Contact:
Address:
P.O. Box 247
Worthington, MA 01098
Phone:
(413) 238-5577
Meeting Schedule:
As Needed
Additional Links:

Committee Members

Name
Title
Term Expires
Joe Boudreau
Chair
2020
Bart Niswonger
Member
2021
Paul Dunlevy
Member
2019
Melinda Rose
Member
2021
Gretchen Eliason
Member
2020

Mission Statement
Worthington’s Finance Committee consists of five members that are elected to three year overlapping terms. The origin of municipal finance committees in Massachusetts began in 1870 when a group of Quincy citizens banded together to restore financial order in their municipality, creating the Commonwealth’s first finance committee. In 1910 the Massachusetts General Court acknowledged the need for municipal finance committees state-wide with its adoption of Chapter 130, section 2 of the Acts of 1910. This inserted Chapter 39, section 16 into the Massachusetts General Laws.
Section 16. Every town whose valuation for the purpose of apportioning the state tax exceeds ten million dollars shall, and any other town may, by by-law provide for the election or the appointment and duties of appropriation, advisory or finance committees, who shall consider any or all municipal questions for the purpose of making reports or recommendations to the town; and such by-laws may provide that committees so appointed or elected may continue in office for terms not exceeding three years from  the date of appointment or election. In every town having a committee appointed under authority of this section, such committee, or the selectmen if authorized by a by-law of the town, and, in any town not having such a committee, the selectmen, shall submit a budget at the annual town meeting.

In addition to the state law Worthington’s Finance Committee is governed by Section II of the Town’s General Bylaws:

Finance Committee Duties
It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to consider any and all Town questions of a financial nature and to make recommendations thereon to the voters of the Town. All financial articles proposed for insertion in a Town Meeting warrant shall, prior to the time said warrant is posted, be referred to the Finance Committee for consideration. Unless the Finance Committee by a majority vote decides otherwise, a public hearing shall be held before said Committee at least two weeks prior to the Town Meeting to consider and act upon all such proposed articles. The Committee shall also consider annually the estimated budget requirements of the various Town Boards and Officers which shall be prepared in such form and detail and presented at such time as may be prescribed by the Finance Committee. After due consideration of such financial articles and budget estimates the Finance Committee shall recommend to the voters whatever action relative thereto it deems advisable for the best interest of the Town. In the discharge of these duties, said Committee shall have free access to all books of records, accounts, bills and vouchers in which money has been or may be paid from the Treasury.
While civic education or the study of government is first taught in school it is not exclusive to schools. A famous rendition of this notion is Alex De Tocqueville’s often quoted view: “Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it”. With this in mind we hope that this web page and the following narrative will help you understand what goes on outside Town Meeting and hopefully provide you with a better knowledge of the various aspects of municipal finance. Clicking on the various links in the narrative should bring you to additional information on the various subjects. Also the Budget Documents and the Municipal Finance Knowledge Base Sections on this page contain additional information.

The primary responsibility of the Finance Committee is the development of the Town’s annual budget and its recommendations to the Town’s Annual Town Meeting.  Cities and towns in Massachusetts operate on a fiscal year basis which begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th. Worthington’s Annual Town Meeting is held on the first Saturday in May for the ensuing fiscal year that begins on July 1st. The budget process usually begins in January with the various town departments submitting their budget requests for the upcoming year. The Finance Committee then meets on a weekly basis starting in February through the month of April preparing the budget that will be ultimately inserted on the “Warrant” for the Annual Town Meeting. The warrant is the document that sets out the order of business that will be acted upon at town meeting. For help with municipal finance terminology please click on this Municipal Finance Glossary link.

All cities and towns in Massachusetts must have a balanced budget. This means that proposed expenses cannot exceed projected revenues. As a result two budgets must be developed, an expenditure budget that is derived from the budget requests from town departments and a revenue budget that will dictate the expenditure budget.

The revenue budget is made up of Cherry Sheet Revenue, Local Estimated Receipts, Other Available Funds and Property Taxes (real estate and personal property). Cherry Sheets originally named for the color of the paper they were printed on are the official notification from the state on what the town can expect to receive in state aid in the upcoming fiscal year. Local Estimated Receipts are various non-property tax revenue that the town receives during the year. Some examples are motor vehicle excise, penalties and interest on taxes, trash disposal fees, licenses and permit fees and investment income.

For the most part Worthington’s Available Funds consist of Free Cash and Stabilization Funds. It has been a Town policy for many years to use Free Cash to fund the Stabilization Funds and to use the Stabilization Funds to fund capital expenditures and various “one time” expenses. Please click on the following link to see the Town’s Free Cash History that shows what was actually certified by the Department of Revenue and the components that made up the actual calculation.

The last component of the revenue budget is property taxes. Currently they represent approximately seventy percent of the Town’s total revenues. In Massachusetts the amount of property taxes that can be assessed is limited. Chapter 580 of the Acts of 1980 or better known as Proposition 2 1/2 amended Chapter 59 of the state’s general laws. Prior to this enactment a town’s budget could always be easily balanced by simply increasing the tax levy. Now with a levy limit the revenue budget determines the total amount that Town Meeting can appropriate for the expenditure budget. For the details of both the revenue budget and the expenditure budget by fiscal year please go to the Budget Documents Section on this page.

In addition to budget preparation, the Finance Committee oversees the use of the Reserve Fund. The Reserve Fund is created by an appropriation at Annual Town Meeting pursuant to M.G.L. Ch.40, s.6.  Its purpose is to provide funding for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures. Transfers by formal requests are approved or disapproved by the Finance Committee. To approve a transfer from the fund to another appropriation, the Finance Committee must find that the request is for either an extraordinary or unforeseen purpose and not just because the appropriation is depleted or overspent. A list of the approved transfers can be seen in the Finance Committee’s Annual Reports that can be found in the Budget Documents Section on this page.

We hope that this narrative and the additional information that can be found in the other sections on this page will help you better understand Worthington’s government and for more general information on local government in Massachusetts please click on the following links: A Guide To Financial Management For Town Officials, New Officials, Finance Forum Handbook and the Finance Committee Handbook. These and other publications and information can be found in the Municipal Finance Knowledge Base section.