Free cash must be certified by the Director of Accounts as of July 1 of each fiscal year upon submission of a community’s balance sheet, and cannot be appropriated until certified. Once free cash is certified, it is available for appropriation by the town meeting or city council. It may be used for any legal purpose. However, depleting free cash to balance annual operating budgets may lead to tighter financial times. Free cash provides communities with a certain flexibility in that it is the major source of funding for any supplemental appropriations after the annual budget has been adopted and the tax rate has been set.