What are the Major Town Meetings that relate to the Town Budget?
Each fiscal year, July 1st to June 30th, a town must decide what services they want and how they are going to pay for them. This is referred to as "The Budget". There are two meetings that relate to this:
1. The Budget Hearing
2. The Annual Town Meeting.
What is the Budget Hearing and the process leading up to it?
1. Department Heads Develop Budget Requests: The budget process starts in earnest when each Tolland Department Head submits his or her budget for the fiscal year. In Tolland, the Selectmen require the departmental budgets by March 8th.
2. Finance Committee Review and Recommendation Development: The Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) reviews each budget request with the Department Head to get clarity on the requests and resolve questions. Subsequent to the FAC’s review and analysis a vote is taken within the Finance Advisory Committee and our recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Selectmen.
3. Selectmen Review and Recommendation: The Board of Selectmen further reviews and discusses the budget with relevant department heads and accepts the FAC recommendation or makes further changes. When the Selectmen are satisfied with each Department Head’s budget, the annual Budget Hearing is scheduled.
4. The Annual Budget Hearing is scheduled and conducted. The Annual Budget Hearing is the Hearing at which Tolland taxpayers have an opportunity to review and ask questions about the proposed budget. The Budget Hearing is the appropriate setting to grill everyone involved in spending your taxpayer money. Present at the meeting are the Selectmen, Department Heads and the Finance Advisory Committee.
What is the Annual Town Meeting as it relates to the budget?
After the Budget Hearing at the Town Hall the Annual Town Meeting is held. This is where the actual voting takes place on the various budget line items by the townspeople. There may be other non-budget items discussed and voted on at the Annual Town Meeting.
Taxpayers are encouraged to attend the Budget Hearing prior to the Annual Town Meeting. This way discourse and debate has taken place at the appropriate venue and not during Town Meeting.
The Budget Hearing precedes the Annual Town Meeting.
l The appropriate venue to debate the issues and expenditures.
l No voting takes place.
The Annual Town Meeting is where budget line items are voted on.
l Revisiting details previously debated at the Budget Hearing discouraged.