Town of Weston, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
All budget requests shall be made on or before January 14th of each year, except that the Board of Education request shall be made on or before February 3rd. These requests shall be filed with the First Selectman and shall contain a detailed estimate of expenditures and revenues, other than tax revenues, in the ensuing Fiscal Year. Except for the request by the Board of Education, such estimates shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth, in such form as the First Selectman may prescribe, the services, activities and work accomplished during the current Fiscal Year and to be accomplished during the ensuing Fiscal Year.
The First Selectman shall compile preliminary estimates for the Town's operating budget, the Board of Education's operating budget, the capital improvement budget and the Town's debt service (which shall be referred to collectively as the "Annual Town Budget") for the ensuing Fiscal Year. Not later than February 10th of each year, the First Selectman shall present to the Board of Selectmen a proposed budget consisting of:
(a) 
a budget message outlining the proposed financial policy of the Town government, describing the important features of the proposed Annual Town Budget, indicating any major changes from the current Fiscal Year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues together with the reasons for such changes, and containing a clear summary of the Annual Town Budget's contents;
(b) 
estimates of revenue, including the receipts collected in the last completed Fiscal Year, the receipts collected during the current Fiscal Year prior to the time of preparing the estimates, the receipts estimated to be collected during the current Fiscal Year, estimates of the receipts, other than from the property tax, to be collected in the ensuing Fiscal Year, and an estimate of the then available surplus; and
(c) 
itemized expenditures for each Town department and each Board and Commission for the last completed Fiscal Year, expenditures for the current Fiscal Year prior to the time of preparing the estimates, total estimated expenditures for the current Fiscal Year, and the First Selectmen's recommendations for the ensuing Fiscal Year for all items except those of the Board of Education, which the First Selectman shall transmit to the Selectmen as submitted to the First Selectman by the Board of Education. The First Selectman shall present reasons for all of the First Selectman's recommendations.
As part of the budget of the First Selectman, the First Selectman may present a program previously considered and acted upon by the Town Planning and Zoning Commission, in accordance with Section 8-24 of the General Statutes, of proposed municipal improvement projects for the ensuing Fiscal Year and for at least the five Fiscal Years thereafter. Estimates of the costs of such projects shall be submitted annually in the form and manner prescribed by the First Selectman.
The First Selectman shall recommend to the Board of Selectmen those capital projects to be undertaken during the ensuing Fiscal Year and the method of financing same.
The Board of Selectmen shall review the First Selectman's proposed Annual Town Budget, including the proposed budget of the Board of Education. The proposed Annual Town Budget, including such alterations or changes deemed necessary by the Board of Selectmen, shall be presented to the Board of Finance not later than March 1 of each year. The proposed Annual Town Budget shall include the budget proposal of the Board of Education, but any changes to the Board of Education's proposed budget as may desired by the Board of Selectmen shall be in the form of recommendations only.
(a) 
After the Board of Finance has received from the Board of Selectmen the recommended Annual Town Budget, the Board of Finance shall hold one or more public hearings at least two weeks before the date of the Annual Town Budget Meeting, at which any Qualified Voter may be heard regarding the recommended appropriations for the ensuing Fiscal Year. At least ten days in advance of any such public hearing, the Board of Finance shall give Public Notice of such public hearing, together with the proposed appropriations of the Board of Selectmen and the proposed appropriations of the Board of Education, in condensed form. Sufficient copies of the proposed appropriations shall be made available for general distribution in the office of the Town Clerk, online and at the public hearing. At the public hearing the First Selectman shall present the recommendations of the Board of Selectmen regarding the composition of the Annual Town Budget and the individual appropriations comprising the Budget for the ensuing Fiscal Year.
(b) 
After the public hearing(s) the Board of Finance shall make such revisions to the proposed appropriations as the Board of Finance deems advisable and shall thereafter recommend the proposed appropriations (as revised by the Board of Finance, if applicable) to the Annual Town Budget Meeting.
(a) 
The Annual Town Budget Meeting shall be held not later than the end of the first full week in May of each year. It shall be called to order at 8 PM and, if it has not completed its business by 11:30 PM, the moderator shall adjourn the Meeting to 8 PM of successive evenings (adjourning at 11:30 PM if necessary) excepting Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, until its business is completed. Public Notice of the Notice and Call of the Annual Town Budget Meeting shall be published at least five days prior to the Meeting. The published and posted Notice and Call shall be accompanied by the proposed appropriations, in condensed form, as recommended by the Board of Finance for the ensuing Fiscal Year.
(b) 
The Town Clerk shall ensure that sufficient copies of the proposed appropriations are made available for general distribution in the office of the Town Clerk at least five days prior to the Annual Town Budget Meeting and at that Meeting.
(c) 
The Notice and Call of the Annual Town Budget Meeting shall:
(i) 
list the line items that the Meeting is legally entitled to amend, namely, the appropriations in Board of Selectmen's proposed operating budget, the Board of Education's proposed operating budget (as one line item) and the capital improvement budget ;
(ii) 
set forth the Town's debt service budget;
(iii) 
state the proposed rate of taxation, indicating the portion attributable to uncollectable taxes, for the ensuing Fiscal Year;
(iv) 
state in its preamble who is legally entitled to vote at the Annual Town Budget Meeting;
(v) 
specify the circumstances under which, and the manner in which, the proposed budgets may be reduced at the Annual Town Budget Meeting;
(vi) 
state that if fewer than 130 persons who are legally entitled to vote at the Annual Town Budget Meeting are present at the time that the Meeting is called to order, the Meeting shall be adjourned and machine voting on the Annual Town Budget proposed by the Board of Finance shall commence; and
(vii) 
contain any other information required by the General Statutes or the Charter.
Sufficient copies of the Notice and Call shall be made available for general distribution in the office of the Town Clerk, online and at the Annual Town Budget Meeting.
(d) 
The Annual Town Budget Meeting shall consider, discuss and take action on the proposed appropriations as follows:
(i) 
no appropriation shall be made exceeding that for the same purpose recommended by the Board of Finance, or for any other purpose not recommended by the Board of Finance;
(ii) 
if, and only if, 130 or more Qualified Voters are present at the time that the Annual Town Budget Meeting is called to order, the Annual Town Budget proposed by the Board of Finance may, by a vote of a majority of those Qualified Voters present and voting, be amended by reducing any individual appropriation that is listed on the Notice and Call of the Meeting to an amount less than that recommended by the Board of Finance. Any motion to reduce the sum of appropriations in the proposed Annual Town Budget must specify the individual line item to be reduced and the amount of the proposed reduction;
(iii) 
if fewer than 130 Qualified Voters are present at the time the Meeting is called to order, the Annual Town Budget Meeting shall be adjourned and machine voting on the Annual Town Budget proposed by the Board of Finance shall commence; and
(iv) 
the consideration of any proposed decrease in any individual appropriation pursuant to Section 9.5(d)(ii) above shall be by secret ballot if requested by a number of Qualified Voters equal to not less than one-third of those Qualified Voters present at the Meeting.
Voting on the proposed Annual Town Budget, as amended, if applicable, by the Annual Town Budget Meeting, shall be by machine voting. There shall be separate votes on the following components of the Annual Town Budget: (i) the Town's proposed operating budget, (ii) the Board of Education's proposed operating budget and (iii) the proposed capital improvement budget. The voting shall commence immediately after the Annual Town Budget Meeting is adjourned, and shall continue that day as long as necessary, in the judgment of the Registrars of Voters, to accommodate all those seeking to cast votes at that time. Voting shall recommence between seven and fourteen days following the Annual Town Budget Meeting, and shall occur during the hours permitted by Section 7-7 of the General Statutes. Each component of the proposed Annual Town Budget set forth above shall be approved if a majority of Qualified Voters who vote approve that component. At the discretion of the Board of Selectmen, the ballot may permit any Qualified Voters who wish to reject a proposed component or components of the Annual Town Budget to indicate whether they would reject the proposed component(s) because they are too high or because they are too low.
(a) 
If one or more components the proposed Annual Town Budget are not approved pursuant to Section 9.6, the component(s) of proposed Budget that have not been approved shall be reconsidered by the Board of Finance and such component(s) shall be resubmitted to Qualified Voters between ten and twenty-one days after the date the machine voting was completed under Section 9.6. Voting shall occur by machine ballot, and Public Notice of such vote shall be given at least five days prior to the date of the vote. The resubmitted proposed component(s) of the Annual Town Budget shall be approved if a majority of Qualified Voters who vote approve such component(s). At the discretion of the Board of Selectmen, the ballot may permit any Qualified Voters who wish to reject a component or components of the proposed Annual Town Budget to indicate whether they would reject the proposed component(s) because they are too high or because they are too low.
(b) 
Should any component of the proposed Annual Town Budget be rejected again, the process described in Section 9.7(a) shall be repeated with respect to that component until the Annual Town Budget is approved.
(c) 
In the event that the Annual Town Budget has not been adopted by July 1 of any year, the budget appropriations of the previous Fiscal Year shall serve as an interim budget to allow for the continued operation of Town services, and the Board of Selectmen, with the approval of the Board of Finance, from month to month thereafter until the Annual Town Budget has been approved, may meet the obligations of the Town in accordance with said interim budget (i) by borrowing funds by way of tax anticipation notes, (ii) by taxation at a mill rate set by resolution of the Board of Selectmen, (iii) by drawing upon funds in possession of the Town, or (iv) by a combination of two or more of these means; provided that if option (i) or option (ii), or a combination of them, is utilized, then within ten days after the Annual Town Budget has been approved the mill rate shall be fixed sufficient to fund the total anticipated obligations of the Town during the remainder of the Fiscal Year, including the repayment of all tax anticipation notes outstanding.
An official copy of the Annual Town Budget as finally approved shall be filed by the Board of Finance with the Town Clerk within one week following final approval. Within ten days after the approval of the Annual Town Budget, the Board of Finance shall, by resolution, fix the tax rate in mills that shall be levied on the taxable property in the Town for the applicable Fiscal Year.
(a) 
The Board of Selectmen shall have the power to make an appropriation or appropriations in addition to those provided in the Annual Town Budget for any Town department, Board or Commission in a sum not exceeding $5,000 in a Fiscal Year, provided that the total sum so appropriated for all Town departments, Boards and Commissions in any Fiscal Year shall not exceed $50,000;
(b) 
The Board of Selectmen shall also have the power to make, with the approval of the Board of Finance, supplemental appropriations beyond those appropriated under Section 9.9(a) above, for one or more specific purposes, provided the total sum appropriated under this Section 9.9(b) in any Fiscal Year shall not exceed two percent of the then current tax levy.
Funds for such additional and supplemental appropriations shall, as directed by the Board of Selectmen, be provided from the following:
(i) 
available unappropriated and unencumbered General Fund cash balance;
(ii) 
the Reserve Fund for Capital and Non-recurring Expenditures, if for a capital expenditure; or
(iii) 
the Town's Contingency Fund.
(c) 
Any Officer, Board or Commission may apply at any time for an appropriation in excess of the amounts available under this Section 9.9 (a) and (b), but only in the amount, and on terms, approved by the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance and a Town Meeting.
(a) 
No purchases shall be made by any Official, Board or Commission, other than the Board of Education, and the Library Board for library holdings, regardless of format, except through the First Selectman.
(b) 
No voucher, claim or charge against the Town, except the Board of Education, shall be paid until the voucher, claim or charge has been (i) audited by the First Selectman (or the First Selectman's designee) and (ii) approved by the First Selectman or such designee for correctness and validity. Checks shall be drawn by the First Selectman for the payment of approved claims and shall be valid only when countersigned by the Treasurer. In the absence or inability to act of either the First Selectman or the Treasurer with respect to the above duty, the acting First Selectman determined in accordance with Section 5.2 shall substitute for the First Selectman, and the Treasurer shall designate an individual to countersign checks, as the case may be.
(c) 
Any Officer, Town department, Board or Commission, except the Board of Education, that desires to transfer funds within its appropriation from funds set apart for one specific purpose to another must first obtain the approval of the First Selectman, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance.
(d) 
The First Selectman, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance, may, within the last three months of the Fiscal Year, transfer surplus funds from the appropriations of one or more departments, Boards or Commissions, with prior consent of such entity or entities, to the appropriations of one or more other departments, Boards or Commissions, but only for purposes for which the receiving entity or entities were authorized to expend appropriated funds during the Fiscal Year.
(e) 
Appropriations for construction or other permanent improvements, from whatever source derived, shall not lapse until the purpose for which the appropriation was made has been accomplished or abandoned. A project shall be deemed to have been abandoned if three consecutive Fiscal Years have elapsed without any expenditure from or encumbrance of the appropriation therefor. Any portion of an appropriation relating to that project that remains unexpended and unencumbered at the close of such third Fiscal Year shall lapse.
(f) 
Every payment made in violation of the Charter shall be deemed illegal and every Official authorizing or making such payment or taking part therein and every person receiving such payment or any part thereof shall be jointly and severally liable to the Town for the full amount so paid or received. If any Official or employee of the Town knowingly incurs any obligation, or authorizes or makes any expenditure in violation of the provisions of this Charter, or takes part in such violation, such action shall be cause for such person's removal pursuant to Section 7.7(a) or 8.5(b), as the case may be, and such other sanctions as may be prescribed by law.
The Town shall have the power to incur indebtedness by issuing its bonds or notes as provided by the General Statutes subject to the limitations thereof and the provisions of Sections 3.4(a), 3.5, and 9.5.
The Town shall make no charitable or similar contribution to any person, organization or private corporation unless such contribution is (a) included in a category so denominated in the Annual Town Budget or (b) authorized by the General Statutes and approved by the First Selectman, the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance.