Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Finance Committee, February 07, 2024

Comptroller’s Budget Analysis

Salary Adjustments

  • The comptroller’s salary exceeded the maximum in the M schedule and adjustments were made to comply with the salary cap.
  • There is potential change for the M schedule and reclassification warrant articles in the future to address this.
  • Adjustments for senior accountants were made after last year’s budget, hence the differences.
  • The junior accounting clerk position remains as is.

Expense Budget

  • Higher expenses are due to vacancies being filled, requiring in-state and out-of-state travel expenses for the new hires.
  • Extensive training for the new employees led to increased costs in the budget.

Chart of Accounts Overhaul

  • An initiative was undertaken internally to create a new chart of accounts resulting in substantial savings compared to hiring external consultants.
  • Past data will be recast to align with the new chart of accounts for budget analysis ease.

Comptroller’s Office Analysis

  • The Comptroller’s office has seen fewer errors and better management, contributing to more efficient finance committee sessions.

Retirement System Review

Actuarial Analysis and Funding Schedule

  • Comprehensive statistics on active and retired members of the retirement system were discussed, impacting future fiscal responsibilities.
  • The Public Retirement Investment Trust maintains a well-managed investment portfolio, crucial to the long-term financial health of the retirement system.
  • A rolling forward average is utilized to provide a clearer projection of financial status.

Unfunded Actuarial Liability

  • The unfunded liability is considered like a mortgage needing to be paid off, with the state setting the payoff period.
  • Assuming an increment of 5.5% annual contribution, the projected payoff year is 2034, which may then shift focus towards funding OPEB liabilities.

Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB)

  • OPEB has a current liability of approximately $194 million with a low funding rate affecting the discount rate applied to that liability.

Retirement Budget Vote

  • The Committee voted to support the recommended contribution of $16,555,650 for the retirement budget, taking into consideration various offsets.

IT Department and Projects Review

Network Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6

  • An 18-month project is underway to upgrade the Wi-Fi network standard throughout the town facilities, starting with Rec Department as the pilot.

Body Camera Data Line

  • Additional costs for body camera data management and the installation were noted, with an emphasis on data management being an external service.

Munis and Digitizing Documents

  • Ongoing projects to utilize Munis more effectively and ongoing digitization of town records, including inspection services data.

Informix Maintenance

  • Informix, an older database system, is still being used until all the water meters are replaced, which has been delayed due to supply chain issues.

In summary, the meeting covered various items such as minute corrections, budget amendments, and discussions on comptroller, retirement system, and IT department budgets and initiatives. The Committee also plotted out future sessions for related assessments and visits from schools and Minuteman.



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