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Role of Board of Selectmen
The Rye Board of Selectmen is a three-member Board as permitted by New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 41:8-b.  The Board’s grant of power comes from the State Legislature and can only exercise those powers specifically granted by Statute, ordinance or by-law or those powers within the authority of their office. There is no “Home Rule”.

In accordance with RSA 41:8, the Board of Selectmen functions as an executive branch to manage the “prudential” affairs of the town.  This allows the Board to carry out the details of the Town Meeting votes and gives the Board authority to spend money, sign deeds, appoint new officials, compose legal ordinances and policies and enter into contractual agreements.    The Board also acts as a collegial body in decision-making and conducting of town business. Under RSA 91-A, (“Right to Know”) all business, except in those situations specifically exempted by statute, must be conducted in a public session with duly posted notice.

The Board cannot interfere with the exercise of functions delegated by statute to other elected officials. However, the Selectmen have the right to obtain information from elected officials to hire personnel and set salaries (subject to appropriation by Town Meeting vote), to approve purchasing of supplies and to set rules governing safeguarding all municipal property and financial assets, RSA 41:9VI.  

The Selectmen have other duties prescribed by law that do not require Town Meeting vote.  Among these are the following:
  • Regulation of Municipal Highways and Commons ~ RSA 41:11
  • Layout of Highways ~ RSA 231:8-19
  • Order Repair or Demolition of Hazardous & Dilapidated Buildings ~ RSA 155-B
  • Health Regulations ~RSA 147
  • Tax Abatement Requests ~ RSA 147
  • Setting Fees ~ RSA 41:9 (Adopted)
  • Financial Accounting and Safeguarding
  • Election Duties -The Board is responsible for the physical setup at the polling place for Town elections. ~  RSA 658:9-a
  • Property Appraisal and Taxation:  Selectmen are responsible to assure that all taxable property in Town is inventoried and appraised and that a Warrant is issued to the Tax Collector for the collection of taxes ~ RSA 75 & 76
  • Litigation: The Board works to resolve claims that may be made against the Town and its departments with the assistance of Town Counsel.

Town of Rye, New Hampshire, 10 Central Road, Rye, NH 03870 | (603) 964-5523 | Website Disclaimer and Privacy Policy