Glossary of Terms
by Stuart DeBard, Esq.
annotated by Roland Chaffee

Acceptance - Approval by a town of a special act or general statute to be in force. May be rescinded.

Annual Town Meeting- Town Meeting to transact business for the upcoming Fiscal Year, in Adams it is normally held on Tuesday following Memorial Day.

Appropriation- Amount of money voted to be spent for a specified purpose.

Audit- Examination of the Town's financial records by a disinterested party, usually a CPA firm.

Available Funds - Funds generated by the Town and set aside for future appropriation.

Borrowing - Short term borrowing in anticipation of current taxes (TAN's) or grants/bonds (GAN's/BAN's) or long term borrowing by bonds.

Bonds- Long term borrowing for specific purposes. Length and purpose set by statute.

Bureau of Accounts - Part of the Department of Revenue which oversees Municipal Finance.

Charter - Plan of government adopted by ballot in force in the Town.

Chapter 70/71- Statutes covering public education of all children.

Cherry Sheet- Forms received each year from the state listing the Town's estimated State Receipts as well as State, County, and Regional Charges. (Pink and Green in color).

Conflict of Interest- Law restricting town officials in business dealings with their town.

Classification (Taxes)- Division of the real estate tax by the Board of Selectmen into one rate for residential properties and open space, and another for commercial and industrial properties, not normally done in Adams.

Classification (Personnel)- Bylaw establishing salary ranges and increments as well as benefits and employment practices.

Debt Limit - 5% of equalized valuation, up to 10% with state approval.

Equalized Valuation- System for 100% real property valuation between towns for State Aid purposes.

Estimated Revenue - Item on the tax rate calculation (can be either State or Local).

Finance Committee - Group of citizens who review budgets - also called Warrant Committee or Advisory Committee.

Fiscal Year- July 1st through June 30th. Designated by the year in which it ends.

General Laws - State Statutes. Usually of broad effect.

Grants - Moneys received from State and Federal Governments outside of normal Local Aid.

Line Item- Each individual item within a department's budget (i.e., telephone, electricity, supplies, etc.).

Local Aid - Moneys collected by the State and transferred to the Town under various formulas.

Local Receipts- Moneys collected by various Town departments devoted to offset appropriations.

Mandates- Programs ordered by the State. Prohibited unless State funded.

MMA- Massachusetts Municipal Association. Association of municipalities for mutual assistance.

Omnibus Budget- Collection of Operating Expense and Personal Service departmental budget items.

Overlay- (Provision for Abatements and Exemptions) - Amount added to tax levy to take care of uncollectables and exemptions.

Overlay Surplus- (Fund Balance Reserved for Extraordinary and Unforeseen Expenditures) - Accumulated amount of unused overlay from previous years.

Override- Referendum vote to levy in excess of 2 1/2%, 5% or for bond expenses.

Proposition 2 1/2 - Statute limiting tax levies.

Recapitulation Sheet - Summary of sources and uses of funds. Submitted to State by Assessors as a basis for setting tax rate.

Regional School Budget- Must be approved by 2/3 of member communities. Not limited by Proposition 2 ½.

Reserve Fund - Fund to provide for extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures. Transfers are in the exclusive control of the Finance Committee.

Special Town Meeting- Meeting held after or during Annual Town Meeting to transact business that normally is of an unexpected nature.

Stabilization Fund - Fund appropriated for future capital needs. (Savings Account for "rainy day").

Surplus Revenue(Unreserved Fund Balance) - Amount by which assets exceed liabilities and Reserved Fund Balances. (Retained Earnings).

Town Administrator - Professional charged with the day-to-day operations of the Town.

Transfer - Authorization to use an appropriation for a purpose other than original.

Valuation - Full and fair cash value which would be paid for real property.

Warrant- List of articles (subjects) to be brought up in a Town Meeting.