Town Meeting Law

State and Local Town Meeting Law




0101.        The annual meeting for the election of officers and the determination of such matters as shall properly be placed upon the official ballot shall be held on the second Tuesday of April in the several precincts.

0102.        The annual meeting for consideration of all matters not covered by Section 0101. shall be held the first Tuesday in May.

0103.        The business portion of the Annual Town Meeting, as well as any special town meetings, once started shall continue on a continuous nightly basis until all articles have been acted upon excluding Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, (ie. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday nights excluding holidays).

0104. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 102 and 103, in Fiscal Year 2014 the Annual and any Special Town Meeting may be held on a Saturday and continued, if and as needed, to such time, date, and place as Town Meeting shall determine.
Footnote: See Article 40 of 1975 Annual Town Meeting See Article 1 of Special Town Meeting 5/7/74 See Article 6 of Special Town Meeting 5/7/13



0201. The procedure at Town Meetings shall be governed by the rules of practice contained in the most recent edition of “Town Meeting Time, A Handbook of Parliamentary Law” published by the Massachusetts Moderators Association, except as modified by these By-Laws.

0202. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be entertained except to fix a time to which an adjournment may be made; or motions to lay on the table, for the previous question, to commit, to amend, to postpone indefinitely or to fix the method of voting; which several motions shall have precedence in the order in which they are herein named.

0202.1 Speaking on an article. Any person may speak on any article as many times as he shall so choose: but, no person shall speak more than once until everyone wishing to be heard has had the chance to be recognized. The same shall hold true on speaking for the third or fourth time on the same article. Persons who have not spoken at all, or only once, shall have the right to be heard before another may be heard for the third or fourth time, etc.

0202.2 Call for the Question: (Asking for the vote to be taken) may be called by anyone, once they are recognized, and have the floor. The motion must be seconded, and a 2/3 vote is required to pass it. Less than a 2/3 vote means that discussion may continue.

0203. All articles in the warrant shall be taken up in the order of their arrangement, unless otherwise ordered by two-thirds vote.

0204. A motion, if required by the Moderator, shall be reduced to writing before being submitted to the meeting.

0205. On proposed amendments involving sums of money, the largest amount shall be put to the question first, and an affirmative vote thereon shall be a negative vote on any smaller amount.

0206. No motion to adjourn without day shall be in order until all articles in the warrant have been acted upon.

0207. If an article in the warrant is before the meeting and before any motion is offered in relation thereto it is moved "to pass over the article" no other motion shall be in order until action is taken thereon, and an affirmative vote shall preclude further action unless the vote is reconsidered.

0208. No vote shall be reconsidered unless ordered by a two-thirds vote.

0208.1 A motion to rescind, or any other motion shall lead to any reconsideration of a previously passed article or line, shall be treated as a motion to reconsider, and shall require a 2/3 vote.

0209. No motion to reconsider or rescind a vote on an article, line item or any other matter shall be in order unless the intention to move for a reconsideration or rescinding is given within twenty minutes of defeat or passage of the Article and before adjournment of the session.

0210. Any article requesting an appropriation of moneys that is defeated and/or fails to pass after being presented to the Annual Town Meeting shall not be considered at any special town meeting following such annual town meeting until the next annual town meeting, unless petitioned for in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. Chapter 39, Section 10 or unless approved in writing by a 2/3 vote of the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee acting jointly.


0301. The Finance Committee shall hereafter consist of nine members to be appointed by the Moderator, three members to serve for one year, three members for two years and three members for three years, the Moderator to make annual appointments for a term of three years to fill vacancies because of any expired term.

0302. Whenever the warrant for any Town Meeting contains an article or articles under which an appropriation or expenditure of money or the disposal of any property of the town may be made, the Finance Committee shall consider said articles after giving one or more public hearings thereon and shall report its recommendations to the town meeting.

0303. The Finance Committee shall prior to each annual town meeting prepare and distribute to the voters of the town a budget showing in detail, when available, the anticipated expenditures of the town for the coming fiscal year together with its advice and recommendations with reference to the various appropriations of town funds and other municipal matters coming before such town meeting at least one week prior to each town meeting. The Selectmen, School Committee and all departments required to hold public hearings relating to town meeting warrant articles, including budgets, shall hold such hearings and furnish reports thereon to the Finance Committee not less than five (5) weeks prior to the Town Meeting.

0303.1 The Selectmen and all Boards, Committees, Heads of Departments and all other officers of the Town authorized to expend money shall furnish to the Finance Committee not later than February 20 a detailed estimate of the amounts necessary for maintenance and operation of the department under their jurisdiction for the ensuing year.

0303.2 The Selectmen shall furnish to the Finance Committee no later than March 10 a completed warrant for the Annual Town Meeting showing the sums of money required for each article except the article on budgets as referred to in

0303.1. Information necessary for recommendations by the Finance Committee for Special Town Meetings shall be furnished to the Finance Committee not later than four (4) weeks prior to the Meeting.

0304. Town Meeting as used in this section shall mean the business portion commencing on the first Tuesday in May.

State Law Relative to Town Meeting






Chapter 39, Section 9. Annual town meeting; other meetings; election of officers; times; adjournment; holidays.

Chapter 39, Section 9A. Election of officers and other matters determined by ballot; meetings; time and place; warrants.

Chapter 39, Section 10. Warrant; issuance; contents.

Chapter 39, Section 11. Persons authorized to call meetings upon resignation of selectmen.

Chapter 39, Section 12. Persons authorized to call meetings upon refusal of selectmen.

Chapter 39, Section 13. Quorum; application of section.

Chapter 39, Section 14. Moderators; election; tenure; vacancies; assistant moderators.

Chapter 39, Section 15. Moderators; powers and duties.

Chapter 39, Section 16. Appropriation, advisory or finance committees; appointment; tenure; powers and duties.

Chapter 39, Section 17. Powers of moderator; preservation of order.