March 27, 2018

2018 Town Government Process

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An easy overview of the process followed by Town Staff to create the Town of Peterborough operating budget, capital improvement plan, and warrant articles. This document is meant to serve as a one-stop shop for information on the process as it unfolds. If you do not find what you are looking for, please email

The best place to find all of this information is by reviewing the Annual Town Report. It will be available May 1, 2018  in print at the Town House and the Town Library. We will post link when it is available.

The following information is chronological as the process unfolds. If you want to skip to the bottom line, read the Town Warrant here. 

Fall 2018: Capital Improvements Plan

The Capital Improvement Committee are elected officials tasked with approving a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and submitting it to the Select Board and Budget Committee each year. They meet each year for six to eight weeks in the late summer/early fall. All meetings are open to the public and minutes are posted here.   At these weekly meetings the Committee reviews all requests presented to them by the Department Heads, who manage their facilities under the direction of the Town Administrator.

Peterborough defines a capital improvement as one with a cost of at least $10,000 and a useful life of five years or more. 

The Approved Capital Improvement Plan for 2018 is available by contacting the Community Development Office.

Additional project detail:

Library Project:
Full Project Information here:
Presentation to Select Board July 18, 2017

Library report to the Capital Improvement Committee available here.
Official minutes available here.


Operating Budget:

The Budget Committee are elected officials tasked with approving the CIP and the operating budget for the entire Town. They meet over a three month period and review every departments operating budget. They also review the CIP and ask for additional information from the department heads on these projects.

All the meetings are open to the public and the minutes are posted here: 

January 2        Presentation of Draft Budget and Town-Wide Impacts.  Administration, Finance, HR, HS, Misc., OCD, EDA.
Minutes available here.

January 16      Police, Fire, Ambulance

Minutes not posted online but available at Town House.

January 30      Public Works, IT, GIS and PEG
Minutes available here.

February 13    Town Clerk, Recreation, Library
Minutes available here.

Library Presentation: (Begins at 01:35:10)
Library Handouts to Budget Committee:
Return on Investment – What is the value of library service to residents?
Library Usage in a Day– A snapshot of an average day in the library
Slides from presentation– see livestream for audio
Library Overall Operating Budget and Revenue

February 20    Overall Budget Analysis/Completion of the Budget
Watch the livestream here.

Minutes not posted online but available at Town House.


Public Hearing:

At the end of the Budget Committee process, a public hearing is held to officially review the proposed Town Annual Budget and any proposed bonds to fund projects in excess of $100,000.

This year the meeting was held on March 6, 2018.
The minutes from this meeting are not posted but available at the Town House.
Watch the live stream here:

Petition Warrant Articles:

Residents may bring forward any projects or initiatives to the Select Board which have not been prepared by Town Staff or approved by the Select Board. 25 or more voters are needed to petition the Select Board to include a bond article or regular article on the warrant.

Quick definition check:

Warrant: a warrant is a document issued by the Select Board. It essentially lists an agenda of items to be voted on by the registered voters. In Peterborough we vote on some items by ballot and some items during the open session or town meeting. Read this post to learn more on why we vote on different articles by ballot or by open session.

Article: an article is a specific agenda item on a town warrant.

March 9          Last day for 25 or more voters to petition the Select Board to include a bond article in the warrant

March 13        Last day for 25 or more voters to petition Select Board to include an article in the warrant

March 19        Last day for Select Board to determine which article will be addressed at which session of Town Meeting (either ballot or open)

March 19        Last day to post Warrant & Budget / 40:13, II

Candidates for Town Office and Committees

There are lots of opportunities to serve on Town Committees. The list of committees and terms are available here.

The open positions for the 2018 ballot are posted here.

March 21        First day for candidates to file declarations of candidacy

March 30        Last day for filing declarations of candidacy

Town Meeting Sessions

The Charter for the Town of Peterborough defines our form of government. Our annual town meeting consists of three sessions; a first open session (or deliberative session), an election and official ballot session, and a final open session (often just called Town Meeting).

April 3rd        Deliberative session will be held at 7:00pm at the Town House. Full detail on the articles posted here.

April 23           Last day to post notice of Ballot and Open Sessions

May 1               Annual Report containing final budget and ballot questions available at Town House and Town Library. We will post electronically when available.

May 8              Ballot Session / Elections (Second Session) will be held 7am-7pm at the Town House. We will post official ballot when it is available.

There are several zoning amendments on the ballot. Full information about these amendments is available here. Or please see an overview here.  Please note there are two public sessions to discuss this in detail.

The first such session will be held on Saturday April 14, 2018 at 10 am – at the Peterborough Community Theater.  (Coffee and donuts will be provided!)

The second session will be held on Monday April 16, 2018 at 6:30 PM in the Select Board Meeting Room

May 9              Open Session of Town Meeting begins at 6:00pm.

Read the full Warrant Article here.

Author: Corinne Chronopoulos
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