Current & Past Two Fiscal Year Town Budgets
The Town Budget provides a complete financial plan for all Town funds and activities, including all estimated income and proposed expenditures for the next fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).
Steps for preparing and approving the Town Budget are outlined below:
- Following a public hearing, the School Committee submits a budget request to the Mayor.
- The Mayor reviews all budget requests and sets priorities for Town funds.
- The Mayor submits a detailed budget and budget message to the Town Council.
- The Town Council holds a public hearing (i.e., an Annual Town Meeting) on the proposed budget.
- The Town Council reviews the proposed budget in a series of public committee meetings.
- The Town Council adopts the budget, with or without amendments, but has no authority to add programs or increase amounts.
The following terms and acronyms are used in the preparation and monitoring of the Town Budget. Find additional Massachusetts budget terminology here.
The Chapter 70 program is the Commonwealth's principal program of state aid to public elementary and secondary schools. In addition, Chapter 70 establishes minimum spending requirements for each school district and minimum requirements for each municipality's share of school costs. See Net School Spending below for more information.
Community Preservation Act (CPA)
The CPA allows Massachusetts cities and towns to create a local Community Preservation Fund for open space protection, historic preservation, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation. In the Town of Weymouth, Community Preservation monies are raised locally through a surcharge of one percent on real property, with exemptions made for income-qualified households and the first $100,000 in assessed value of residential property.
Under Proposition 2½ a community may raise funds for certain purposes above its tax levy by voting a debt exclusion. The amount of the debt exclusion does not become a permanent part of the levy limit, but allows a community to assess taxes for a certain period of time for the payment of the debt associated with a public capital project. The additional amount required for this payment is added only for the life of the debt. A debt exclusion requires a two-thirds vote of the Town Council, with the Mayor’s approval, and a majority vote of the electorate. Learn more about Proposition 2½ and debt exclusions here.
An enterprise fund establishes a separate accounting and financial reporting mechanism for municipal activities that collect fees in exchange for goods or services. Revenues and expenses associated with the service are segregated into a local fund with financial statements that are separate from all other governmental activities. The Town of Weymouth has two enterprise funds: a Sewer Enterprise Fund and a Water Enterprise Fund.
Net School Spending
The Commonwealth's Chapter 70 program establishes an annual "net school spending" requirement for every public school district. While Chapter 70 provides state aid to cover a portion of this requirement, the remaining balance is the responsibility of the district's municipality. Failure by a community to comply with this requirement can result in non-approval of a municipality's tax rate, enforcement action by the Attorney General, or loss of state aid.
Proposition 2½ is a state ballot initiative that limits the total revenue, or tax levy, a community can raise through real and personal property taxes to 2.5% of the current fiscal year's total assessed full and fair cash value of such property. This limit or ceiling on the tax levy is incremental: it allows permanent but controlled annual increases to the tax levy equal to 2.5% of the prior fiscal year levy plus credit for the value of new property development. Learn more about Proposition 2½ here.
The property tax levy is the total revenue a community can raise through real and personal property taxes. In Massachusetts, municipal revenues to support local spending for schools, public safety, and other public services are raised through the property tax levy, state aid, local receipts, and other sources. The property tax levy is the largest source of revenue for most cities and towns.