Budgets

Current & Proposed Budgets

Fiscal 2024 (July 2023 to June 2024) budget documents can be found here.
Fiscal 2025 (July 2024 to June 2025) budget documents can be found here.

Details of the School budget can be found on their website.

Archived Budgets

Budgets for prior years can be found in the archive center.

WESTFORD EXPLAINER

Guide to Budget Reviews

Do you want to understand the town of Westford’s budget?  Do you want to give input on various services and expenses?  Here is your guide on how to find the information and where/how input can be given?

The budget being discussed currently covers July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025.  It is called the Fiscal Year 2025 budget (FY25).  Details are divided into 2 main documents – one for the School department, one for the rest of the town departments and can be found at the links below:

Town Budget               School Budget

Supplemental information can be found:

 Town Supplemental Information              School Supplemental Information 

More detailed information can also be found on the Town FY25 Budget page

The Finance Committee (Fincom) is tasked with reviewing the budget on behalf of the residents.   The committee holds reviews (called budget hearings) on each department.  Fincom members ask many questions ahead of these meetings and during the meetings.  All of the questions and answers are available on the Town website within the “meeting packets” for each of the meetings.  Meeting packets for any public meeting can be found by searching the Document Management System.

Below is the FinCom schedule for this year.  The numbers in parathesis, where applicable, refer to the accounting sections in the budgets linked above.

Date

Departments under review

January 11, 2024 7pm

Public Works (400’s)
Tree Warden (294)
Water Enterprise

Stormwater Enterprise

Culture & Recreation (600’s, excluding Land Mgmt 660)

Recreation Enterprise

January 18, 2024 7pm

Westford Public Schools

January 25, 2024 7pm

Health & Human Services (500’s)

Public Safety (200’s, excluding Tree Warden 294)

Ambulance Enterprise

February 1, 2024 7pm

Westford Public Schools (follow-up)

General Government (100’s)

Land Management (660)

Debt Service

Risk Management/Unclassified

Capital Presentation 

Revenue Presentation

 

As it gets closer to the February 1 budget review, presentations will be available for the Capital and Revenue Presentations.

If you would like to be notified of Fincom budget hearings, you may sign up for “Finance Committee” under Agenda Center for email or text reminders.   The public is welcome to attend the Fincom Budget Hearings in person (Town Hall) or via Zoom.  The hearings are also broadcast on WestfordCAT on Comcast channel 9, Verizon channel 34, and streaming on their website.  The public is also welcome to give input or ask questions at the hearings or at any time by emailing the Town Manager, Kristen Las, Select Board Chair, Tom Clay, or Finance Committee Chair, Kristina Greene.



Budget Process

The Town's accounting year runs from July to June. Accounting years are numbered by the second of the two calendar years they span, so for example the year from July 2023 to June 2024 is know as 'Fiscal Year 2024'. Each year the Town is required to have a budget approved by Town Meeting that is balanced (that is, the expected revenue from taxes, fees, and other sources is equal to the expected expenditures). The budget presented at Town Meeting is broken down by department into personnel costs and other expenditures. Each of those categories is reviewed in detail by the Finance Committee before being approved by the Select Board and brought to Town Meeting. The main exception to this is that by law the School budget is approved by the Select Board as a single line item, with the breakdown of spending within that line being controlled by the School Committee. 

Budget preparation begins around September each year when departments start putting together their budgets for the following fiscal year. These are then aggregated by the Finance Department and Town Manager's Office and those requested department budgets are modified to create a balanced budget overall. This is presented to the Select Board at the end of the calendar year so that the Finance Committee can hold public meetings to review them in January/February. The final budget is presented at the Annual Town Meeting, usually in late March, where it is voted on. 

For a detailed explanation of the budget process, the impact of proposition 21/2, and municipal finance in general, take a look at the report produced  by the Budget Task Force in 2023.