TOWN OF MERRIMACK
Budget Process Sub-Committee
November 4, 2005
The meeting was called to order at 9:10 AM in the Town Hall Conference Room. Present were Tom Mahon, Tim Tenhave and Finlay Rothaus.
Mr. Mahon opened the meeting by handing out copies of two proposals for language: one to implement an Advisory Budget Committee; one to implement an Official Ballot Budgetary Meeting. (The proposed language for both items is attached).
The language of the two proposal was reviewed by the attendees. Mr. Mahon explained the contents of each proposal and how he had arrived at the quorum number for the Official Ballot proposal.
The focus of the meeting was on the Official Ballot language. Since Mr. Tenhave and Mr. Rothaus have been advocates of this form, Mr. Mahon urged them to take the language, distribute it to the entire commission and make personal contact with each member about the proposed language prior to Tuesday’s Public Meeting. Mr. Tenhave and Mr. Rothhaus agreed.
The meeting adjourned at 9:40 AM.
Thomas J. Mahon
Advisory Budget Committee Language
1. Advisory Budget Committee. There shall be an [elected] Advisory Budget Committee of seven (7) members [appointed by the Moderator] [appointed by the Town Council] who shall serve three (3) year terms on a staggered basis to advise the Town Council on budgetary matters. Its purpose is not to legislate or drive budget policy.
Organization. A quorum of 4 or more committee members shall be necessary to conduct any committee business. The Advisory Budget Committee shall:
a) act in all matters as a body
b) organize and adopt rules of procedure not inconsistent with NH state law and this charter
c) elect a chair, vice chair and clerk from its members on an annual basis
Vacancy. Should a vacancy occur, [the remaining members] [the Moderator] [the Town Council] shall appoint a replacement to serve until the next regular Town election at which time a replacement shall be elected to serve until the next regular Town election. However, if the vacancy occurs within 60 days of the next regular Town election, no appointment shall be made and the vacancy shall be filled by election at the regular Town election for the unexpired term.
Article 7 Finance
Preparation of Budget
The Council shall convey to the Manager expectations and parameters as guidance for preparation of the budget for the ensuing fiscal year, no later than 120 days before the end of the current fiscal year. Such guidance may include, but not be limited to, expenditures necessary for the operations of town departments, revenues, enterprise operations, implementation of capital projects and the town portion of the tax rate.
The preparation of the fiscal budget of the Town shall begin at such time as specified by the Manager, or as directed by the Administrative Code. The chief officer or director of each department shall submit to the Manager an itemized estimate of the expenditures and revenues, if any, for the next fiscal year for the department or activities under the officer's control. The Manager shall, based on these estimates and other data, prepare a recommended budget which shall, together with these department estimates and a budget message, be submitted to the Council and the Advisory Budget Committee [no later than 90 days before the end of the fiscal year] on such date as the Council shall establish. In presenting the budget to the Town Council and the Advisory Budget Committee, the Manager shall also include a detailed report of estimated revenues other than those to be derived from real estate taxes, paying particular attention to enterprise departments or activities, and an estimate of the impact on the town portion of the tax rate.
Budget Deliberation. After consultation with the Advisory Budget Committee, the Council shall establish a schedule for the joint review of the Manager’s recommended budget. Within 10 days of completion of the joint review, the Advisory Budget Committee shall convey their advisory report on the budget to the Council.
The Council shall hold at such time and place, convenient to the public, as many public hearings on the budget as it deems necessary, but at least one public hearing on the budget shall be scheduled not later than 25 days before the end of the fiscal year and the final adoption of the budget by the Council. The Council shall not adopt a final budget until at least 10 days after the public hearing.
Notice of such public hearings, together with a copy of a budget document showing the most recent fiscal year’s expenditures, appropriation voted for the current fiscal year, the manager’s budget and the council’s budget, and the report of the Advisory Budget Committee shall be posted in two public places, and on the town’s web site. A copy of the budget and the report of the Advisory Budget Committee shall be available to the public at the office of the Town Clerk during regular business hours. In addition, notice of such public hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town at least one week prior to each hearing by the Town Clerk.
Quarterly budget reports
Quarterly, and more often if required by the Council, the Manager or his designee shall submit to the Council and the Advisory Budget Committee data showing the relation between the estimated and actual income and expenses to date, together with outstanding indebtedness and estimated future expenses, anticipated transfers, other major variances to the operating budget, active and anticipated risks to the Town which may impact the operating budget, and other reports related to present or future revenues and expenses which the Council may require.
I. The town council shall have the authority to issue bonds or notes in an amount not in excess of 10 percent of the town's operating budget for the most recently concluded fiscal year, as follows:
At least one joint meeting with the Advisory Budget Committee shall be held at
least 15 days prior to the public hearing on the bond issue or note to review
the reasons and the financial terms of the note. Notice of the time, place and subject matter of such meeting
shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at
least 7 days before the meeting is held and posted in at least 2 public places
in the municipality.
(b) At least one public hearing shall be held at least 30
days, but not more than 60 days, prior to the vote on the bond issue or note.
Notice of the time, place and subject matter of such hearings shall be
published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least 7
days before the hearing is held and posted in at least 2 public places in the
municipality. Nothing in this
charter shall preclude the joint meeting and the public hearing from being
(c) The issuance of any bonds or notes shall appear as an agenda item on the public agenda of the town council meeting at which any vote is scheduled to be taken and any action taken on such item shall be by a recorded roll call vote.
(d) A vote of five (5) members of the town council shall be required to authorize the issuance of bonds or notes.
II. In the event that a proposed bond issue or note is in excess of 10 percent of the town's operating budget for the most recently concluded fiscal year, a referendum shall be held on said issuance, as follows:
(a) At least one joint meeting with the Advisory Budget Committee shall be held at least 15 days, prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting that will consider a referendum on the issuance of the bond issue or note to review the reasons and the financial terms of the note. Notice of the time, place and subject matter of such meeting shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least 7 days before the meeting is held and posted in at least 2 public places in the municipality.
(b) The town council shall, after notice and public hearing at a regularly scheduled council meeting, order a referendum on the issuance to be held on the Tuesday not less than 60 nor more than 67 days from the regular meeting at which the order is passed.
(b) The town
council shall hold at least one additional public hearing on the proposed bond
or note after the issuance of its order for a referendum. The hearing shall be
held at least 30 days, but not more than 60 days, prior to the referendum.
(c) The same notice requirements for public hearings on
issuance of bonds or notes by vote of the town council shall apply to public hearings
on bonds or notes to be authorized by referendum.
(d) An additional public hearing shall be held if the
proposed bond or note issue is substantively altered by the town council after
public hearing. Subsequent public hearings shall be held at least 14 days after
the prior public hearing and shall comply with the same notice requirements.
(e) An official copy of the final bond or note proposal
shall be placed on file with the town clerk and made available to the public 7
days before the referendum and displayed at the voting place on the day of the
(f) The town clerk shall prepare an official ballot which shall include the following question:
"Are you in favor of appropriating the sum of $__________ for the purpose of __________, with said sum to be in addition to any federal, state or private funds made available therefor, and of authorizing the issuance of not more than $__________ of bonds or notes in accordance with the provisions of the municipal finance act, RSA Chapter 33?"
When submitting the question under this section to the voters, there shall be 2 squares printed after the question, one with the word "yes" beside it and another with the word "no" beside it.
(g) If a 3/5 majority of the voters present and voting on
the issuance of bonds or notes shall vote in the affirmative, the appropriation
and issuance of bonds or notes in the amounts so stated in the question shall
be declared to have been adopted.
The Town shall conduct a special election on the second Tuesday of June 2006 to elect the following officials:
One (1) Town Councilor for a term to run from July 1, 2006 to the regular town election in April 2009.
One (1) Town Councilor for a term to run from July 1, 2006 to the regular town election in April 2008.
Three (3) Advisory Budget Committee members to serve from July 1, 2006 to the regular town election in April 2009.
Two (2) Advisory Budget Committee members to serve from July 1, 2006 to the regular town election in April 2008.
Two (2) Advisory Budget Committee members to serve from July 1, 2006 to the regular town election in April 2007.
All shall serve until their successors are elected and certified as provided in Article 2-7 of this charter.
INITIAL APPOINTMENT OF ADVISORY BUDGET COMMITTEE MEMBERS.
The Moderator shall make initial appoints of seven (7) Advisory Budget Committee members to the following terms of office upon adoption of this charter:
Three (3) to serve for three (3) years
Two (2) to serve for two (2) years
Two (2) to serve for one (1) year]
INITIAL APPOINTMENT OF ADVISORY BUDGET COMMITTEE MEMBERS.
The Town Council shall make initial appoints of seven (7) Advisory Budget Committee members to the following terms of office upon adoption of this charter:
Three (3) to serve for three (3) years
Two (2) to serve for two (2) years
Two (2) to serve for one (1) year]
Budget Committee means the Advisory Budget Committee established in Article 5-2
Official Ballot Budgetary Meeting Language
Amend: 3-8 Powers and Duties
Powers and Duties
Except as herein otherwise provided, the Council shall have all the powers conferred upon and discharge all the duties imposed upon town councils, town meetings, boards of mayor and aldermen, and selectmen of towns by law, except the adoption of a town budget, which prerogative is vested in the Official Ballot Town meeting. All officers and members of all boards, commissions and committees, and vacancies thereto shall be appointed by the Council from among Town residents unless otherwise provided by this Charter.
At such time as may be requested by the Manager or specified by the Administrative
Code, each officer or director of a department shall submit an itemized estimate of the expenditures for the next fiscal year for the departments or activities under his control to the Manager. The Manager shall, based on these estimates and other data, prepare a recommended budget which shall, together with these department estimates, be submitted to the Council on such date as the Council shall establish. The Council shall review the budget for the following fiscal year and make such modifications and amendments as it desires.
The Council shall hold in convenient places as many public hearings on the budget as it deems necessary, but at least one public hearing on the budget shall be scheduled at least 20 days before the first session of the Budgetary Town Meeting at such time and place, convenient to the public, as the Council shall direct. Notice of such public hearing and Budgetary Town Meeting, together with a copy of the budget as submitted, shall be posted in two public places. A copy of the budget shall be available to the public at the office of the Clerk during regular business hours. In addition, notice of such public hearing and Budgetary Town Meeting shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town, and posted on the town web site, at least one week prior to said meeting.
Final Adoption of Budget
A. Notwithstanding RSA 39:3-d, RSA 40:4-e, the Town of Merrimack
shall utilize the official ballot for voting on all budgetary issues before the
B. The warrant for any annual budgetary meeting shall prescribe the
place, day and hour for each of 2 separate sessions of the meeting, and notice
shall be given in accordance with RSA 39:5.
C. The first session of the annual budgetary meeting, which shall be for the transaction of all business other than voting by official ballot shall be held between the second Tuesday of March and the Saturday following the second Tuesday in March, at a time prescribed by the Town Council. A quorum of 1% of the total number of registered voters on the date of the meeting or 175 registered voters whichever is lower must be present to conduct any business, including amending any warrant article and the Operating Budget.
second Tuesday in April shall be deemed the annual meeting date for purposes of
all applicable statutes pertaining to hearings, notice, petitioned articles,
and warrants, including, but not limited to, RSA 31:95-d, 32:5, 32:16, 33:8-a,
D. The first session of the meeting, governed by the provisions of RSA 40:4, 40:4a, 40:4b, 40:4f and 40:6-10, shall consist of explanation, discussion, and debate of each warrant article. Warrant articles may be amended, subject to the following limitations:
1) Warrant articles whose wording is prescribed by
law shall not be amended.
2) Warrant articles that are amended shall be placed on the official ballot for a final vote on the main motion, as amended.
E. All budgetary warrant articles shall be placed on the official
ballot for a final vote.
F. The second session of the annual meeting, to elect officers of
the Town by official ballot, to vote on questions required by law to be
inserted on said official ballot, and to vote on all budgetary warrant articles
from the first session on official ballot, shall be held on the second Tuesday
G. The Town Clerk shall prepare an official ballot, which may be
separate from the official ballot used to elect officers, for all warrant
articles. Wording shall be substantively the same as the main motion, as it was
made or amended at the first session, with only such minor textual changes as
may be required to cast the motion in the form of a question to voters.
H. "Operating budget" as used in this section means a
statement of recommended appropriations and anticipated revenues submitted to
the budgetary town meeting as an attachment to, and as part of the warrant for,
an annual or special meeting, exclusive of "special warrant
articles", as defined in RSA 32:3, V.
I. If no operating budget article is adopted, the Town either shall
be deemed to have approved a “Default budget,” defined as the same
appropriations as contained in the operating budget authorized for the previous
year, reduced and increased, as the case may be, by debt service, contracts,
and other obligations previously incurred or mandated by law, or the Town
Council may hold a special meeting to take up the issue of a revised operating
budget only; provided that RSA 31:5 shall not apply to such a special meeting.
If no operating budget article is adopted the estimated revenues shall
nevertheless be deemed to have been approved.
J. The wording of the article on the operating budget shall be as follows:
"Shall the Town raise and appropriate as an operating budget, not including appropriations by special warrant articles, the amounts set forth on the budget posted with the warrant, for the purposes set forth therein, totaling $____________ ? Should this article be defeated, the operating budget shall be $_____________, which is the same as last year, with certain adjustments required by previous action of the Town meeting, or by law or the Town Council may hold one special meeting, to take up the issue of a revised operating budget only."
K. Voting at the second session shall conform to the procedures for
the nonpartisan ballot system as set forth in RSA 669:19-29, including all
requirements pertaining to absentee voting, polling place and polling hours.
L. Approval of all warrant articles shall be by simple majority
except for questions which require a 3/5 or 2/3 vote by law, contract or
M. Votes taken at the second session shall be subject to recount under RSA 669:30-33 and RSA 40:4-c.
N. Votes taken at the second session shall not be reconsidered
except by warrant article at a subsequent annual or special meeting.
O. The warrant for any
special meeting shall prescribe the date, place and hour for both a first and
second session. The second session shall be warned for a date not fewer than 28
days nor more than 60 days following the first session. The first and second
sessions shall conform to the provision of this subdivision pertaining to the
first and second sessions of annual meetings. Special meetings shall be subject
to RSA 31:5, 39:3 provided that no more than one special meeting may be held to
raise and appropriate money in any one calendar year or fiscal year, whichever
applies, and further provided that any special meeting held pursuant to this
section shall not be subject to RSA 31:5 and shall not be counted toward the
number of special meetings which may be held in a given calendar or fiscal year.
P. The Council may make emergency expenditures in accordance with the provisions of the Municipal Budget Law, RSA Chapter 32, as the same may be amended from time to time.
A. Subject to the applicable provisions of state law and the rules and regulations provided by ordinance in the Administrative Code, the Council may authorize by resolution the borrowing of money for any purpose within the scope of the powers vested in the Town and the issuance of bonds of the Town or other evidence of indebtedness therefore and may pledge the full faith, credit and resources of the Town for payment of the obligation created hereby; provided that no notes or bonds shall be issued by the Council in excess of $100,000 per issue except by a vote of four (4) Councilors, and a 3/5 vote at regular Town election or special ballot called by the Council. Notification and posting of such bond issues in excess of $100,000 shall be in the same manner as if it were a bond issue of a town pursuant to RSA 33, with voting by ballot at a regular or special election. There must be an existing voted appropriation, so that the borrowing does not incur expenditures in excess of the authorized voted appropriations.
Borrowing for a term exceeding one (1) year shall be authorized by the Council
only after a duly advertised public hearing.
C. The Council may borrow in anticipation of taxes.
Amend: Article 9 – Citizen Initiatives
9-1 Petitioned articles regarding the appropriation of funds, including the approval of bond issues shall be presented to the Town Manager and placed on the warrant in accordance with RSA 39:3.