Here's what to expect at the Lincoln FTM

Here's what to expect at the Lincoln FTM

LINCOLN - Lincoln taxpayers will head to the Lincoln High School auditorium, 135 Old River Road, on Monday, May 12, at 7 p.m. to vote on the town budget proposed for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Budget Board has recommended a $78.9 million budget, with a $51.11 million school budget, an increase of 3 percent; a $19.07 million municipal budget, an increase of 0.6 percent; and $4.9 million in capital resolutions. Also on the docket is a petition to add $500,000 to the school budget.

Here's what attendees should expect:

The meeting starts at 7 p.m., but residents must first sign in, and must anticipate some wait time.

Once a quorum of 100 residents is reached, the meeting will be called to order as motions for votes and discussions will be considered first for the resolutions, then the municipal budget, and followed by the $500,000 school funding increase petition, Budget Board Moderator Robert Turner said.

Budget Board members have discussed splitting that amount in two to separate funds for additional teaching staff from the funds for the medical claims. Should that happen, discussion and votes will happen for each.

If additional fund allocation is approved, the school department's bottom line must be adjusted before a vote is taken to approve it.

All decisions are made by the majority of voters, and Turner will have power to cast a deciding vote in a tie.

Any resident has the power to make amendments to increase or decrease the budget, up to 10 percent or $80,000, whichever is less. State law restricts increases of the tax levy to 4 percent.

According to the town charter, if there is no objection to an item during the first reading, the item passes. To object, residents must stand and state their names for the record, to be recognized to speak after the entire budget is read through once.

Once the resident is granted a chance to speak first, he or she must have a motion ready for those in attendance. If it is seconded, discussion begins. If it is not, the original item will be moved for passage.

Anyone who wishes to move for reconsideration of an item must speak up to Turner prior to the vote, or on the next item of business.

If that motion is seconded, it will be heard immediately and require a majority vote for passage, though a motion can be made to reconsider later in the meeting. If the reconsideration action passes, it will require a two-thirds vote to rescind or repeal the previous action.

An individual is limited to speaking twice, for three minutes maximum, on any one issue, and only after others have had an opportunity.

Should the meeting not end by 11 p.m., the FTM is to be recessed until the following day or vote to finish.

Back in 2003, the FTM was postponed when 1,200 to 1,500 residents showed up to the auditorium that seats 726. It was rescheduled to the following week at the Community College of Rhode Island fieldhouse.