About the Committee
The Finance Committee (FinCom) is one of 5 standing committees of town Meeting. It is comprised of 15 residents appointed by the chair of the Select Board, the chair of the Finance Committee, and the town moderator for 3-year terms.
In accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, the Finance Committee must recommend a balanced budget at Spring town Meeting (projected expenditures must not exceed projected revenues).
How Finance Committee Members Spend Their Time
September - November
The Finance Committee typically begins its regular meetings in the fall. Subcommittees are appointed by the Finance Committee chair, and review Fall town Meeting warrant articles that have a financial impact. FinCom prepares a 3 year financial projection to facilitate longer term planning.
December - January
Members work to resolve outstanding issues in preparation for the next budget season.
The town manager recommends a budget for the coming fiscal year (Winchester’s Fiscal Year is July 1 through June 30) which includes line item budgets for all municipal departments and an overall allocation for the Winchester Public Schools.
February - April
The Finance Committee reviews the proposed budget through contact with the department heads, other boards, public hearings, and the committee’s own research. The bulk of the work of the Finance Committee is conducted through its subcommittees.
Most FinCom subcommittees are organized to align with town departments, and, as described in the Finance Committee rules, each subcommittee should meet with the department, board, or committee head concerned to familiarize itself fully with the organization and the function of the department, board, or committee, its plans and requirements.
Subcommittees provide a detailed analysis of each component of the budget including a written recommendation to the entire Finance Committee. The FinCom then votes three specific budget figures for each municipal department:
- Personal Services
- It votes an overall budget figure for the schools
During this time, FinCom meets once or twice each week.
Spring town Meeting
The culmination of the budget review process occurs when the Finance Committee provides its recommendations to town Meeting Members in early May. While town Meeting has the final vote on any budget, it too is obligated by state law to approve a balanced budget.
May - June
The Finance Committee also oversees the town’s reserve fund, an account set aside to handle emergency or otherwise unforeseen expenses during the year. Typically, a request for a reserve fund transfer will come towards the end of the fiscal year from the Town Manager.
July - August
FinCom does not typically meet during the summer, but individual members, representatives to other ad-hoc committees, the chair and vice chair continue to work on projects.