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Town Meetings



SECTION 1. Warrants for all Town Meetings shall be served by posting attested copies thereof in four or more public places in the Town, fourteen (14) days at least before the day appointed for said meeting, one in each Precinct: Precinct A - Town Hall, 17 Main Street, Precinct B - Whalom Variety Store 423 Electric Avenue in the Whalom-Bakerville District, Precinct C - Powell Stone & Gravel Co. Inc., 225 Leominster-Shirley Road, Precinct D - Centre Pizza & Variety, 1383 Massachusetts Avenue.. The warrant for any Town Meeting, with report and recommendation of the Finance Committee (required by Section 2 of Article XII of these by-laws), shall be mailed by the Board of Selectmen to each dwelling unit in the Town in which a registered voter resides, at least fourteen (14) days prior to such meeting. The warrant for the Annual Town Election shall be included in the mailing for the Annual Town Meeting. ( 5/3/03 )

SECTION 2. The Annual Town Meeting shall be held on the first Saturday in May commencing at 9:00 A.M. and all required reports shall be made at that time.
The Annual Town Election shall be held on the third Saturday in May commencing at 7:00 A.M. and ending at 5:00 P.M.

SECTION 3. All requests for the insertion of subjects in the warrant for the Annual Meeting shall be submitted on or before 4:00 P.M. on the 42nd day before the date of the Annual Meeting. The requests shall be filed in the office of the Selectmen and the date of filing shall be noted on the request. No subject, the insertion of which is requested after the time herein designated, shall be inserted in the warrant.

SECTION 4. On matters requiring a two thirds vote by statute a count need not be taken unless the vote so declared is immediately questioned by seven or more voters as provided in MGL Chapter 39, Section 15. ( 10/21/97 )

SECTION 5. Any Town Meeting is required to take place not less than fourteen (14) days prior and not more than thirty (30) days prior to any Town Election. ( 11/6/01 )



The legislative powers of the town shall be exercised by a town meeting open to all voters. 

The town moderator, elected as provided in section 3-8, shall preside at all sessions of the town meeting. Annually, at the first session of the spring town meeting, the town moderator shall appoint a deputy moderator to serve as acting moderator in the event of the temporary absence or disability of the town moderator. The appointment of a deputy moderator shall be subject to ratification by the town meeting. The deputy moderator shall, when presiding at town meeting sessions, have all of the powers of the town moderator, but shall have no other powers or duties of the town moderator.
The town moderator, at town meetings, shall regulate the proceedings, decide all questions of order, make public declaration of all votes and may exercise such additional powers and duties as may be authorized by general law, this charter, by-law or other vote of the town meeting.

(a) In General - Subject to the provisions of this charter and such by-laws or other town meeting votes regarding committees as may be provided, the town moderator shall appoint for fixed terms the members of such committees of the town meeting, special or standing, as may from time to time be established. In addition to such specific powers, duties and responsibilities as may be provided to a town meeting committee by the by-law or vote establishing it, each such committee, when acting within the scope of its authority, shall have a right to examine the pertinent records of any town agency and to consult, at reasonable times, with any town officer, employee or agent.
(b) Finance Committee - Composition, Term of Office - There shall be a finance committee that shall consist of 7 members appointed for terms of 3 years each so arranged that the terms of as nearly an equal number of members as is possible shall expire each year. The members shall be appointed by a committee consisting of: 1 member of the board of selectmen chosen by the board of selectmen; 1 member of the school committee chosen by the school committee; and the town moderator.
(c) Powers and Duties-
(1) The finance committee shall have the primary responsibility to report to town meeting on the proposed budget of the town manager and all warrant articles having a fiscal impact on the town, as more particularly detailed in the charter, town by-laws, and the laws of the commonwealth; before preparing its final recommendations, the finance committee shall hold 1 or more public hearings to permit public discussion on the subject matter of the articles contained in the warrant.
(2) After the town manager has prepared the budget, the finance committee shall consult with the town manager and recommend any modifications it deems appropriate before the budget is filed with the town clerk.
(3) The finance committee shall have all other powers conferred on finance committees by the General Laws.

The annual town meeting shall be held during April or May, on a date fixed by by-law.

Special town meetings may be held at the call of the board of selectmen at such times as such board may deem necessary or desirable in order to transact the legislative business of the town in an orderly manner. Special town meetings may also be held on the petition of 200 or more voters, in the manner provided by the general laws. The town clerk shall make forms for the calling of a special town meeting available to voters, upon request. 

Every town meeting shall be called by a warrant issued by the board of selectmen which shall state the time and place at which the meeting is to convene and, by separate articles, the subject matter to be acted upon. The publication of the warrant for every town meeting shall be in accordance with the town by-laws.

(a) Initiation - The board of selectmen shall receive at any time all petitions addressed to it and which request the submission of any matter to the town meeting and which are filed by any 10 voters for the annual town meeting and any 100 voters for a special town meeting.
(b) Referral - Forthwith following receipt of any proposed warrant article the board of selectmen shall cause a copy of the proposal to be mailed to the residence of the chairperson of the finance committee, a copy to be posted on the town bulletin board and shall cause such other distribution to be made of each such proposal as may be required by law or by-law.
(c) Inclusion on Warrant - The board of selectmen shall close the warrant for a regular town meeting on the date established by by-law for such closing preceding the date on which the town meeting is scheduled, by by-law, to convene. The board of selectmen shall not include in any such warrant the subject matter of any petition which has been received by it after said day nor shall any matter originating with it be included after said date. 
Whenever a special town meeting is to be called, the board of selectmen shall give notice by publication in a local newspaper of its intention and shall notify all town agencies of its intention to do so. The board of selectmen shall include in the warrant for such special town meeting the subject matter of all petitions which are received at its office on or before 5 o'clock in the afternoon of the fifth business day following such publication which are in conformity with the provisions of section 2-7 (a) and which specifically request that the subject matter be included on the warrant for said special town meeting.

Every town officer, the chairperson of each multiple member body, the head of each department and the head of each division within the departments shall attend all sessions of the town meeting at which warrant articles pertinent to their agency are or may be acted upon for the purpose of providing the town meeting with information pertinent to all such matters as appear in the warrant for the town meeting.
In the event any town officer, chairperson of a multiple member body, department head or division head is to be absent due to illness or other reasonable cause, such person shall designate a deputy to attend to represent the office, multiple member body, department or division. If any person designated to attend the town meeting under this section is not a voter, such person shall, notwithstanding, have a right to address the meeting for the purpose of compliance with this section unless a majority of the town meeting shall vote to deny such person this privilege.

The town clerk shall serve as clerk of the town meeting, give notice of all adjourned sessions thereof, record its proceedings and perform such additional duties in connection therewith as may be provided by the general laws, this charter, by-law or other town meeting vote.

The town meeting may, by by-law, establish and from time to time amend, revise or repeal rules to govern the conduct of all town meetings.

All powers of the town, except as otherwise provided by law or this charter, shall be vested in the town meeting. The town meeting shall provide for the exercise of all of the powers of the town and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed upon the town for which no other provision is made in this charter or by by-law.

Last Updated: Wed, 10/03/2018 - 10:11pm