Weymouth council backs budget timeline changes
Charter tweaks would allow school board, mayor more time to craft proposals

By Christian Schiavone
The Patriot Ledger
Posted May 03, 2011 @ 05:32 AM

WEYMOUTH — Weymouth’s town council on Monday endorsed proposed changes to the town charter that, if approved by voters, would give the mayor and school committee more time to submit budgets each year.

The council voted unanimously in favor of proposed changes that would move the deadline for the mayor to submit a budget to the council back by two weeks to mid-April. The school committee would have to submit its budget two weeks before the mayor’s deadline instead of three weeks before.

Councilors said the extra time would enable the committee and the mayor to avoid some of the guesswork that goes into crafting budgets based on the Legislature’s early estimates of state aid, which accounts for a major chunk of revenue.

“This is to allow additional time for the state money to align with the estimates of where the money would be,” Councilor Michael Smart said.

A third proposed change would push back the deadline for the school committee to hold a public hearing on its budget before submitting it to the mayor.

The proposals will now go to Mayor Sue Kay for her approval. From there they will have to be approved by both the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s offices before going on the ballot at the next town election.

The councilors chose the three changes from 17 pages of proposed amendments to the town charter, most of them minor corrections in language and punctuation. Councilors said the three changes were the most pressing and adding any otherswould confuse voters.

“Given the fact that as I looked at the document, these three questions added a page and a half (to the ballot) alone, I didn’t really want to complicate the ballot,” said council President Arthur Mathews.

Councilors said they can come back to the other proposed changes before future elections.

The changes were first proposed by a nine-member charter review committee appointed by the mayor and the council. It was the first time the charter has been reviewed since the change to a mayoral government in 2000.

Christian Schiavone may be reached at .