HOPKINTON — Town Manager Norman Khumalo and Senior Accounting Manager Benjamin Sweeney would like to share details with the community explaining the legislative process and impact of the Annual Town Meeting.
Town Meeting will be held on Monday, May 2 beginning at 7 p.m. To better accommodate social distancing guidelines, the meeting will be held in the gymnasium at the Hopkinton High School Athletic Center, 90 Hayden Rowe St.
About Annual Town Meeting
Town Meeting is the legislative body of town government, setting the budget and local bylaws. Hopkinton has an Open Town Meeting where everyone can attend and every registered voter can vote on Town Meeting items.
Hopkinton has one Annual Town Meeting held on the first Monday of May. On occasion, there may be a Special Town Meeting which occurs if there’s an urgent decision to be made.
Warrants and Motions
The warrant describes what items will be debated and voted on. Each item then requires a motion, which indicates a specific action to be taken by a vote of Town Meeting.
At Town Meeting, town officials share reports and information on warrant items before residents are asked to consider the warrant articles. This year’s 53-article Annual Town Meeting Warrant, which includes the town’s proposed operating budget for Fiscal Year 2023, can be viewed here.
The budget is a public and deliberative process that starts approximately seven months before the start of a new fiscal year, which runs from July through the following June.
The Select Board sets the budget message that defines priorities, opportunities and limitations for the new fiscal year. The Select Board, School Committee, Capital Improvement Committee and Appropriation Committee hold public meetings to discuss each budget request in detail beginning in September each year until the following May. Each of these meetings is open to the public and residents are encouraged to attend.
Town Meeting Impact
Town Meeting approves the town budget, which authorizes how much money Hopkinton can spend in the annual budget and all major expenditures. This also impacts the funding of all town departments, such as education, public safety services, snow removal, road maintenance, water and sewer.
The authorization of the town’s budget also affects individual property taxes. Taxes are determined by the assessed value of a single property, the assessed value of all properties in Town and the level of spending authorized by Town Meeting.
Town Meeting also sets the general bylaws that set the administrative rules of Hopkinton, as well as zoning bylaws which impact many aspects of daily life, including what kind of developments are allowed, what can be built where, what activities can be done in certain areas and the permitting process for projects.
For More Information
Residents who wish to learn more can visit the Town’s website for information on the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, links on the FY23 operating budget and information on Town Meeting presentations from various boards and committees. Residents can also visit the town’s Transparency Portal to view budget tools and project information.
Residents can also get involved in the process by attending public board and committee meetings or volunteering for boards and committees. Learn more here.