Friday, April 2, 2010

Your City Budget....Coming to a Website Near You!

I was able to have the honor of spending some time with the Mayor and Mayor's Chief of Staff today.  It's no secret I am a big fan of Judith Flanagan Kennedy. Today's visit further solidified that feeling.  She is currently in the process of pouring through the city budget, making sense of the nonsensical, and finding ways to reduce cost in several areas. The budgets from each department are due back to her in April.

She explained why they haven't posted the FY10 budget online by taking me through several examples of confusing scenarios that no one would be able to interpret correctly. She has directed the Treasurer to take the examples of Quincy and other model towns (when it comes to readable budgets) and provide the FY Budget in a readable and complete format. No "MISC" and "Random Expendables" line items. Some of those are big numbers in FY10 and have no detail and/or answers as to what the money went to or was planned for.

This all being said, any of you can go to City Hall and request a copy. I now have one on my desk and I'll be pouring through it over the next month to get a firm understanding of what we wanted to do in FY2010. I can't wait to see what we actually did (after reserves transfers and all the other horrific fiscal policy of the Clancy the Clown years).

I want to publicly acknowledge the Mayor for her transparency today and her commitment to increasing our city's transparency come July 1, 2010. You have a right to easy access to information on where your tax money is going. Mayor Kennedy and the City Hall website is going to give that to you.


I found this page pretty interesting. As I find other tidbits, I may share. 43.5% of the budget in 2010 to Education.  Also, notice the lack in Health, Walfare, and Culture/Recreation. This is due largely to the fact that the City Budget does not include the Federal numbers coming in to OECD, EDIC in its' budget. Just one of the many issues in trying to make this readable for the public. This doesn't necessarily properly display the city's commitments in these areas.

More to come!



  1. pensions and non-departmental are too high. no?

  2. Not sure they are. Quincy, MA has a pretty easy to understand public budget on their website. Similar economic situation to Lynn (if not a bit better). They are 88,000 or so in population so a pretty fair comparison point, I think.

    Retirement/Pension for Quincy 19.6M in FY2010 or 8.63% of total.

    Lynn is 19.6M also which was 8% (a little better then Quincy).

    Non-Departmental in FY2010 is suspect and Quincy has no equivalent in their city budget. I have a few questions to ask on this tab. It's mostly insurance until you get to a few BIG numbers ($33M) with labels of "Other Finance Uses" and it also seems to include the money we stripped from reserves over the past few years. $1.75M was approved by council for FY2010. I don't know how much was actually spent.


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