The special Blue Ribbon Commission is asked to review all aspects of the Newton's projected financial resources and expenses so that citizens and officials alike may have a better idea of what to expect in the next few years. This work will build on the efforts of the Long Range Planning Committee and the financial forecast it has helped shape with the assistance of the Mayor's Office and the Office of the City Comptroller. The Commission will be asked to report is findings to the Mayor and President of the Board no later than February 1, 2007. In carrying out its charge, the Commission is expected to look at the forecast assumptions concerning the City's revenues and expenditures. If adjustments should be made, identify the basis for the change as well as what responses might be appropriate so as to help the City plan for the future as well as possible.
As part of its overall review, the Commission should look at the assumptions about revenues and expenditures to determine if the forecast for the next five years is within the range or reasonable projections, and if adjustments should be made, on what basis.
It should examine whether the appropriate balance is being anticipated for allocations between operational expenses and capital investment in the City and School plant and equipment over the next five years to avoid more expensive capital investments in the future.
We would also want the Commission to review what measures might be feasible to close any gap between anticipated expenses and anticipated revenues over the next five years, and if so, what they might be.
Finally, we ask the Commission to determine what adjustments in the forecast might usefully be made to have it serve as a guide for projecting revenues and expenses beyond ten years.
In all of this the Commission may use the financial forecast as a starting point and resource.
In undertaking this analysis, the Commission will have available to it the Chief Financial and Budget Officers within the Executive Department, the Comptroller who reports to the Board of Aldermen, and the City Clerk and Clerk of the Board of Aldermen and the Law Department for advice, as well as other staff within the City and Schools. Note that while may not be feasible for a member of the Clerk's staff to be in attendance at all meetings, the Commission may ask for such assistance from the Clerk's office that he is able to provide. Also, we hope to be able to make available graduate students from the Kennedy School.
While not formally a governmental body, the Commission should anticipate that its discussions will be public, but also subject to the same exceptions and controls over public participation that the Open Meeting Law shall provide.
The Commission should operate as much as possible by consensus, but shall have the ability to take votes to determine direction and recommendations.
In order to allow maximum participation by relevant City and School officials, the Commission should avoid meeting during evening when the School Committee or Board of Aldermen and its committees meet. The Mayor and President of the Board would be notified of the meeting dates, times and proposed agenda and offered the opportunity to attend.