A Message From the Town Moderator
Our Annual Hingham Town Meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 24, 2017 at 7:00 PM sharp at Hingham High School. In our commitment to 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.
This year's meeting will again benefit from a few new features introduced in recent years, all designed to make our work more effective and efficient and all voters more comfortable and engaged.
We will again use or 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, again without regard to precinct, and keep an accurate count of how many voters have checked in, so that we will know immediately when a quorum has been reached. As we witnessed again last year, our town employees have done a masterful job in developing this system, which has improved voter check-in dramatically.
Additional Entrance With Senior Parking
Next, in addition to the two Union Street entrances that we will continue to use – the main entrance, near the auditorium, and the side entrance, closer to the playing fields – 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. 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.
Configuration & Seating
Next, the set-up in the gymnasium for the meeting will be in the new configuration introduced in 2013. Instead of the platform being at the far end of the room as you enter, it will be on the right side, in front of the bleachers. This change is intended to bring the voters forward, closer to the platform, and also to allow for better access to exits in case of an emergency. The seating should also be more comfortable than in the past, both in terms of sightlines and the seats themselves. In addition to the gymnasium, we will use the auditorium and the cafeteria as necessary.
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 continuous shuttle service starting at 6:15 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.
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 by 6:30 PM, so that 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 essential to the success of the meeting and to our continuing commitment to self-governance.
Michael J. Puzo, Hingham Town Moderator