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Courtesy Kristin Chalmers Photgraphy

What is a Warrant Article?

  • A Warrant is the advance notification to Town residents that Town Meeting is going to be convened and includes the text of all the Articles that will be taken up.

  • A Warrant Article is simply a preliminary description of a suggested new bylaw, a change to an existing bylaw, a budget change, a zoning change, or a non-binding resolution (an affirmation of belief, a call for action, etc).

    • Warrant Articles generally address Town bylaws, zoning issues or finance issues

    • Each one is reviewed by either the Select Board, the Redevelopment Board, the Finance Committee or a combination.

      • These bodies will either recommend that Town Meeting take “no action” on your Warrant Article or they will present a re-written version of it to Town Meeting in the form of a Motion

    • A Resolution is a Warrant Article that is non-binding. It is Town Meeting’s affirmation of a certain belief or call for action.

      • A recent example was the resolution calling on the Select Board to re-hang the Black Lives Matter banner at Town Hall.

    • Warrant Articles that require approval by the state legislature are called Home Rule Petitions.

  • A Motion is what actually gets voted on by Town Meeting. It is the legal form of your Article that should ideally capture its intent. It is usually a modified version of your Article written by the Select Board, the Finance Committee or the Redevelopment Board.

    • If you feel that the motion presented to Town Meeting does not capture the original intent of your Article, you can submit an amendment to change the motion.

    • If the Board/Committee recommends that Town Meeting take no action on your Article, you can submit a Substitute Motion to Town Meeting that restates your Article and gives you an opportunity to argue for its passage.

      • A Substitute Motion must be much the same as your original Article/Motion and must be submitted in advance to Town Moderator.