Departments: Board of Selectmen
2015 Annual Town Meeting
Monday, April 27, 2014, 7:00 PM
Hingham High School
DRAFT Town Meeting Working Articles
Please see the Advisory Committee Documents for items related to Budget Hearings and Warrant Articles.
A Message from the Town Moderator
Our Annual Hingham Town Meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 27, 2015 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 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 computerized 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 last year, our town employees have done a masterful job in developing this system and it 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 and Seating
Next, the set-up in the gymnasium for the meeting will be in the new configuration introduced last year. 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 likely need to use the auditorium and, possibly, the cafeteria to accommodate all voters.
Off-Site Parking and 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 6:00 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 quite 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
TOWN BY-LAWS: ARTICLE 2 - TOWN MEETING AND NOTICE THEREOF
SECTION 1 The annual town meeting for the transaction of all business except the election of such officers and the determination of such matters as by law are required to be elected or determined by ballot shall be held on the fourth Monday of April in each year at seven o'clock P.M., except that in the year 1976 said annual town meeting shall be held on the first Monday of May at seven o'clock P.M.
SECTION 2 The annual election of such and the determination of such matters as by law are required to be elected or determined by ballot shall be held on the Saturday following the fourth Monday of April in each year. At this and all town elections the polls shall be opened at eight o'clock A.M. and remain open until eight o'clock P.M.
SECTION 3 At state elections the polls shall open at seven o'clock A.M. and remain open until eight o'clock P.M.
SECTION 4 (a) Except as otherwise required by law, notice of every town meeting shall be given by posting, at least seven days before the day appointed for the meeting, an attested copy of the warrant therefor in the Town Office Building. Compliance with this paragraph (a) as to any meeting shall constitute valid notice thereof.
(b) If the Hingham Journal or any other newspaper is at the time circulated in the town as a local newspaper, the Selectmen shall publish in one such newspaper, at least seven (7) days before the date on which at any meeting there is to be an election of officers, or other action by official ballot, a statement of the time and place at which the polls will be open, and a copy of so much of the warrant as refers to the business then and there to be done, provided that except as otherwise provided by law compliance with the provisions of this paragraph (b) shall not be a requisite of valid notice of any meeting, and noncompliance therewith shall not affect the validity of any meeting or action taken thereat.
SECTION 5 (a) At least seven (7) days before the day appointed in the warrant for any annual town meeting, the Selectmen shall cause a copy of the warrant and a copy of the report of the advisory committee thereon to be delivered to each occupied dwelling house, tenement and hotel in the town, by mail or by any method determined by the Selectmen. Provided, however, that if it appears to the Selectmen that for any reason timely distribution of the warrant under this paragraph will not be made, and if the Hingham Journal or any other newspaper is at the time circulated in the town as a local newspaper, they shall publish an attested copy of the entire warrant in one such newspaper at least seven (7) days before the day appointed in the warrant for the meeting.
(b) At least fourteen days before the day appointed in the warrant for any special town meeting, the Selectmen shall cause a copy of the warrant to be delivered to each occupied dwelling house, tenement and hotel in the town, by mail or by any method determined by the Selectmen. Provided, however, that if it appears to the Selectmen that for any reason the timely distribution of the warrant under this paragraph will not be made, and if the Hingham Journal or any other newspaper is at the time circulated in the town as a local newspaper, they shall publish an attested copy of the entire warrant in one such newspaper at least fourteen days before the day appointed in the warrant for the meeting.
(c) As soon practicable after the adjournment of any town meeting, on a vote to adjourn to another day, the Selectmen shall cause a brief statement of the day and hour to which the adjournment was voted and of the business remaining to come before the meeting to be posted in the same place where notice of the town meeting was posted pursuant to Section 4 of this Article, and if the period of adjournment will permit, shall cause a similar notice to be published in some one newspaper, if any, circulated in the town as a local newspaper.
(d) Except as otherwise required by law, compliance with this Section 5 shall not be a requisite of valid notice of any meeting of any action taken thereat.
SECTION 6 In connection with each article made a part of the warrant for a town meeting there shall be inserted in the warrant, the name of the town board, department or other town entity proposing the article, and in the case of an article inserted pursuant to a petition to the Selectmen, the name of the first person signing such petition and the words 'and others'.''
SECTION 7 The warrant for the annual town meeting shall close on the twentieth day of January, except that the closing date for all zoning articles shall be December first; provided, however, that the Selectmen shall open the warrant within such period for the insertion of additional articles to the extent that compliance with any provision of law shall require, or whenever in their reasonable opinion there remains sufficient time for compliance with the provisions of Sections 4, 5, and 6 of this Article and with the provisions of Article 14. The warrant for a special town meeting shall close on the day determined by the Selectmen who shall cause notice of said date to be posted in the Town Office Building.
SECTION 8 (a) Each matter produced for insertion in a warrant for an annual or special town meeting, whether by a Town board or by petition, shall be submitted to the Selectmen in the form of the complete text of the proposed article accompanied by the full name and contact information of a knowledgeable representative of the proponent. In the case of an article submitted by petition, the submission also shall include the required signatures of at least ten registered voters of the Town in the case of an Annual Town Meeting or 100 registered voters of the Town in the case of a Special Town Meeting.
(b) The Selectmen, no later than ten days after any of the following: the January 20th date described in SECTION 7, the closing date of a re-opened warrant described in SECTION 7 or the closing date of the warrant for a special town meeting shall: (i) cause to be posted in a clearly identified position on the Town's website, a complete copy of each submission described in Section 8(a) above; and, (ii) transmit a copy of such submissions to the Advisory Committee; and (iii) make available for viewing or purchase a paper copy of such submissions."
SECTION 9 The number of voters necessary to constitute a quorum at town meetings, except such parts of meetings as are devoted exclusively to the election of town officers, shall be three hundred; provided, however, that a number of less than three hundred may from time to time adjourn the same.
TOWN BY-LAWS: ARTICLE 3 - PROCEDURE AT TOWN MEETINGS
SECTION 1 ‑ All sessions of any town meeting shall be public to the extent required by law. At any session of a town meeting held for the transaction of town business (other than for the election of such officers as are required by law to be elected by ballot) no person whose name is not on the list of voters shall be admitted to that part of the hall reserved for voters, and this provision shall be enforced by use of such list. The moderator shall determine the bounds of the reserved space.
SECTION 2 ‑ Printed copies of the warrant shall be furnished the voters at all town meetings.
SECTION 3 ‑ Articles in the warrant shall be acted upon in their order, unless the meeting by vote otherwise determines.
SECTION 4 ‑ All reports, motions, and resolutions submitted for the consideration of the meeting involving the expenditure of money shall be in writing and any other report, motion, or resolution shall be reduced to writing if the moderator so directs.
SECTION 5 ‑ No person shall speak more than twice upon any question, except for the brief correction of an error in or misunderstanding of his previous statement, unless all other who have not spoken on the question shall have spoken if they desire to do so, and unless leave of the meeting is first obtained.
Section 6 – Without the permission of the moderator, no person shall speak on any subject for more than six (6) minutes for the first time or more that three (3) minutes for the second time.
SECTION 7 ‑ Every person desiring to speak shall arise and address the chair and, after recognition is obtained, shall stand while speaking, unless the moderator otherwise directs.
SECTION 8 ‑ Except as otherwise required by law, all votes shall be taken in the first instance by voice vote. If the moderator is in doubt as to the results or if seven voters rise and express doubt as to the result declared by the moderator, a standing vote shall be taken, except that the vote shall be by ballot in such manner as the moderator shall determine if either the Advisory Committee or fifty (50) voters promptly call for a ballot vote. On matters requiring a two‑thirds vote, the moderator may declare two‑thirds in favor by voice vote, and a count need not be taken unless a standing vote or a ballot vote is required in accordance with this Section.
SECTION 9 ‑ When a question is before the meeting, the following motions, to wit:
To lay on the table,
For the previous question.
To postpone to a time certain,
To commit, recommit or refer
To postpone indefinitely,
shall be received and shall have precedence in the foregoing order, and the first three shall be decided without debate.
SECTION 10 ‑ No vote shall be reconsidered except after the affirmative vote of two‑thirds (2/3) of the voters present and voting on a motion to reconsider such vote.
SECTION 11 ‑ A motion to reconsider any vote must be made before the final adjournment of the meeting at which the vote was passed; provided, however, that such motion to reconsider shall not be made at an adjourned session of the meeting unless the mover has given notice of his intention to make such a motion either at the session of the meeting at which the vote was passed or by written notice to the town clerk not less than twelve hours before the hour to which adjournment has been voted and not more than forty‑eight hours after the hour of adjournment of such session. A vote shall not be reconsidered a second time or after a motion to reconsider it has failed to pass.
SECTION 12 ‑ At a special town meeting, not held within the annual town meeting, no amount of money shall be appropriated for any purpose (1) if the Advisory Committee recommends to the meeting that no amount be appropriated for that purpose or (2) which is in excess of the amount recommended to the meeting by the Advisory Committee for that purpose, except in either case by the affirmative vote of two‑thirds (2/3) of the voters present and voting on such appropriation.
(Section 12 was submitted by the Town Clerk to the Attorney General on 7/27/87. It was adopted after no action by the Attorney General within 90 days as specified in Chapter 40, Section 32 of the Massachusetts General Laws)