Advisory & Finance Committee Overview

The Advisory and Finance Committee is an essential part of Plymouth Town government. Formed under the statutory requirements of Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 39, Section 16, the Advisory and Finance Committee is charged with making reports and recommendations to the Town on any and all municipal questions.

The committee is part of the legislative branch of Town government, and makes recommendations on all warrant articles presented to Town Meeting for consideration. While its' primary responsibility revolves around the detailed review of the Town's annual budget, making recommendations for revision, and presenting the budget to Town Meeting for approval, the Town Charter and Town Bylaws require the committee to consider all matters proposed to be acted on at all Town Meetings.

In practice, the committee serves to investigate and research actions proposed for Town Meeting action, and to advise on those actions. As such, the committee is responsible for supplying much of the information necessary for the legislature to make informed decisions and, therefore, plays a critical communication role in the affairs of the Town.

To meet that critical communication need, the Advisory and Finance Committee is an integral participant in the Precinct Caucuses, serving to share the information it has gathered during its review of warrant articles with Town Meeting representatives, and to answer questions posed by representatives, even those that may not have come up during the committee's deliberations.

Originally established by the Massachusetts legislature as a fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of Massachusetts communities, finance committees allow a representative group of taxpayers to conduct a thorough review of municipal finance matters on behalf of all taxpayers. In addition to the required review of the proposed budget, finance committees may advise towns on fiscal policy, financial planning, and budget guidelines.

At a high level, the responsibilities of Plymouth's Advisory and Finance Committee include:

  • Review, conduct public hearings, and advise on the approval of the annual Town budget and other financial matters,
  • Review, conduct public hearings, and advise on the approval of all proposed Town Meeting actions,
  • Serve as an investigation, research, and general information gathering arm of Town Meeting, including conveying information to Town Meeting and its representatives,
  • Approve appropriations from the Finance Committee Reserve Fund for emergency and unforeseen financial events, and
  • Approve, in conjunction with the Board of Selectmen, budget transfers during certain periods of the fiscal year.