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Mayor, City Councilor to Submit Proposed Financial Policy Manual to Holyoke Council

Posted on August 2, 2023

HOLYOKE — In an effort to get the City’s financial departments on the same page — literally —  Mayor Joshua A. Garcia recently commissioned a Financial Policy Manual to address planning and day-to-day operations. The manual initiative aligns with frequently articulated Council wishes.

The 99-page guidebook (click to review copy) created by the state’s Division of Local Services, is now complete. The next step is submission to the Holyoke City Council. The City Auditor, City Treasurer, the Personnel Director, the Tax Collector, and At-Large Councilor Kevin A. Jourdain assisted in the development of the manual. Councilor Jourdain will present the document to the Council.

Jourdain said the financial policies established in the manual need to become City ordinances. He said the goal is to codify best practices for the offices of tax collector, treasurer, auditor and assessor so that they remain in effect irrespective of who is mayor or who is serving on the City Council. Mayor Garcia agreed with Jourdain’s assessment.

The Introduction to the manual affirmed the wisdom of an approach that would “bring together the city’s siloed financial management functions of accounting, assessing, treasury, and collecting under one centralized organizational framework. This singular point of contact and oversight for financial management is needed for a community the size and complexity of Holyoke to give the elected policy makers an opportunity to implement the core financial management practices detailed in these policies, including capital planning, financial forecasting, and budgeting.”

Garcia said the guidelines, metrics and benchmarks spelled out in the manual are drawn from state regulations and best practices. Once confirmed by the City Council, they will become municipal law enshrined in the City ordinances.

The Mayor said the Council has “expressed a strong desire” for the City to establish consistent, strategic fiscal management. He said he welcomed that interest, noting that he had campaigned on a promise to improve internal controls to safeguard the City’s finances, capital assets and bond rating.

“We’re keeping that promise,” he said.  Councilor Jourdain agreed with Mayor Garcia, “I would like to thank Mayor Garcia, Mass Department of Revenue Local Services, and our various key department heads in helping to get us to this point.  I appreciate their leadership and hard work.  I look forward to my colleagues and I in reviewing these important policies and getting these codified into our ordinances.  This is really important for our future financial strength as a city that also gives our residents the type of government they deserve.”

The public is invited to review and offer comments. To review, visit: 

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