TOWNS, CITIES, VILLAGE DISTRICTS, AND UNINCORPORATED PLACES
POWERS AND DUTIES OF TOWNS
31:5 At Special Meetings.
I. (a) No money shall be raised or appropriated or shall any appropriation previously made be reduced or rescinded at any special town meeting except by vote by ballot, nor unless the ballots cast at such meeting shall be equal in number to at least
1/2 of the number of legal voters borne on the checklist of the town entitled to vote at the annual or biennial election next preceding such special meeting; and such checklist, corrected according to law, shall be used at any meeting upon the request of 10 legal voters of the town. This section shall not apply to money to be raised for the public defense or any military purpose in time of war or to money to be raised for the purpose of financing broadband infrastructure bonds under RSA 33:3-g. In case an emergency arises requiring an immediate expenditure of money, the selectmen may petition the superior court for permission to hold a special town meeting which, if granted, shall give said meeting the same authority as an annual town meeting.
(b) "Emergency" for the purposes of this section shall mean a sudden or unexpected situation or occurrence, or combination of occurrences, of a serious and urgent nature, that demands prompt, or immediate action, including an immediate expenditure of money. This definition, however, does not establish a requirement that an emergency involves a crisis in every set of circumstances.
(c) To verify that an emergency exists, a petitioner shall present, and the court shall consider, a number of factors including:
(1) The severity of the harm to be avoided.
(2) The urgency of the petitioner's need.
(3) Whether the claimed emergency was foreseeable or avoidable.
(4) Whether the appropriation could have been made at the annual meeting.
(5) Whether there are alternative remedies not requiring an appropriation.
II. On or before the date of filing the petition with the superior court, the selectmen shall forward a copy of the petition and the warrant article or articles, by certified mail, to the commissioner of the department of revenue administration. The petition to the superior court shall include a certification that the commissioner of the department of revenue administration has been notified pursuant to this paragraph.
III. In the event that the legislative body at an annual meeting amends or rejects the cost items or fact finder's reports as submitted pursuant to RSA 273-A, notwithstanding paragraphs I and II, the selectmen may call one special meeting for the sole purpose of addressing all negotiated cost items without petitioning the superior court for authorization. Such special meeting may be authorized only by a contingent warrant article inserted on the warrant or official ballot either by petition or by the governing body. The wording of the question shall be as follows: "Shall (the local political subdivision), if article
__________ is defeated, authorize the governing body to call one special meeting, at its option, to address article
__________ cost items only?" The refusal of the legislative body to authorize a special meeting as provided in this paragraph shall not affect any other provision of law. Any special meeting held under this paragraph shall be combined with the revised operating budget meeting under RSA 40:13, XI, if any, and shall not be counted toward the number of special meetings which may be held in a given calendar or fiscal year.
IV. When the selectmen vote to petition the superior court for permission to hold a special town meeting, the selectmen shall post notice of such vote within 24 hours after taking the vote and a minimum of 10 days prior to filing the petition with the court. The selectmen shall post notice of the court date for an evidentiary hearing on the petition within 24 hours after receiving notice of the court date from the court. Such notices shall be posted at the office of the selectmen and at 2 or more other conspicuous places in the town, and in the next available edition of a local newspaper with a wide circulation in the town.
Source. 1876, 2:1. 1881, 69:2. PS 40:4. 1917, 161:1. PL 42:5. 1927, 56:1. RL 51:5. 1943, 37:1. RSA 31:5. 1989, 172:1. 1991, 166:1, eff. July 26, 1991. 1997, 317:1, eff. Aug. 20, 1997; 318:1, eff. Aug. 22, 1997. 1998, 55:1, eff. July 4, 1998. 2022, 183:1, eff. June 15, 2022.