Ever wonder how Belmont creates its budget? Want to ask a town department what's up with their financial future?
Next Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., Town Meeting members and any resident can come to the Selectmen's Room in 's second floor for the traditional Warrant Committee briefing, the pre-Town Meeting public gathering hosted by the committee bringing the heads or representatives of the town's departments before the public.
"It is the opportunity for Town Meeting (representatives) to ask questions on the rough draft of the budget," said Warrant Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Allison after Wednesday's, Jan. 4, meeting at the .
The two-hour briefing has become the opportunity for department heads or their representatives to defend their budgets for the coming fiscal year and for the public and representatives to ask questions concerning the fiscal outlook of
The briefing comes a day after the town and school presents level service budgets to the Warrant Committee – the Town Meeting's financial watchdog – on Jan. 11.
And this year, the Committee presents an additional section to the briefing, the equivalent of discovering how the budget sausage is made.
The half-hour PowerPoint presentation dubbed "FY2013 Budget: First Look" will give a step-by-step demonstration of the Belmont budget process from the initial push of setting priorities and providing internal budget guidelines.
It will also provide a "Big Picture Numbers" chart that shows how the town and schools arrived at the expected revenue and level service numbers and what approaches – finding new revenue sources or cost efficiencies – town officials can use to create a final budget by the end of May.
"[First Look] is just laying out for Town Meeting members as a way of identifying the issues and showing what the [town and the School Department] will be doing during the process," said Allison.