In this section you will find several of the Town’s primary budgetary and financial documents. Below are brief descriptions of these documents and links that will lead to the current year’s document as well as previous years. We hope to encourage residents to learn about the Town’s budget and financial condition and how their tax dollars are spent.
To help you navigate these budgetary and financial materials. please refer to this glossary of financial terms.
The PAFR is a brief, four-page report that provides a snapshot of the Town’s basic financial condition and trends. It also contains summarized financial schedules and tables. You can view past reports here.
In accordance with Section 32 of the Town Manager Act; the Town Manager must annually submit a budget to the Board of Selectmen. Arlington has had a long tradition of developing a performance based budget that clearly defines departmental goals and objectives and includes detailed trend analysis and long-term projections. The annual operating and capital budgets are submitted as part of the Town Manager’s Annual Budget & Financial Plan. It is important to note that the financial and budgetary information presented in the Annual Budget & Financial Plan are projections and are subject to change prior to Town Meeting.
In accordance with Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 40, Section 49, the Town of Arlington prepares, and makes public, an Annual Town Report prior to Town Meeting. The Annual Report includes some of the financial information found in the Town Manager’s Annual Budget and Financial Plan, but not as detailed. The Report focuses more on significant accomplishments of the previous calendar year and goals for the current annual year. The Annual Report also includes reports from major boards and committees, election results, Town Meeting information, and a Town Directory. Annual Town Reports can be viewed online at arlingtonma.gov/annualreports.
The School Budget is the largest department budget in the Town. The budget is funded at Annual Town Meeting at the same time as other Town budgets. The School Budget is detailed and includes very specific school department information. As a result, the School Budget is available for review as a separate document. School budget information can be viewed here.
The Town of Arlington annually contracts with a private auditing firm for the purposes of auditing the Town’s accounts, funds and preparing financial statements for all governmental activities. The audit is conducted in accordance with the applicable standards contained in the Government Auditing Standards, which is issued by the Comptroller General of the United States. Audited financial statements can be viewed here.
The Finance Committee was established by vote of the Town over a century ago on March 7, 1895. At that time, Article 33 provided for the selection of a “committee of twenty-one,” which would consider all articles in the warrant involving an appropriation of money and “make report thereof in print, with their estimates and recommendations for final action of the Town.” Consistent with the Committee’s charge, the Finance Committee prepares an report to Town Meeting. The report contains detailed budgetary information and recommendations from the committee on specific Warrant Articles that require or request an appropriation of funds. Finance Committee Reports to Town Meeting can be viewed here.
The Capital Planning Committee was established by the 1986 Arlington Town Meeting to assist the Town Manager in preparing a multi-year capital plan. The Capital Planning Committee prepares a report to Town Meeting that contains detailed financial information relating to Arlington’s multi-year Capital Improvement Program. Capital Planning Committee Reports to Town Meeting can be viewed here.
The Board of Assessors prepares the tax rate based on the assessed values of residential, commercial, industrial and personal property throughout the Town on an annual basis. In late November or December, the Board of Selectmen holds a tax classification hearing for the purposes of setting the tax rate. Detailed information on the tax rate and town assessments can be found in the Assessor's section of the website here.