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General Laws

Section 32. Within one hundred and seventy days after the annual organization of the city government in any city other than Boston, the mayor shall submit to the city council the annual budget which shall be a statement of the amounts recommended by him for proposed expenditures of the city for the next fiscal year. The annual budget shall be classified and designated so as to show separately with respect to each officer, department or undertaking for which an appropriation is recommended:—

(1) Ordinary maintenance, which shall also include debt and interest charges matured and maturing during the next fiscal year, and shall be subdivided as follows:—

(a) Salaries and wages of officers, officials and employees other than laborers or persons performing the duties of laborers; and

(b) Ordinary maintenance not included under (a); and

(2) Proposed expenditures for other than ordinary maintenance, including additional equipment the estimated cost of which exceeds one thousand dollars.

The foregoing shall not prevent any city, upon recommendation of the mayor and with the approval of the council, from adopting additional classifications and designations.

The city council may by majority vote make appropriations for the purposes recommended and may reduce or reject any amount recommended in the annual budget. It shall not increase any amount in or the total of the annual budget nor add thereto any amount for a purpose not included therein except on recommendation of the mayor, and except as provided in section thirty-three; provided, however, that in the case of the school budget or in the case of a regional school district assessment, the city council, on the recommendation of the school committee or on recommendation of a regional district school committee, may by a two-thirds vote increase the total amount appropriated for the support of the schools or for the regional district schools over that requested by the mayor; and provided, further, that no such increase shall be voted if it would render the total annual budget in excess of the property tax limitations set forth in section twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine. Except as otherwise permitted by law, all amounts appropriated by the city council, as provided in this section, shall be for the purposes specified. In setting up an appropriation order or orders based on the annual budget, the council shall use, so far as possible, the same classifications required for the annual budget. If the council fails to take action with respect to any amount recommended in the annual budget, either by approving, reducing or rejecting the same, within forty-five days after the receipt of the budget, such amount shall without any action by the council become a part of the appropriations for the year, and be available for the purposes specified.

If, upon the expiration of one hundred and seventy days after the annual organization of the city government, the mayor shall not have submitted to the city council the annual budget for said year, the city council shall, upon its own initiative, prepare such annual budget by June thirtieth of such year, and such budget preparation shall be, where applicable, subject to the provisions governing the annual budget of the mayor.

Within fifteen days after such preparation of the annual budget, the city council shall proceed to act by voting thereon and all amounts so voted shall thereupon be valid appropriations for the purposes stated therein to the same extent as though based upon a mayor’s annual budget, but subject, however, to such requirements, if any, as may be imposed by law.

If the council fails to take action with respect to any amount recommended in the budget, either by approving, reducing or rejecting the same, within fifteen days after such preparation, such amount shall, without further action by the council, become a part of the appropriations for the year, and be available for the purposes specified.

Notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary, the mayor may submit to the city council a continuing appropriation budget for said city on a month by month basis for a period not to exceed three months if said city has not approved an operating budget for the fiscal year because of circumstances beyond its control.

Nothing in this section shall prevent the city council, acting upon the written recommendation of the mayor, from voting appropriations, not in excess of the amount so recommended, either prior or subsequent to the passage of the annual budget.

The provisions of this section shall apply, in any city adopting the Plan E form of government under chapter forty-three, only to the extent provided by section one hundred and four of said chapter.

Neither the annual budget nor appropriation orders based thereon shall be in such detail as to fix specific salaries of employees under the direction of boards elected by the people, other than the city council.

The city council may, and upon written request of at least ten registered voters shall, give notice of a public hearing to be held on the annual budget, prior to final action thereon, but not less than seven days after publication of such notice, in a newspaper having general circulation in the city. At the time and place so advertised, or at any time or place to which such public hearing may from time to time be adjourned, the city council shall hold a public hearing on the annual budget as submitted by the mayor, at which all interested persons shall be given an opportunity to be heard for or against the proposed expenditures or any item thereof.

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