Work of the Appropriations Committee
Through the winter the Appropriations Committee confers with every department on its proposed budget. Not less than 21 days prior to the annual Town Meeting, the committee holds a public hearing at which each department chairman presents, explains, and defends his / her budget request. This hearing is a chance for Town Meeting members and other citizens to question or challenge specific budget requests before the Appropriations Committee. (Attendance at this hearing is a vivid lesson in town government, and can be a great help in informing Town Meeting members on the full background of budget requests which they will shortly vote upon.) After this hearing the Appropriations Committee formulates its recommendations on the different budgets, based on value and the money the town can afford, and publishes its decisions, often with thoughtful explanations, and mails them to Town Meeting members for study. Although the committee's recommendations are purely advisory, they carry considerable weight.
The Town Warrant is a legal document containing the articles which will be discussed and voted upon at the Town Meeting. It must state the date, place and time of the meeting. The Selectboard have the responsibility for drawing up the Warrant or agenda for Town Meeting. It consists of numbered paragraphs ("articles"), most of which are submitted by the Selectboard. Other articles may be put in at the request of the voters, even a few voters, if the Selectboard approve their content. The Warrant must include any article presented as a formal petition by 10 voters. All articles to be brought up in an annual Town Meeting must be submitted to the Board of Selectboard by 5 p.m., 42 days before the Town Meeting (or by practice, submitted at least 18 days prior to a Special Town Meeting). The Town Counsel verifies that all articles are in good legal form. The Warrant must be posted at least 7 days before Town Meeting at the places listed under "Posting of Ballots". The Warrant is published a week or so before Town Meeting and available from the Town Clerk.