About the Advisory Committee
The primary function of the Advisory Committee is to review and make recommendations on all matters to be considered by Town Meeting. This includes all Annual and Special Town Meeting articles, including the Annual Appropriations Article with the proposed operating and capital budgets for the coming year. In carrying out these duties, the Committee "...may examine the books and records of any board, committee or officer of the Town so far as permitted by law." In addition to its advisory role to Town Meeting, the Advisory Committee is the only authority that may approve transfers from the Reserve Fund, established to address unforeseen or emergency expenditures.
The Committee consists of 20-30 residents of the Town with at least one elected Town Meeting Member appointed from each of the sixteen precincts. No more than 14 members may be at large. All members are appointed, by the Moderator for three-year staggered terms.
At its annual organizational meeting in July, the members of the Committee elect a Chair and Vice-Chair for the upcoming fiscal year. One of the Chair’s responsibilities is to assign each member of the Committee to one of seven subcommittees. The Chair selects a member from each subcommittee to serve as its chairperson. (A list of current officers and members for the current fiscal year is below.)
The Warrant for Annual and Special Town Meetings is closed 75 days before the opening session of the meeting. Once the Warrant is closed, the Advisory Committee begins its review of articles. The Chair of the Advisory Committee assigns the articles to the appropriate subcommittees. The Subcommittee Chairs then schedule and preside over public hearings on the articles. Notice of the public hearings is posted online on this Town of Brookline website at least 48 hours before the hearing. An effort is always made to notify petitioners and other interested parties. (Click this link to receive notices of Advisory Committee meetings, then click the small 'envelope' button next to Advisory Committee Meetings.) The public hearings provide an opportunity for both proponents and opponents of various issues to offer oral and written testimony in support of their views and for subcommittee members to ask questions.
The warrant for the Annual Town Meeting always includes an article to appropriate funds for the following year’s operating and capital budgets. Review of the budget begins once the Town Administrator’s Financial Plan is released in mid-February. The various elements of the proposed budget are assigned to the appropriate subcommittees and the same public hearing procedures mentioned above are followed.
After the public hearings take place, the full Advisory Committee schedules the issues for discussion. These meetings take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights in Room 103, Town Hall (currently over Zoom). Notice of the meetings is posted outside of the Town Clerk’s Office and an attempt is made to contact interested parties, particularly those individuals who attended the earlier public hearings. Meetings of the full Advisory Committee are open to the public but are not public hearings. At the Chair’s discretion, a non-member may be asked to comment or provide clarification on a matter.
The Subcommittees report on the results of their review, including any comments made at the public hearings, and then present their recommendations to the full Committee. The Committee takes a vote on each Warrant article (You can review Committee member votes for FY 21, for FY 22, for FY 23 and for FY 24) and the votes become the basis for written recommendations which are presented to Town Meeting in written form 15 days prior to the start of Town Meeting. The recommendations of the Select Board, who conduct a concurrent review of the articles, are also distributed at this time.
A list of subcommittees and a link to subcommittee reports may be found on the Subcommittee page.