Arlington officials are seeking feedback on a proposal to consolidate town and school finances.
The Board of Selectmen on Monday charged Town Manager Brian Sullivan with drafting an article for this year’s Town Meeting, after the Department of Revenue recommended the merger to improve effectiveness and accountability in town operations.
Sullivan is looking for comments from town residents and officials on the DOR report. Comments should be submitted by Feb. 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to Town Manager, Town of Arlington, 730 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA, 02476.
The town manager will use the feedback to make recommendations for this year's Town Meeting.
Frederick Kingsley, chief of the DOR’s Municipal Data Management and Technical Assistance Bureau, said consolidating finance departments between Arlington Public Schools and town government is “extremely important” because Arlington is operating in an environment of constrained revenue.
Kingsley and his team last week submitted a report that said a “government structure where town finance officers operate independently does not foster an environment conducive to strong financial management. “
In the report, Department of Revenue officials encouraged Arlington to explore an appointed Board of Assessors. Several selectmen said they are against that proposal and would rather keep the assessors as elected officials.
Kingsley told the selectmen that town government needs to restructure several positions—from assessors to the town comptroller—before a merger gets underway.