Vermont town meeting is direct democracy practiced in its purest form. It is the key to town government, as voters assemble to discuss issues, debate budgets, air grievances, elect officers, and determine the town and school district business for the coming year.
There are two types of town meetings: annual town meeting and special town meeting. For annual town meeting, Vermont law stipulates that “a meeting of the legal voters of each town shall be held annually on the first Tuesday of March for the election of officers and the transaction of other business, and it may be adjourned to another date.” 17 V.S.A. § 2640(a). The law also allows for towns to vote to start its annual meeting on any of the three days immediately preceding the first Tuesday in March. 17 V.S.A. § 2640(b).
A “special” town meeting is a meeting of a town held on some day other than its annual meeting. The legislative body may call a special town meeting whenever it deems necessary but must call a special town meeting upon the valid petition of 5% of the registered voters so long as the subject of the petition is one over which the voters have been given authority by Vermont State law. 17 V.S.A. § 2643(a).
The legislative body of a municipality is responsible for drafting and posting the warning and notice for annual and special town meetings.
To help you prepare for this important day in Vermont local government, the Municipal Assistance Center (MAC) maintains this webpage that includes general information, models and templates, and FAQs on a variety of Town Meeting topics. Please refer to our downloadable town meeting resources at the bottom of this page. MAC is also available to assist town officials with any town meeting-related questions. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-649-7915.