Town Meeting

"Town Meetings" are meetings that are called by either the Board of Selectmen or by a Citizen Petition to address specific "Articles" listed and publicly posted on an official "Warrant" for registered voters of the town to accept or reject.  Articles are a summary of the individual questions or description of what is to be voted on such as a bylaw or budget item and what sources of funding may be used.   All Articles are numbered and placed on a Warrant  which is a legal document addressed to the inhabitants of the Town of Charlton signed by the Board of Selectmen, stating the date, time and place of the meeting.  The Warrant further directs a Constable to post copies of such warrant at specific locations for public viewing and notification in a sufficient number of days prior to the meeting date and return confirmation of service to the Town Clerk.  

A separate Public Hearing by the Selectmen and Finance Committee are generally held prior to all Town Meetings.  The Selectmen and Finance Committee voice their favorable or unfavorable recommendations for each Article and hear questions or concerns on any Articles to be voted on prior to the Town Meeting.

Town Meetings are open to the public and the dates are set by the Board of Selectmen in accordance with Mass General Laws.  The rules contained in Town Meeting Time:  A Handbook of Parliamentary Law by Richard B. Johnson, Moderator of Swampscott, Benjamin Lincoln - A Committee of the Massachusetts Moderators' Association, Copyright 1962 by Little, Brown and Company, Inc., are the parliamentary rules of procedure governing all Town Meetings in the Town of Charlton in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not consistent with the bylaws, if any, or the special rules of order, if any, previously adopted by the Town of Charlton in Town Meeting assembled. 

There are two types of Town Meetings, the Annual Town Meeting and the Special Town Meeting. The Annual Town Meeting is held each year on a day in May to be determined by the Board of Selectmen and generally consists of the Annual operating budget, appropriations, housekeeping issues, repetitive or reoccurring Articles as well as any new Articles requested by Town Departments or citizen petitions.  Special Town Meetings are called to address anything that was not addressed at the Annual Meeting due to funding, emergencies, citizen petitions, Zoning, Bylaws, Special Legislation etc. Multiple Special Town Meetings may be called at various times over the course of a Fiscal Year.

Articles on a Town Meeting Warrant are read by the Town Moderator.  "Motions" are generally carefully prepared ahead of time in writing and then read by a voter recognized by the Town Moderator to be voted upon.  "Motions" are the actual final and exact wording of what is to be voted upon and generally can not be changed once voted.   A main Motion may only be changed by a proper amendment recognized by the Town Moderator prior to voting on the main motion.  Votes are generally called for by the Moderator and taken by either a voice vote, show of hands, standing vote or ballot vote if so called for.  Most Articles require a majority affirmative vote to pass but may require a 2/3rd, unanimous or some other vote as required by Mass. General Law.  All Zoning and General Bylaws must further be submitted for approval by the Massachusetts Attorney General's Municipal Law Unit.

Only registered voters of Charlton are allowed to vote on warrant articles and must be checked in.  Guests are welcome but must also check in and sit in the area designated by the Moderator for non voters. 

The last day to register to vote for the Annual Town Meeting is 20 days prior and 10 days prior for Special Town Meetings (Excluding if last day falls on weekends or holiday).

Next Town Meeting

Special Town Meeting November 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm


Meeting Information