What role should the Selectmen play in the budget process?

As the chief executive body of the town, selectmen develop and implement policy. It is important that they develop consistent budget guidelines, at the same time taking into consideration the available financial resources of the municipality. Because the budget is probably the single most important policy document a town develops each year, participation by the selectmen is essential to their maintaining a leadership role in the town. The selectmen should have input concerning the budgets format, they should review all budget requests and develop a good understanding of the finance committee's position on the budget. The selectmen, in cooperation with the finance committee, should also establish policy priorities and provide leadership in the constant debate between the needs of municipal departments (for sufficient resources to deliver public services) and the needs of the taxpayers (to receive adequate services at a cost they can afford).