Town Treasurer

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The town treasurer is elected for either a one-year or, if the town so votes, a three-year term. 17 V.S.A. § 2646(3). Approximately 180 treasurers are also the clerks for their municipalities.

The treasurer also serves as school district treasurer unless the district has voted otherwise. 16 V.S.A. § 426.

The town may vote to have the treasurer collect current taxes. 32 V.S.A. § 4791. Whether or not the treasurer actually collects the taxes, when the bills are prepared, the treasurer credits the general, highway and school funds (24 V.S.A. § 1524), and debits the general funds as taxes are received (24 V.S.A. § 1526). Current taxes include all municipal taxes and, under Act 60, non-residential school property taxes. If the amount collected in non-residential school property taxes is higher than the school budget, the treasurer shall turn the excess over to the state, half on December 1 and half on June 1. 16 V.S.A. § 428(e). School taxes on declared homesteads are paid directly to the state Department of Taxes. 32 V.S.A. § 5403.

The treasurer shall keep accounts of the money, bonds, notes and evidences of debt paid or delivered to him or her and of all monies paid out. 24 V.S.A. § 1571.

The treasurer also shall pay all orders (warrants) drawn by the selectboard and shall keep records thereof. 24 V.S.A. § 1576.

The treasurer must work closely with both the selectboard (which has the authority to draw orders or warrants, borrow in anticipation of taxes, develop the budget and make investment decisions) and with the auditors (who will annually review the finances of the town and report to the voters on the financial status of the town). The statutes in this area are vague and archaic, and have caused more than one confrontation among the selectboard, treasurer and auditors about their proper roles.