The fiscal year of the city shall begin on July 1 and shall end on June 30, unless another period is required by the General Laws.
The mayor shall call a joint meeting of the city council and school committee, including the superintendent of schools, before the commencement of the budget process to review the financial condition of the city, revenue and expenditure forecasts and other relevant information prepared by the mayor in order to develop a coordinated budget.
At least 45 days before the beginning of the fiscal year, the mayor shall submit to the city council a proposed operating budget for all city agencies, which shall include the school department, for the ensuing fiscal year with an accompanying budget message and supporting documents. The budget message submitted by the mayor shall explain the operating budget in fiscal terms and in terms of work programs for all city agencies. It shall outline the proposed fiscal policies of the city for the ensuing fiscal year, describe important features of the proposed operating budget and include any major variations from the current operating budget, fiscal policies, revenues and expenditures together with reasons for these changes. The proposed operating budget shall provide a complete fiscal plan of all city funds and activities and shall be in the form the mayor deems desirable; provided, however, that the budget for elected officials shall identify the cost of compensation and the cost of benefits for those officials. The school budget, as adopted by the school committee shall be submitted to the mayor at least 30 days before the submission of the proposed operating budget to the city council. The mayor shall notify the school committee of the date by which the proposed budget of the school committee shall be submitted to the mayor. The mayor and the superintendent of schools shall coordinate the dates and times of the school committee's budget process under the General Laws.
Public Hearing - The city council shall publish in at least 1 local newspaper a notice of the proposed operating budget as submitted by the mayor. The notice shall state: (i) the times and places where copies of the entire proposed operating budget are available for inspection by the public; and (ii) the date, time and place when a public hearing on the proposed operating budget will be held by the city council, not less than 14 days after publication of the notice.
Adoption of the Budget - The city council shall adopt the proposed operating budget, which may have amendments, within 45 days following the date the proposed budget is filed with the city clerk. In amending the proposed operating budget, the city council may delete or decrease amounts except expenditures required by law; provided, however, that except on the recommendation of the mayor, the city council shall not increase any item in or the total of the proposed operating budget, unless otherwise authorized by the General Laws. If the city council fails to take action on an item in the proposed operating budget within 45 days after its receipt, that amount shall, without any action by the city council, become a part of the appropriations for the year and be available for the purposes specified.
Submission - The mayor shall submit a capital improvement program to the city council at least 120 days before the start of each fiscal year. The capital improvement program shall include:
a general summary of its contents;
a list of all capital improvements proposed to be undertaken during the next 5 years, with supporting information as to the need for each capital improvement;
cost estimates, methods of financing and recommended time schedules for each improvement; and
the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining each facility and piece of major equipment involved.
Public Hearing - The city council shall publish in at least 1 newspaper of general circulation in the city a notice stating: (i) the times and places where entire copies of the capital improvements program are available for inspection by the public; and, (ii) the date, time and place of a public hearing on the plan to be held by the city council not less than 14 days after publication of the notice.
Adoption - At any time after the public hearing but before the first day of the last month of the current fiscal year, the city council shall by resolution adopt the capital improvements program, which may be amended, provided that each amendment shall be voted on separately and that an increase in the capital improvements program as submitted shall clearly identify the method of financing to accomplish the proposed increase.
The city council shall annually provide for an outside audit of the books and accounts of the city to be conducted by a certified public accountant or a firm of certified public accountants, which has no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the city or any of its officers. The mayor shall annually provide to the city council a sum of money sufficient to satisfy the estimated cost of conducting the audit as presented to the mayor, in writing, by the city council. The award of a contract to audit shall be made by the city council on or before September 15 of each year. The clerk of the council shall coordinate the work of the individual or firm selected. The report of the audit shall be filed in final form with the city council not later than March 1 in the year following its award.
Except as otherwise provided by law, no official of the city of Northampton shall knowingly and intentionally expend in a fiscal year sums in excess of the appropriations, awards, grants or gifts duly made in accordance with law or involve the city in any contract for the future payment of money in excess of these appropriations, awards, grants or gifts. It is the intention of this section that section 31 of chapter 44 of the General Laws shall be strictly enforced. Any official who violates this section shall be personally liable to the city for any amounts so expended to the extent that the city does not recover these amounts from the person to whom the sums were paid.