Keeping Core Campaign Promises As Selectman
Improving financial management
- Introduced multi-year financial planning. Will created the first multi-year operating cost projections for the town in early 2000. This model has now been vastly improved and institutionalized by town staff and committees. It is a now a key benchmark in Town financial decision-making.
- Developed reserve policy. For many years the town lacked a policy on appropriate reserve levels and in the late 90s ran reserves to dangerously low levels. Will worked with the rating agencies and the town’s financial advisers to develop a policy which was unanimously adopted by town leadership.
- Identified town’s real capital needs. Will developed a framework for understanding and prioritizing the town’s major capital needs. All of the town’s major building and infrastructure elements were professionally studied. As a result, the town has a much better understanding of its financial options and is moving forward to address its highest priorities.
Controlling costs and Generating Revenue
With Will’s leadership and with the collaboration of the Town’s Warrant Committee and other town officials, Belmont made improvements in every area of its cost structure. Each of these improvements required persistence in delicate negotiations.
- Worked with unions and management to limit wage growth. The town makes every effort to treat its employees fairly, but when state aid fell in 2002-4, Will worked successfully with management and union leaders to close the budget gap.
- Consolidated the purchase of legal services, moving from a collection of smaller firms to a larger firm that offers better access to expertise at a lower cost.
- Consolidated public works activities scattered in four departments – cemetery, grounds, highway and water – into a new public works department. Working as a team, the new department has been able to provide better service with its limited resources.
- Eliminated expensive pay-as-you-go indemnity health care plan and consolidated health care purchasing with a single vendor, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Initiated processes that led ultimately to a further step — returning to pay-as-you-go financing, but with the new vendor, resulting in additional savings.
- Eliminated civil service protection for the police chief, making him more accountable to the taxpayers.
- Trimmed the police force from a high of 53 positions down to 46 positions.
- Consolidated the firefighting force from three stations down to two — this allows the department to remain effective with limited resources. Belmont chose a pair of fire station sites after very thorough and public analysis of all options by a citizen committee with professional planning assistance.
- Invested in energy cost-saving improvements in buildings across town – these investments were made at no out-of-pocket cost to the taxpayers through a company that accepts payments out of the future energy savings.
- Moved to sell town tax-title properties that had remained unused on the books for decades. Three lots have been given over to affordable housing development and the town is well along in the process of selling the last major saleable property to create multiple private residential lots.
Click here to visit Archive of Financial Framework Documents from Will’s work as Selectman.