Agreement Reached Between Mayor and City Council Leadership to Work Collaboratively on Future Budget Processes
The City Council has approved the FY24 budget, with the City’s operating amount totaling $179,607,106 and the Water Sewer Enterprise Budget Fund totaling $27,365,580.75, at its June 20th meeting.
To help strengthen the City’s budget process in the future, Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn contacted each councilor and engaged with several Councilors prior to the vote on the 20th to determine essential needs and prioritize policies that will enable a more collaborative and constructive process for future years.
Yesterday, the Mayor and Council leadership came to a compromise that addresses shared goals and delivers on the Mayor’s promise of a more transparent and inclusive government, including:
- Working toward creating the City’s first-ever Stabilization account, protecting the City from future uncertainties. The council agreed to refer the Mayor’s proposal to Committee, and with a majority of the council in support, there is a path to passing it in the future with a two-thirds majority vote.
- The Mayor will meet with Council leadership in the Fall to discuss changes to the City’s budget process, based on the following principles:
- Earlier timeline including meetings with Department Heads starting in January and/or February
- Process for Council to make recommendations for the Mayor to consider prior to submission of budget proposal
- Regular comprehensive assessments of total operating and capital budget needs
- The City will establish a Financial Task Force, comprised of City Councilors, School Committee Members and City staff that will analyze current fiscal needs and make recommendations to the Mayor on where to invest funding in future proposed budgets.
- The Mayor will ask the Charter Study Committee to review the council’s Charter Amendment priorities as it relates to the budget process, and the Mayor and Council will explore alternative options using other available mechanisms.
- Explore the use of one-time funds for budget planning and staffing and capital needs assessments
“When I first took office, the City’s budget process was antiquated and not conducive to public participation,” Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn said. “The budget book was comprised primarily of hard to read excel spreadsheets. We transformed the budget book into an award-winning document and delivered the proposed FY24 budget at the earliest date in over 20 years. Now that this foundation has been built over the course of my three and a half years in office, collaborating with the City Council and School Committee to enhance this process is the next logical step.”
“I’m very heartened by the progress we’ve made and the collaboration we’ve seen so far between the Mayor and Councilors, including adding additional funding for our schools, library, the Council’s zoning reform, and creating a better budget process for Medford,” said Medford City Council President Nicole Morell.
“I’m encouraged that this agreement enables the Mayor, City Council, and School Committee to create a plan to fully fund and fix the city’s biggest challenges,” Medford City Council Vice President Zac Bears said. “I look forward to working with my Council colleagues, the Mayor, and city administration to implement the details of these proposals.”
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