The Board of Finance is responsible for approving a budget total for the Board of Education, and the budget for the Board of Selectmen. In the former case, they may accept or reject, increase or decrease the amounts recommended by the Selectmen for major categories, but they may not specify the amounts appropriated for individual items within those categories. In other words, they do not have what is called a "line item veto".
Generally, the Board requires two or three meetings before approving the budget. The Board also holds a public hearing, which is warned and held two weeks before the Town vote. At that hearing, any voter may ask questions, request explanations, or express opinions about the budget. Copies of the budget, estimated revenues, are available through the Town Clerkand Website. The final budget is presented at a Town Meeting on the second Friday in May for a vote. If the budget is not approved, it must be reconsidered by the Board of Finance and revised, in cooperation with the Board of Selectmen and/or Board of Education for resubmission to the Town Meeting, and this process is repeated until the budget is finally approved.
Setting the Mill Rate
Setting the Mill Rate, which is the tax rate stated in mills, is done by the Board of Finance within five days of the adoption of the annual budget by the Town Meeting. One mill equals one dollar in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value. To determine the mill rate, the Board of Finance subtracts the total estimated non-tax revenue from the total budget appropriations. The balance is the amount that must be raised through property taxes. This amount is then divided by the Grand List total to determine the required mill rate.
Once the mill rate has been set, the Tax Collector computes the amount of taxes owed by each property owner included in the Grand List. Sharon's fiscal year is from July 1 to June 30, inclusive. Taxes are due and payable in four installments, on July 1, October 1, January 1 and April 1.