Selectpersons

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Either three or five selectpersons serve overlapping terms of between one and three years. One of three is elected to a three-year term each year. 17 V.S.A. § 2646(4). A town may vote to add two more selectpersons (for a total of five), each serving one- or two-year terms. 17 V.S.A. § 2650.

Selectpersons are responsible for general supervision of the affairs of town and shall cause to be performed all duties required of the town not committed by law to the care of any particular officer. 24 V.S.A. § 872.

The selectboard may enact ordinances and rules (24 V.S.A. § 1972) in many areas including traffic regulation, regulating nuisances, managing solid waste, dogs and recreation, and establishing bike paths (24 V.S.A. § 2291). Many of these are listed in 24 V.S.A. § 2291, but others are scattered throughout the statutes.

The selectboard warns all town meetings and specifies business to be conducted at the meeting, including proposing an annual budget — an enormous job! 17 V.S.A. §§ 2641, 2642, 2663, 2664.

If the town does not set the tax rate, the selectboard must set a tax rate that will raise the specific amount voted at town meeting. 17 V.S.A. § 2664. On the school side, the selectboard "shall determine each taxpayer’s local share property tax amount [emphasis added]" after the Commissioner of Education determines the district’s local share property tax percentage and notifies the selectboard by June 30. This local share property tax is levied over and above the statewide education property tax.

The selectboard is responsible for hiring, directing, and firing almost all town employees (24 V.S.A. § 872) unless the town has a Town Manager form of government; for setting salaries if voters do not do so at town meeting (24 V.S.A. §§ 932–933); and for establishing and enforcing personnel policies (24 V.S.A. §§ 1121–1122).

The selectboard must authorize all town expenditures by signing orders for the treasurer to draw town funds. 19 V.S.A. § 303; 24 V.S.A. §§ 1621–1623.

The selectboard supervises the expenditure of the highway fund and has charge of keeping town highways in repair. 19 V.S.A. §§ 301–306. It also is responsible for laying out, classifying and discontinuing town roads. 19 V.S.A. Chapters 7 and 9.

The selectboard is responsible for all animal control. 20 V.S.A. §§ 3341–3813.

The selectboard may borrow money for periods of less than a year in anticipation of taxes. 24 V.S.A. § 1786.

The selectboard shall fill all town vacancies until an election is held. 24 V.S.A. § 963.

The selectboard may license many operations within the town (e.g., liquor sales, restaurants, junkyards and entertainment). Numerous citations.

The selectboard appoints several minor town offices (e.g., fence viewers, pound keepers, inspector of lumber and tree warden). 24 V.S.A. § 871.

The selectboard appoints and removes planning commissioners unless the town has voted to elect them. 24 V.S.A. § 4323. Selectpersons serve as ex-officio planning commission members in "rural towns." 24 V.S.A. § 4322. (A "rural town" is a town with a population of less than 2,500 or a town with a population of at least 2,500 but less than 5,000 which has voted by Australian ballot to be considered a rural town. 24 V.S.A. § 4303(10).)

The selectboard adopts the town plan unless the town votes to adopt it by Australian ballot (24 V.S.A. § 4385); holds a public hearing on proposed zoning bylaws (24 V.S.A. § 4404); and adopts zoning bylaws in "urban municipalities" (24 V.S.A. § 4404). (An "urban municipality" is a city, an incorporated village, or any town which is not a rural town. 24 V.S.A. § 4303(10).)

The selectboard appoints police officers and municipal fire department officers. 24 V.S.A. §§ 1931, 1953.

The selectboard appoints and may remove a town manager when a town has voted to adopt such form of government. 24 V.S.A. §§ 1232–1233.

The selectboard purchases all insurance for the town. 24 V.S.A. § 1092.

The selectboard requires certain town officers to obtain a bond and sets the amount necessary. 24 V.S.A. § 832.

The selectboard regulates and issues certificates for junkyards. 24 V.S.A. §§ 2241–2242.

The selectboard controls cemeteries if there is not a cemetery commission. 18 V.S.A. §§ 5367, 5381.

Selectboard members serve as members of the Board of Civil Authority. 24 V.S.A. § 801.

The selectboard has other miscellaneous regulatory powers. 24 V.S.A. § 2291.

See VLCT’s Handbook for Vermont Selectboards for more information.