A Citizen's Guide to the Budget

The Budget Guide is designed to provide an overview of how the annual municipal budget is developed and how the Town raises revenue and spends funds. The annual budget development is an open process and we hope residents will find this information helpful in furthering their understanding of the budget as well as increasing participation in the annual budget process. Please feel free to contact the Town Administrator's office if you would like more information.

What is the Annual Town Budget?

The budget is the Town’s annual income and spending plan that serves as a roadmap for the delivery of services to the residents of Brewster. The budget provides a detailed account of planned spending and breaks down the priority for how funds are allocated between Town departments and program areas.

What is the Process for Developing the Annual Budget?

The development of the Town budget is a collaborative effort between the Town Administrator, Assistant Town Administrator, Finance Director, and members of the Select Board, the Finance Committee, the Brewster Elementary Schools, the Nauset Regional School District, and the Cape Cod Technical Regional High School.

How is the Municipal Budget Developed?

In the late Fall of each year, Town departments review programs and services and begin to estimate how much the Town will have to spend to operate the Town in the 12 months beginning July 1 of the following year. Around the same time, the Finance Team develops and presents a 5-year Financial Forecast to the Select Board and Finance Committee that establishes financial parameters and other policy direction related to strategic organizational goals for the upcoming fiscal year year. The Town Administrator and Finance Director work with the Town departments to determine how much it will cost to maintain or enhance the services expected by residents and businesses. The level of service that the Town can provide is ultimately limited by how much revenue the Town expects to receive in the fiscal year. The Town Administrator's proposed budget, which includes the revenues the Town can expect along with the proposed expenditures from the Town departments, is then presented to the Select Board and Finance Committee for their review and consideration.

What is the Finance Committee’s Role?

The total proposed budget is submitted by the Town Administrator to the Finance Committee and Select Board in a joint meeting. The Finance Committee is responsible for preparing recommendations on the budget for the Town warrant. During the months of January through March of each year, the Finance Committee meets jointly with the Select Board to hold public budget hearings and informational meetings with department heads, the Finance Team, Superintendent of Schools, and any other boards and groups that may be deemed appropriate. Public input is also taken during these hearings. At the conclusion of its budget work, the Finance Committee votes on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year budget (July 1 – June 30) with recommendations to Town Meeting through the town warrant book.

Making Your Voice Heard

The budget process is complex and challenging. Difficult decisions must be made to put together a budget that supports important services but doesn’t raise taxes to levels that are unacceptable or burdensome for taxpayers. There are a number of ways that you can tell Town officials your budget priorities and how you want your tax dollars spent. Citizen input is vital and all you need is the interest and willingness to take the time to participate in the process. You can do this by attending public hearings and Town Meetings or sending your ideas and comments to the Town Administrator, Select Board, Superintendent of Schools, School Committee, Finance Committee, Department Heads and other elected or appointed officials. You don’t need to be a finance or public policy expert to participate in the process. The most important thing is to be heard on issues that will affect the quality of life for you, your family, and your neighbors in Brewster.


The Town of Brewster's budget is a financial guide for citizens and staff. The purpose of this document is to communicate the initiatives authorized by the Select Board and enacted by the Town Administrator. This document accounts for Brewster’s anticipated income from various revenue sources and how these resources are to be used during the fiscal year. The reader will also find background information such as how the organization is structured and other pertinent statistical data about Brewster. The budget document is organized into these sections:

INTRODUCTION: This section starts with the Town Administrator's budget message, which concisely communicates Select Board and Town Administration policies and priorities driving the budget process and highlights major changes and key initiatives included in the FY2023 budget. This section also includes other introductory material and high-level budget summaries, and a budget calendar.

SECTION I - FINANCIAL SUMMARY: This section includes summaries of the FY2023 operating budgets, including summary revenue estimates and analysis. It includes details on major cost centers such as debt service.

SECTION II - ACCOUNTS: Departments are organized within functions: General Government, Public Safety, Public Works, Human Services, Culture & Recreation and Miscellaneous. These pages provide detail at the Department level regarding department description, mission, expenditure level, and goals. This section summarizes the financial plans and planned expenditures for the department's operating budgets.

SECTION III - INTERGOVERNMENTAL: This section includes information on local and state assessments.

SECTION IV - CAPITAL PROJECTS: This section outlines the financial plan and planned expenditures for the Town's capital projects.