Section 7-1 of the Ashland Town Charter states that “the Town Manager shall prepare a budget in accordance with the schedule established in subsection (a). This budget shall provide a complete financial plan for all town funds and activities and shall be in such form as the town manager, in consultation with the finance committee and board of selectmen, may establish”.
Additionally, “the Town Manager shall also issue a budget report. This budget report shall explain the Town Manager’s budget in fiscal terms and in terms of what specific projects are contemplated for addition or deletion in the ensuing fiscal year. It shall also include:
A description of the important features of the budget
An indication of any major changes from the current fiscal year in financial policy
A summary of the town’s debt position
A report showing an estimate of revenues from all significant sources for the ensuing year, along with the probable amount required to be levied and raised by taxation
A budget, including revenue, expenses, and general subsidies for each enterprise fund
Such other material as the town manager may deem appropriate
The Town Manager’s budget contains the recommended budgets for all departments including the school department and the Enterprise Fund (Water, Sewer, and Trash) budgets.
What we typically refer to as the budget is a one page financial spreadsheet summary that incorporates general government, school department and enterprise funds that is separated into revenues and expenditure sections. This spreadsheet is produced from the same data from both the Town Manager’s and the school department’s budgets. It shows the total for each budget item, the expected revenue from each revenue source and the recommended expenditures. This summary demonstrates that recommended appropriations are balanced by the anticipated revenues.
The following section will provide an explanation of the major components of the budget.