Governor Baker introduced emergency legislation to help towns address the spring budget and town meeting season during the COVID-19 emergency.

Under “ An Act to Address Challenges in Town Governance Resulting from COVID-19 ”, a number of laws governing town meetings and municipal finance would be amended. Of note:

  • Annual town meetings could be postponed to later than June 30.

  • Towns could reduce the requirement for a quorum for a town meeting, regardless of an existing bylaw or charter provision.

  • Town meeting moderators would have authority to postpone a town meeting due to a public health emergency.

  • Towns could seek state approval to operate on “1/12th” spending plans if operating budgets are not approved by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

  • Towns could spend from revolving funds after June 30 based upon the prior year’s spending caps.

We understand that other bills may be filed soon to address municipal permitting issues – in particular hearing deadlines and constructive approval issues – resulting from the difficulty in holding meetings at this time.

Mirick O’Connell will continue to update clients about legal issues associated with the Coronavirus pandemic.