The Massachusetts Division of Local Services (DLS) provides a variety of data about Massachusetts municipalities, along with other financial visualizations and tools for local governments to use.
One useful comparison is where towns and cities spend their budget, especially when looking at roughly comparable municipalities. Comparable towns to Arlington (Belmont, Brookline, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Natick, Needham, North Andover, Reading, Stoneham, Watertown, Winchester) are defined in the Town Manager’s Annual Reports. See also a listing of comparable towns websites - with school, police, budget, and more links about each town or city.
Town Expenses By Department
This data is drawn from the DLS’ Schedule A figures, which all towns report to the state annually, breaking down expenditures and revenues in broad categories. Note that this is not a completely accurate comparison, because there are some minor expenses that different towns may book under different categories. For example, depending on the town, costs for Crossing Guards may be in the Education budget, or may be in the Police budget category. Similarly, various insurance costs for town employees are sometimes included in a general budget, vs. in departmental budgets. Nonetheless, it’s can still be useful to consider overall comparisons across a towns.
Where Arlington’s Budget Goes By Department
For a more in depth look, see Arlington Visual Budget.
Where Comparable Town Budgets Go By Department
Download this data as a CSV spreadsheet, or find the original source data on mass.gov as reported using standard classifications from the MA Department of Revenue. Or simply view the spreadsheet here!