, Newburyport, MA


April 22, 2014

Wish list for Amesbury's budget process

To the editor:

A set of suggestions for the upcoming budget season:

Televise all budget meetings.

Copies of the budget be made available to the public.

A balance of all accounts for public perusal, as well as the state charges and reimbursements as they migrate from the governor’s budget to the House and the Senate, conference committee and then finally to the governor’s signing.

Have all budgets and their participants appear before the finance committee and make a documented presentation.

Through the budget hearings and the CFO’s office, ensure that there will be a disclosure at the close of business of the balance of budgets and receipts and revenues as of July 15, 2014, of the year or thereabouts.

Ensure that there are no duplications in appropriation in the school budget and charter school budget in the calculation of the tax rate within the school budget and within state charges — please eliminate the potential.

To estimate Fiscal Year 2015 free cash, please ask the spokespersons for the particular budget the current balance and monthly expenditure.

Please make budget adjustments for the transfers during calendar 2013 for “various transfers between budgets.”

And that the special revenues noted within the balance sheet, and the restricted revenues noted within the most recent audit be used as “available funds” to offset budget expense such as for example — the Planning Board fees of $299,000-plus — offset all Planning Board expense, include appeals board provided it is lawfully allowable, use Conservation Commission monies to do the same, to use the athletic revolving fund to offset the same type expense, etc.

And that a session be spent on the receipts and revenues of the Amesbury municipal corporation.

That the municipal council conduct the classification hearing at the end of the third quarter normally held during mid-December.

And that regardless, that the leftover water retained earnings of $300,000 be used exclusively as tax rate and tax rate burden reduction.

Individual budgets recommendations will follow with the budgets hearing similar to the past.

James Thivierge


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