Town meeting is the one occasion during the year when voters come together to chart their town’s future for the coming year. Most, but not all, annual town meetings are held the first Tuesday in March. At town meeting voters must:
- Elect municipal officers (17 V.S.A. § 2646);
- Decide whether additional offices will be filled by election (17 V.S.A. §§ 2646, 2649, 2650, 2651);
- Approve municipal budgets (17 V.S.A. § 2664); and
- Approve long-term capital borrowing or bonding by the town (24 V.S.A. §§ 1751–1788).
- At town meeting voters may:
- Fill vacancies in elective offices (24 V.S.A. § 962);
- Adopt a school budget (16 V.S.A. § 562);
- Approve zoning bylaws (24 V.S.A. § 4404);
- Override ordinances approved by the selectboard (24 V.S.A. § 1973); and
- Approve charter changes, subject to legislative approval (17 V.S.A. § 2645).
Voters at town meeting have several responsibilities in addition to those listed above. Town meeting is also a good time to catch up on a town’s priorities, meet neighbors, hear about roads and legislation, etc.
At town meeting voters may not:
- Take action on an improperly warned article or any unwarned matter;
- Do things that are the responsibility of specific town officers (voters may advise town officers, but the officers do not have to take the advice);
- Instruct town officers how to do their jobs;
- Remove officers; or
- Conduct business which is not proper and appropriate, or which is useless, frivolous or unlawful.
See VLCT’s Vermont Town Meeting Handbook for further details.