Collins Center Reports

Financial Management Model Practices Developed

In 2016, the Town of Topsfield received a Community Compact Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to develop Financial Management Best Practices in the areas of Fiscal Forecasting, Capital Improvement Planning and Financial Policies.

Working with the Commonwealth and the Department of Revenue's Division of Local Services, the $35,000 Community Compact grant allowed the Town to engage the services of consultants from the Edward J. Collins Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  The partnership between the Commonwealth, Collins Center and the Town of Topsfield resulted in the publication of three draft documents that will be further refined and utilized by elected and appointed Town Officials with the members of the Financial Management Team.  Under the appointment and leadership of the Board of Selectmen, the Town's five member Financial Management Team includes the Town Administrator, Town Accountant, Treasurer Collector, Principle Assessor and Purchasing Agent. 

The Collins Center Staff formally presented the final document, Comprehensive Financial Policies, at a Joint Meeting of the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted to have the Town Administrator appoint a task force and five member working group to further develop and refine the Town's draft financial policies and fiscal guidelines for formal adoption by the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee. 

Coordinated by the Town Administrator, Kellie Hebert, the five member Financial Policies Guidelines working group consists of five members: one (1) member of the Board of Selectmen, Selectman Mark Lyons; two (2) members of the Finance Committee including Chair Karen Dow and Vice Chair Jon Guido; the Town Accountant Catherine Gabriel and the Treasurer Collector Barbara Michalowski.

The working group meets bi-weekly. It is anticipated that an updated Financial Policy Guidelines document will be ready for formal adoption by the respective public bodies by January or February.  The timeline will allow the guidelines to utilized and integrated within the FY2019 Budget Planning and deliberation process.  

For more information, contact the Town Administrator's Office at 978-887-1500 or via email at