Town Manager Austin Faison will be contacting the Massachusetts Division of Local Services to provide a financial management review.
“They have done a fair amount of reviews for other communities,” Faison said at Tuesday’s council meeting, adding that there is no charge for the review, which also helps determine policy on how funds are used. Currently the town does have a policy for free cash and stabilization funds. “They can provide some wisdom on policy too.” The review can also set up how a long-term capital plan can be set up.
“For example, a capital plan might be implemented that you could fund through six percent of your free cash each year,” he said. “You come up with a plan to sustain a capital plan. Longer-term planning than just year to year requests.”
“They can help us strengthen our position,” Faison said, adding that he doesn’t want to see the town have a lower bond rating. “This is one of the easiest steps we can take.”
Faison’s goal is to get the town in good financial shape and get the town recognized by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), it’s the national standard in terms of budget awards. Fiason said it would make Winthrop’s budget to be picked up by anyone across the United States and understood.
“We should be able to achieve that by setting some of these financial policies,” he said. “It would be good to get another set of fresh eyes to look at some of this and work along with the new chief financial officer.”
The Town Council approved the request.