On October 15, the Board of Selectmen held the first of many budget meetings and, together with the efforts of the Budget Committee, will produce a proposed 2013 Town Budget that will be voted on at Town Meeting in March. (This article does not deal with the Andover School, Fire Department, or Village District budgets.)
State statute RSA 32:1 requires the governing body (the Selectmen and the Budget Committee) to produce a budget outlining in a uniform manner the anticipated income and expense for the following calendar year. Starting in October of this year, both the Selectmen and the Budget Committee will be holding multiple public meetings and hearings, wrapping up at some point in January of 2013. The Budget is formally presented at Town Meeting to the legislative body (the town residents in attendance at Town Meeting).
In addition to the Town Budget, the Selectmen and others will produce several warrant articles to address specific issues outside of the budget. Warrant articles are also used to empower, limit, or rescind authority given to the Board of Selectmen, for example:
- In 1917, Warrant Article 13 passed, putting the Town Green into the hands of Proctor Academy for the purpose of improving and beautifying.
- In 1994, Warrant Article 20 passed, empowering the Selectmen to adopt rules, enforce rules, and administer all solid waste and recycling at the Town facility.
New Hampshire is not a “Home Rule” state; local governments only have the authority granted by the state legislature and the state Constitution. Many of the powers granted to local governments require an enabling warrant article before the local government may act. The two example warrant articles are still in effect and will continue to be until rescinded by Town Meeting.
Over the next 13 weeks, budgets for all Town departments will be established, and budgets for capital projects (roads, bridges, and equipment) will be reviewed and some proposed. Sources of revenue will be identified. Your input is needed and your attendance is requested at the 2013 Town Meeting. Those that show up will decide the 2013 Town Budget.