Friday, December 22, 2017

The Advisory Committee is made up of seven members, all volunteers, who are appointed by the Town Moderator for a term of three years. The Town’s General Bylaws direct the Advisory Committee to give recommendations that it deems best for the interests of the Town and its citizens on all department budgets, transfer requests, warrant articles, zoning articles and by law articles. One can look at the Templeton general Town by-laws to see the exact wording/direction given by way of Town Meeting and their by-law votes which show the direction residents wanted and voted for the Advisory Committee to proceed.The Advisory Committee's goal is to give Town residents an objective viewpoint on all matters to be considered at Annual and Special Town Meetings. Their recommendations are intended to ensure the residents of Templeton are receiving the best mix of services for the amount of taxes being collected. Since the members of the Advisory Committee are appointed by the Town Moderator, they act as a check and balance to the Town’s elected boards and committees as well as those individuals, boards and committees appointed by the Board of Selectmen and the Town Administrator.

Please be advised there are sometimes openings on the committee during the year and there are some appointments up each year and if you feel you are not getting what was voted for, please step up and volunteer. Since the committee is directed to be in the "checks and balance business", it is imperative that the committee have the access to information and that information is required to be clear, up to date and easily available to the committee.

Hopefully this year, Templeton residents will see a different format on recommendations from the Advisory Committee, and these recommendations will be available in different formats and places.

Massachusetts General Law, chapter 39

Section 16: Appropriation, advisory or finance committees; appointment; tenure; powers and duties

Section 16. Every town whose valuation for the purpose of apportioning the state tax exceeds one million dollars shall, and any other town may, by by-law provide for the election or the appointment and duties of appropriation, advisory or finance committees, who shall consider any or all municipal questions for the purpose of making reports or recommendations to the town; and such by-laws may provide that committees so appointed or elected may continue in office for terms not exceeding three years from the date of appointment or election.
In every town having a committee appointed under authority of this section, such committee, or the selectmen if authorized by a by-law of the town, and, in any town not having such a committee, the selectmen, shall submit a budget at the annual town meeting.

So, first off, Templeton has two conflicting Town by-laws concerning budget presentation; is the Attorney General's office aware of this?

Secondly, kind of hard to make a report or recommendation (s) to town meeting if the committee is kept out of the loop. Kind of hard to make a report or show a report to the Town Meeting when the information is unclear or hidden, such as the budget versus actual documents. Kind of hard for departments to know this information if it is unclear or hidden as well.