Update Due to Coronavirus
As all of us deal with the ongoing health emergency flowing from the corona virus and COVID-19, and recognizing the Governor’s order of March 13, 2020, generally prohibiting until further notice gatherings of over 250 people, we do so mindful of Hingham Town Meeting, set to begin on Monday, April 27th.
For now, as public health officials and governmental leaders continue to monitor the situation and render advice on how best to proceed, we will leave the meeting date as scheduled. That said, we will be prudent with respect to a public assembly and exercise appropriate caution based on that advice. The health and safety of Hingham citizens and all those who are involved in Town Meeting is of paramount concern.
While it appears premature to propose today a proper course of action for a meeting that is still six weeks away, if it were to prove necessary or advisable to adjourn the meeting from its scheduled to a later date, that is an alternative available to us. Specifically, in the case of a public safety emergency, after consultation with public safety officials and the Selectmen, Massachusetts law allows the town moderator to continue the town meeting to a time, date and place certain. In such a case, there is no need to assemble the meeting or obtain a quorum in order to adjourn the meeting.
We will provide timely updates as soon as we can.
Michael Puzo, Hingham Town Moderator
March 13, 2020
A Message From the Town Moderator
Our Annual Hingham Town Meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 27, 2020 at 7:00 PM sharp at Hingham High School. The doors will open at 5:30 and early check-in is encouraged. With open town meeting, Hingham remains true to our tradition of vesting in each citizen both voice and vote, enabling all of us to play a pivotal part in the work of our town and in shaping its future. Your participation is heartily encouraged and warmly welcomed.
We will again use our computerized check-in system; this will enable you to use any of the entrances to the high school – without regard to voting precinct – and to go to the first available checker. All of the checkers will be linked into a shared computer system. This will allow them to check in voters as they arrive, so we will know immediately when a quorum has been reached. Our town employees have done a masterful job in developing this system, which has improved voter check-in dramatically.
Additional Entrance with Senior Parking
We will use two Union Street entrances, one of which will be used for guests. In addition, we will again use a third entrance. This third entrance will offer convenient parking exclusively for senior citizens and handicapped voters. That parking area will be accessed via the Pleasant Street entrance to the high school; the lot itself is to the right side of the high school when entering from Pleasant Street. There will be a police detail at this special parking area to ensure that it is used only as intended. There will be checkers at this third entrance, enabling easy access to the high school gymnasium, which will be the primary site for the meeting. In addition to the gymnasium, we will use the auditorium and the cafeteria as necessary, along with classrooms, one of which will be used for guests. While this third entrance will also be available for those who have parked elsewhere or walked to the meeting, please respect the use of this reserved parking for seniors and those with a handicap.
Off-site Parking & Shuttle Service
Mindful that parking is always at a premium and is expected to be so this year, we are grateful to our friends at South Shore Baptist Church, who have kindly offered to provide off-site parking. We will have shuttle service starting at 5:30 PM from the church lot- located at 578 Main Street at the corner of Main and Free Streets – to the high school and you are encouraged to use that facility. You will be able to board a shuttle and be whisked off to the high school and returned to the church lot as your needs dictate. We have also arranged for overflow parking, with frequent shuttle service, at Wompatuck State Park. That parking will be adjacent to the Visitor's Center off Union Street and will be opened only if the primary parking areas fill up.
A Final Word
Open town meeting is an essential element of what makes Hingham the engaged and vital community that it is. We have a full agenda this year and we should aim to be at the high school no later than 6:00 PM, so we can check-in, take our seats and start our work promptly at 7:00 PM. While there may be certain matters in which you have a particular interest, I urge you to participate fully in the meeting until we have finished the business before us. We aim to be efficient in our work and your thoughtful engagement as a Hingham citizen is critical to the success of the meeting and to our continuing commitment to self-governance.
Michael J. Puzo, Hingham Town Moderator