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Encyclopedia > Open town meeting

An Open Town Meeting is a form of municipal legislature, typical in the New England region of the United States. While the states marked in red show the core of New England, the regions cultural influence may cover a greater or lesser area than shown. ...

Open Town Meetings are required of Massachusetts towns with fewer than 6,000 residents and optional for those with 6,000 or more residents. The Board of Selectmen will call the town meeting by issuing the warrant, which is the list of items--known as articles--to be voted on, with descriptions of each article. The Moderator officiates the meeting by reading each article, explaining it, and making sure the rules of parliamentary procedure are followed. He/she interprets voice votes and counts other votes. The Finance Committee makes recommendations on articles dealing with money, and often drafts the proposed budget. The Town Clerk serves as the clerk of the meeting by recording its results. Town Counsel makes legal recommendations on all articles of the warrant, to ensure town meeting is acting lawfully. All registered voters are free to attend and vote on any and all articles. The Board of Selectmen is commonly the executive arm of town government in New England. ... Warrant has several meanings: In law, a warrant is a form of authorization, such as A writ issued by a judge. ... The Board of Finance (also called Budget Committee, Finance Committee and Ways and Means Committee in different parts of New England) is an elected or appointed body that reviews town or school government budgets in towns or school districts that have the town meeting form of government. ...

Open Town Meetings function largely the same as a Representative Town Meeting, except that all registered voters can participate or vote. A Representative Town Meeting is a form of municipal legislature used in Massachusetts. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
Town meeting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2068 words)
Town meeting is a form of local government commonly practiced in the U.S. region of New England, but uncommon elsewhere in the United States.
Between sessions the board of selectmen interprets the policy set at Town Meeting and is assigned numerous duties including: approving all town non-school expenditures, authorizing highway construction and repair, serving as town purchasing agent for non-school items, issuing licenses and overseeing the conduct of all town activities.
Day-to-day operations of cities and towns are governed by a town council or selectboard, which is fully empowered to act on most issues, but all town budgets (and those of other independent taxing authorities) must be approved by plebiscite; explaining the board's budget request to the voters is the principal business of Town Meeting.
Maine Municipal Association - Citizen's Guide to Town Meeting - Ten questions you’ve always wanted to ask. (3229 words)
Town Meeting serves many of the same functions as the Legislature in Augusta and the Congress in Washington, passing laws and adopting a budget.
Some say Town Meeting is the "purest form of democracy," because citizens, not their representatives, participate directly in the making of their laws and the raising and spending of their taxes.
Towns that collect taxes only once a year are the greatest users of this; towns that have two tax collections a year and therefore an earlier flow of cash into the town coffers, usually do not have to rely on hired money.
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