The town's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.
Financial controls are under a seven-person Board of Finance responsible for recommending annual budgets, all other town appropriations, and determining the tax rate.
The annual budget making process for the town is outlined in Chapter 10 of the Town Charter. The timetable is established annually but all actions must be completed at least 10 days prior to the annual budget meeting of the Representative Town Meeting held the first Tuesday in May.
The budget making process is as follows:
By December 31
Departments, Offices, Boards, Commissions, Committees and Agencies except the Board of Education submit estimates and expenditures to the Town Finance Director.
By January 31
The Finance Director reviews the budget request together with estimates of receipts and expenditures for the current year with the First Selectman and the budget requesting agency.
By March 15
The First Selectman submits to the Board of Finance estimated revenue and expenditures for the current fiscal year and expenditure requests including Education and revenue estimates for the ensuing fiscal year. The First Selectman includes the Education Budget as requested by the Board of Education. Any reductions to the Education Budget are recommended by the Board of Finance.
By March 31
The Board of Finance holds one or more public hearing to review the requested budgets and make reductions it deems advisable.
By April 10
The Board of Finance approves a proposed budget and holds one or more public hearings.
By April 15
The Board of Finance approves a recommended budget and submits it to the Representative Town Meeting.
First Tuesday in May
The Representative Town Meeting adopts the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
By June 1
The Board of Finance sets the tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Westport’s finances are under the direction of a full-time Finance Director who also serves as the Purchasing Authority/Treasurer. The town utilizes in-house computer capabilities, line-item budgeting and double-entry bookkeeping.
The town, pursuant to local ordinance and provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, is required to undergo an annual audit by an independent public accountant. The auditor, appointed by the Board of Finance, is required to conduct the audit under the guidelines outlined by the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, which also receives a copy of the audit report.
The Operating and Working Capital funds are invested in accordance with the guidelines of the “Investment Policy” upon the direction of the Finance Director in the following short-term investments:
- Various certificates of deposit (C.D.) with Connecticut banks (prior to acquiring a C.D., the Finance Director requires prospective bank depositories to provide written evidence that the bank meets the collateral, risk based capital and other requirements of Qualified Public Depositories as defined in Connecticut General Statutes 36-382
- Money market accounts
- U.S. Government Treasury Obligations
- Repurchase Agreements collateralized by U.S. Government Agency Obligations
- MBIA Class - an investment fund managed by MBIA Municipal Investors Service Corporation which, according to MBIA Class, invest only in: (a) high grade short-term federal securities and variable rate obligations backed by federal agencies having monthly or quarterly assets based on indices like the prime rate, LIBOR, or a combination of the two; and (b) very short-term, usually overnight, repurchase agreements secured by high quality collateral which is valued daily and fully delivered to the program’s custodial bank to be held for the benefit of the pool’s participants.
Eligible investments for Connecticut municipalities are determined by C.G.S. 7-400 and 7-402. The town expects to continue to invest in the foregoing investments and those of similar character.
Town funds not under the direct control of the Finance Director and Controller will be the responsibility of the director or head of that department until such time the funds are disbursed or transferred to the Finance Department. The director or head of the department has established written procedures for the control of these funds. In addition, the town monitors the risk based capital ratios and collateral requirements of the qualified public depositories, as defined in C.G.S. 36-382.
The investment of each of the six Pension Trust funds is carried out by the “Investment Committee” (consisting of the Chair of the Board of Finance, the Finance Director, and a third person chosen by the two and approved by each pension board of the various funds). The Investment Committee makes investment decisions based on guidelines and investment policy established by the pension board of each of the pension funds.
The pension boards have adopted an investment policy to allocate 55 percent of fund assets to equities with the balance invested in fixed income securities and cash equivalents.