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Photo of the Participatory Budgeting booth

The primary responsibility of the Budget Department is to prepare the annual operating and capital budgets for submission by the City Manager to the City Council as required by Chapter 44 of the Massachusetts General Laws. In order to produce a fiscally sound budget for an upcoming fiscal year, it is necessary to consistently monitor and analyze the activities of the current fiscal year as well as those of prior fiscal years to detect trends in both revenue and expenditure categories which may have an impact on future budgets.

The Budget Department is also involved in the preparation of official statements and other related documents for bond sales, calculation of the tax rate, grant reconciliations, CPA analyses, maintaining the computerized benchmark system, preparation of financial statements, which are the basis for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), and the preparation of appropriation and transfer recommendations. The above-mentioned documents have a direct impact on the City's budget and it is essential that they be prepared in a timely and efficient manner. Office staff continually work with each department and members of the public providing financial information and advice.

Explore the FY25 Submitted Budget

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City's Bond Rating

The major financial rating agencies in the country (Moody's, Standard and Poor's, and Fitch Ratings) have concluded that the City's finances are in the top tier of communities throughout the United States. This AAA rating from all three agencies is a significant accomplishment for the City and it reflects a great deal of hard work and discipline on the part of the Administration, the City Council, and the Finance Department. In their latest rating, Standard and Poor’s affirmed its Financial Management Assessment (FMA) of the City as “strong.” An FMA of “strong” indicates that practices are strong, well embedded, and likely sustainable.

Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting is a democratic process through which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

In the PB9 cycle, 8,707 Cambridge residents age 12 and older voted to decide how to spend $1,065,000 on capital projects to improve the community – the most votes yet in a PB process in Cambridge.

The following 8 projects won $1,065,000 in FY24 Capital Funding:

  1. Trees for Danehy Park and Cambridge ($100,000)
  2. Technology for Youth Centers ($250,000)
  3. Look and Listen: Safer Crossing for Cambridge ($180,000)
  4. Smart Recycling and Trash Compactors ($40,000)
  5. Electric Vehicle Charging Stations ($250,000)
  6. E-cargo Bikes for Watering Trees ($25,000)
  7. More Outdoor Public Wi-fi ($100,000)
  8. Three New Public Art Murals ($120,000)

Want to submit an idea or get involved? Check out our Participatory Budgeting website.


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