"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, February 3, 2017

Municipal Budget Law

As the 2017 Budget Public Hearing is coming next Thursday, I would like to clarify what is required and what is not.  Municipal Budget Law ( RSA 32) requires that a public hearing be held for the proposed budget and any warrant articles ( including petitioned articles) that seek an appropriation. They are called " special" warrant articles.
Petitioned warrant articles that do not include any appropriation, do not require a public hearing.


Joseph Cormier said...

Petitioned warrant articles do not require public notice, nor public hearing. However, the NHMA suggests they be included for public discourse. The only requirement for mandatory inclusion into the warrant for a petitioned article is the minimum number of voter signatures. The town website, on the front page, has, preliminary, Town election day/meeting day resources. It also has RSA 39:3, which is the recognized legal source for the "right" of a petitioned article be voted on at town meeting.

NHMA references RSA 32:5 I,V for petition discussion.


It would help move along the town meeting as well. Like the recent amendment to town policy #33, and the three minute rule. I don't recall if the new rule pertains to Public Hearings, as opposed to regularly scheduled business meetings of the Select Board.

I'm not stating I'm in favor, nor, not in favor, of a three minute rule. Many towns have time limits. What I will state is time limits force a conciseness and clarity to questions.

Maybe the town moderator will suggest a 3-5 minute rule at town meeting? The same reasonig applies to this sample of democracy!

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to understand why so many of the budget items on the town web site state "Coming Soon". With a budget hearing scheduled for Thursday, there are only 2 days left for any information to be made available to the public...now not even 48 hours advance information. Why the delays ? It is totally unreasonable for all the information to be still "Coming Soon". The public hearing should be postponed because ALL info is not available. Wonder what excuses will be forthcoming.....? And where is the list of who at least turned in papers for local elected office, even if candidates are not fully certified as of yet ? More delays ??? Someone isn't minding the store....!!!!!!

Moultonboro Blogger said...

The final proposed budget for the warrant is on the website and has been for a week: http://www.moultonboroughnh.gov/sites/moultonboroughnh/files/uploads/proposed_budget_2017.pdf
That is what will be on the warrant for town meeting. The BoS have no control over the ABC reports and only one of the three listed pertain to the town.

As to who filed for office, that is a Town Clerk function, not BoS. Nothing to do with the budget hearing.

Anonymous said...

Guess we have another definition issue. I know that there is some data on the website, but it is only high level macro data. No details. If you think, for example, posting a line item for Highway of over a million dollars without any details satisfies supporting data, then we do indeed have an information issue as to what constitutes a budget review.