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<br />Report for the 2020 Budget Taskforce <br />January 26, 2005 <br />Overview of Proceedings <br />Taskforce Membership: George Burnell, Pat Costello, Gillian Emmons, Peter Enrich, <br />Mollie Garberg, Tom Griffiths, Paul Hamburger, Margaret Heitz, Jeanne Krieger, Paul <br />Lapointe, Robert Lew, Patrick Mehr, Bob Rieth, Deborah Strod, Jessica Steigerwald, <br />Madeline Quinn <br />The taskforce was chartered to evaluate and then propose improvements in Lexington’s <br />approach to budget creation in the areas of process, analytics and communication. <br />Group meetings focused on understanding the process and perceived limitations in the <br />current budget process. The taskforce divided into three sub-groups to address each key <br />area: <br />Process: Enrich, Lapointe, Quinn, Rieth <br />Communications: Garberg, Heitz, Lew <br />Analytics: Emmons, Hamburger, Steigerwald, Strod <br /> <br />The taskforce also looked at other communities to identify alternative approaches and <br />potential best practices. The group developed a list of questions (Appendix A) for other <br />communities in each key area of concern and assigned individuals to each town. Answers <br />came from two sources: budget documents of other communities and face-to-face <br />interviews (when possible) with finance professionals in surrounding metro-west <br />communities including Brookline, Andover, Newton and Concord. <br />Process Discussion & Recommendations <br />Create a Financial Policy Review Committee (FPRC) <br /> <br />1) <br />The taskforce surveyed several communities that were similar to Lexington in size and <br />other parameters. One of the common features of several of the communities was the <br />existence of financial guidelines which supported and steered the budget process. These <br />guidelines, while not etched in stone, are a serious and necessary component of good and <br />responsible financial planning. Such a set of guidelines seemed to provide long term <br />stability to the budget process as well as consistency in year over year financial planning. <br />The financial guidelines seemed particularly well done by the town of Brookline, which <br />developed a set of guidelines in 1994 and updated them in 2004. To review the guidelines <br />last year, Brookline formed a committee of citizens who had held senior executive <br />positions in federal, state, and local governments as well as people with diverse <br />backgrounds with experience spanning general management to accounting and finance. <br /> <br />The taskforce recommends that the Board of Selectmen convene a Financial Policy <br />Review Committee (FPRC). This committee would consist of up to 12 citizens with <br />backgrounds in finance. The committee would not be a standing committee, but rather <br />would be charged to assess the then-current state of the Town’s finances and make <br />recommendations regarding Lexington financial policies, including appropriate levels of <br />“free cash” and other reserves, funding for capital improvements, and debt levels. <br /> <br /> <br />