCom integrates revenue and expense projections to present a balanced budget to Town Meeting.
Hearings are usually held in the O'Neill Room, 2nd floor, Community Safety. On Town Meeting nights, they are held in the second-floor hearing room, Town Hall. Agendas, minutes, and upcoming meetings can be found on this page. Only the approved minutes are posted. 
The FinCom was established by Town Meeting vote on March 7, 1895. The present-day FinCom has 21 members, one from each precinct, who are appointed under the authority of Section 33 of the Town Manager Act (the Town's "charter") by a committee consisting of the moderator, the chair of the FinCom, and the chair of the Board of Trust Fund Commissioners. Under Section 34 of the Town Manager Act, the FinCom is authorized to have access to all Town accounts, and "officers, boards, and committees" of the Town are directed to cooperate.
The FinCom operates under Title I, Article 7 of the Town's bylaws. This article establishes a 3-year term for each member, defines eligibility, directs the committee to elect its own officers (currently the chair, 3 vice chairs, and a secretary), authorizes a salaried part-time executive secretary, and requires the committee to report to Town Meeting on all appropriation articles. Article 7 Section 5 authorizes the FinCom to approve requests for fund transfers within a department's budget and to approve transfers from the reserve fund to department budgets within the limits set by State law.
How it works - Town By-laws:

Article IV - Advisory Committee
Section 2. The Moderator of the town meeting when this By-Law is adopted shall, within thirty days after such by-law becomes effective, appoint 2 members of said committee for terms of one year, 2 members for terms of two years, and 3 members for terms of three years. At each Annual Town Meeting thereafter the Moderator thereof shall appoint 3 members of said committee for terms of three years. The terms of office of said members shall commence immediately upon qualification and shall expire at the close of final adjournment of the Annual Town Meeting at which their successors are appointed. Said committee shall choose its own officers and shall serve without pay, except the chairman who shall receive such amount as voted upon at the Annual Town Meeting, and it shall cause to be kept a true record of its proceedings.
 Amended 5-11-11

Section 3. The said committee shall fill any vacancy which may occur in its membership, by vote, attested copy of which shall be sent by the secretary to the Town Clerk. If any member is absent from five consecutive meetings of said committee, except in case of illness, his position shall be deemed to be vacant and shall be filled as herein provided. The term of office of any person so chosen to fill a vacancy shall expire at the final adjournment of the next succeeding Annual Town Meeting, and the Moderator thereof shall appoint his successor to complete the unexpired term of the member in whose office such vacancy originally occurred.