Glossary of Terms

The following terms are frequently used in the Annual Town Report and at Town Meeting. In order to provide everyone with a better understanding of our Town government, the following definitions are provided. You can also download this glossary as a PDF.

If you find a term or an acronym that needs to be added, please email us!

Note: These are not legal definitions, but are explanations to help residents who are new to Lexington's Town Meeting form of government.


Appropriation Committee

Available Funds — "Free Cash"

The amount certified annually by the Bureau of Accounts, Department of Revenue. The certified amount is the Unreserved Fund Balance less all outstanding taxes. This fund may be used by a vote of the town meeting as available funds for appropriation.

Available Funds — Other

Usually refers to balances in special funds or to balances remaining in specific articles previously appropriated. These balances become available for re-appropriation by Town Meeting (or are returned to the town's general fund balance).


Improvements to a property or to surrounding infrastructure, such as roads or sewers, that boost the value of a property. Also used to refer to fees paid by property owners who benefit from these betterments.

Brown Book

Recommended Budget and Financing Plan, which is presented at the Annual Town Meeting.


Capital Expenditures Committee

"Cherry Sheet"

A financial statement issued by the State, at one time on cherry-colored paper, that itemizes state aid due to the town, and charges payable by the town to the state and county

Citizen Petition

An article added to the Warrant for a Town Meeting by 10 or more registered voters of the town.

Consent Agenda

Articles that are proposed to be acted on collectively, by a single vote. These are often routine matters. Individuals articles can be removed from the Consent Agenda and discussed separately.


Community Preservation Act


Community Preservation Committee


Economic Development Advisory Committee

Encumberment of Money

Money set aside for a specific purpose, which has not yet been spent. Often used for money carried over to the next fiscal year for a project which is not yet complete.

Enterprise Fund

A self-supporting account for a specific service or program that the town operates as a separate "business." Enterprise funds do not depend on taxes for operating revenue. For example, water operations are funded through the water enterprise fund, which receives funds from a consumption based fee system. Ideally, enterprise resources and expenditures should balance over time. Funds in enterprise accounts do not revert to the general fund at the end of the fiscal year.


Facility Condition Index: a quality rating expressed as a comparison between the cost of repairing a facility to like-new condition, versus the cost of fully replacing that facility.

General Fund

The municipal fund accounts for most financial expenses and revenues approved by town meeting. The tax levy is the principal source of revenue in the general fund.


Historical Commission


Historic Districts Commission


Notice of Reconsideration: A motion to reconsider a vote that has concluded.


Other Post-Employment Benefits: Primarily healthcare benefits offered to retirees.


The overlay is the amount raised by the Assessors in excess of appropriations and other charges for the purpose of creating a fund to cover property tax abatements and exemptions granted by the Board of Assessors.

Reserve Fund

This appropriation is voted at the annual town meeting in an amount not to exceed 5% of the tax levy of the preceding year. Transfers from the reserve fund are approved by the Appropriation Committee and may only be used for "extraordinary or unforeseen expenditures."

Revolving Fund

Revolving funds are used for a particular service. An overall limit on spending is set by Town Meeting but may be subsequently amended by vote of the Select Board and Appropriation Committee. The funds can be used for the service without appropriation up to the approved limit.

Town Meeting Members

Lexington has a Representative Town Meeting. Each of Lexington's precincts elects Town Meeting Members to represent them and vote at Town Meetings. This is different from smaller towns, which have Open Town Meeting, where the residents themselves vote on the motions. 


The Town Meeting Warrant is the official list of articles that will be taken up at the Town Meeting.

White Book

The Town Manager's Preliminary Recommended Budget and Financing Plan, which is submitted to Town Meeting.

Zoning Districts

Governmental-Civic Use Districts

  • GC: Governmental-Civic Use

Residential Districts.

  • RO: One-Family Dwelling
  • RS: One-Family Dwelling
  • RT: Two-Family Dwelling

Commercial Districts.

  • CN: Neighborhood Business
  • CRS: Retail Shopping
  • CS: Service Business
  • CB: Central Business
  • CLO: Local Office
  • CRO: Regional Office
  • CM: Manufacturing
  • CSX: Commercial Service Expanded

Planned Development Districts

  • RD: Planned Residential Development
  • CD: Planned Commercial Development
  • PD: Planned Development

Overlay Districts

  • NFI: National Flood Insurance
  • TMO: Transportation Management Overlay

Zoning Overlay Districts proposed at 2023 Annual Town Meeting

Article 34 Motion (PDF)

  • VO: Village Overlay
  • MFO: Multi-Family Overlay
  • VHO: Village High-Rise Overlay