NORWICH FINANCE COMMITTEE CHARGE
The Norwich Finance Committee (NFC), appointed by the Norwich Selectboard, is
comprised of seven Norwich residents who neither receive compensation from the Town,
School Districts or Supervisory Union nor have spouses that do so. These seven along
with the seven appointed members of the Hanover Finance Committee comprise the
Finance Committee for the Dresden School District.1
The NFC provides advice in the creation of annual budgets for the Town of Norwich, the
Norwich School District and, together with the Hanover Finance Committee, the Dresden
School District. The NFC researches budgets, policies, contracts, and practices that affect
Norwich town and school finances. It renders nonbinding advisory recommendations
about costs, benefits and financial options, based on economic factors and principles.
The NFC elects a Chair, Vice-chair and Secretary from among its members. Vacancies
on the NFC are filled by appointment of the Selectboard. Members of the NFC serve
Adopted by the Norwich Selectboard April 11, 2012
1 http://sau70.org/policies/DresPolRegAB/Articles_of_Agreement_revised%2012‐17‐01.pdf: The
Dresden Finance Committee shall have the same duties and responsibilities with respect to the
budget of the Dresden School District as the Hanover and Norwich Finance Committees have with
respect to the budgets of their respective towns and school districts.
Page 2 of 4
2. Guidance to the Committee
2.1 Skill Set
The following set of skills would allow the Norwich Finance Committee to provide
beneficial advice. The collective Committee membership would ideally:
Research on-line material.
Follow national economic conditions and trends.
Understand both town and school business practices, E.G. services provided,
staffing levels, reserve funds, special education funding, etc.
Understand how taxes are determined from budgets and the Grand List for both
town and school.
Analyze financial material using on-line sources and spreadsheets.
Develop useful town and school financial recommendations
2.2 Budgetary Advice to Boards and Voters
The NFC has three major phases during which it should render advice, prior to the
formulation of town and school budgets, during budget deliberations, and prior to the
public votes on the budgets. At a minimum, the NFC should obtain the data necessary to
offer advice germane to the formulation or approval of budgets.
2.2.1 Budgetary Indicators prior to Budget Formulation
The purpose of budgetary indicators is to help the Norwich Selectboard and the
respective school boards develop budgets that are likely to pass by a substantial majority
of the voters, being neither too expensive nor too lean. The NFC offers indicators as a
service, not as a mandate for compliance.
The NFC may provide the following data collection and analysis, which may provide
useful input to the Selectboard and School Board prior to budget deliberations:
Ability to pay – Identify indices that represent the health of the local economy and
affect the community’s ability to pay taxes.
Change of cost index – Identify appropriate cost indices that reflect municipal or
educational costs. This allows an estimate of a budget that maintains the current
level of services.
Budgetary headroom – Identify budgetary values that would maintain the current
municipal and education tax level on a given property.
Page 3 of 4
2.2.2 Budgetary Deliberations
During budgetary deliberations of the Selectboard and school boards, the NFC may
assess how the budget is progressing against the above indicators. Additionally, NFC
members may identify budgetary items that might be performed in a more cost-effective
manner and call them to the attention of the board in open meeting.
2.2.3 Budgetary Advice to Voters
It is up to the voters to decide whether the budget is affordable to them. Accordingly, the
NFC should provide statements to voters on the town and school budgets, which may
indicate how the proposed budgets compare with the latest budgetary indicators and how
any change in expected property taxes compares with those same indices.
2.2.4 Other Assignments
The Selectboard or Norwich School Board may ask the NFC to review specific issues,
pertaining to its financial policies and investment options.
2.3 Budget Reporting Points
In assessing the appropriateness of proposed budgetary items, the Norwich Finance
Committee may consider the following:
Does the budgetary item benefit the community? If voters have supported it in
the past, that’s a solid indication. If it’s a new capability, what was the tenor of
remarks in public discussions?
Is the budgetary item affordable? If voters have supported the item, that’s an
indication. The NFC looks at future trends of voter finances and budgetary costs
to predict affordability. The NFC seeks budgetary proposals that are likely to
achieve a substantial majority when voted upon.
Is the budget sustainable? Even if the voters have supported the budgeted level
of service in the past, budgets may face future decreases in sources of non-tax
income and collateral support from state sources, such as aid to education,
pension fund balances and income sensitivity. The NFC uses research into such
matters to advise the public about future prospects for non-tax income and
Is the budgetary item cost-effective? Even if questions 1. and 2. have been
satisfied, the budgetary goods or services may not be offered in a cost-effective
fashion. The NFC uses comparables and documented research on best practices to
Is anyone disadvantaged by adoption of the budgetary item? Just because a
majority of voters approve of budgeted goods or services, doesn’t mean that there
is no adverse impact on some members of the community. The NFC attempts to
identify such impacts and determine their seriousness and means to mitigate them.
Page 4 of 4
2.4 Labor Contract Guideline Development
The NFC may provide labor contract guidelines to the Selectboard and Norwich School
Board in advance of negotiations. In doing so, it may address the following issues:
Compensation Level – A basis for a total compensation package that is sufficient
but not excessive to attract and retain excellent town or school employees.
Compensation Growth Rate – A basis by which to control the growth rate in the
level of total compensation package in a predictable manner over the life of the
The NFC should avoid giving numerical guidelines in advance of or during negotiations,
since these may constrain the ability of management to negotiate.