Board Of Selectmen Approve Warrant And Reduce Quorum To 200 For Outdoor Town Meeting On November 21st
“The main event tonight is the next agenda item,” quipped Board of Selectmen Chair Mary Power at the start of last night’s meeting, “and that is the discussion of proposed MBTA Hingham, ferry and Greenbush rail service cuts.” Sen. Patrick O’Connor, Reps. Jamie Murphy and Joan Meschino, CEO of South Shore Chamber of Commerce Peter Forman and the town’s representative to the MBTA David Alschuler were all in…
The Trustees of Reservations just announced that World’s End is one of five properties that have a planned opening date of Tuesday, May 19th Here’s what you need to know: Parking lot capacity will be limited to 50% No transactions for parking will occur on-site…
At the Harbor Development Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Route 3A Task Force member Deirdre Anderson announced that the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a second round of funding for the Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary Project as part of its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-25. The new funding amounts to $4 million.
The Selectmen have signed and issued the Warrant for Special Town Meeting that is scheduled for Saturday, November 21st and will be held on the multipurpose field at the high school. Extreme heat was a concern at Annual Town Meeting in June, but cooling stations will be replaced with warming huts at next month’s Meeting. Backup plans have been put into place so that the Town can stay on track with a vote to approve the purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln Street in the Shipyard which will be the site of a new Public Safety Facility and will house police headquarters and the North Street Fire Station.
The lot, which is assessed for $3.5M and was appraised for $4M in February prior to communities seeing an impact on commercial real estate due to COVID, has a negotiated price of $5.475M. “We are prepared to pay a premium for this property,” said Town Administrator Tom Mayo. The current owners purchased the property in 2016 for $1.545M which means they would see a return on their investment of almost 254% in just four years.
Concerns over being able to achieve a quorum for Annual Town Meeting were expressed in the spring. In response to those concerns, the Selectmen chose to take advantage of a provision in new rules resulting from the pandemic that allow municipalities to bypass certain components of the Open Meeting Law. Hingham could have reduced the quorum size from 300 to 30 as was permitted; however, the Town ultimately set it at 200. The Articles on the Warrant require a 2/3 approval vote which means that 134 voters, or just 0.5% of the population, could make the final decision.
During this week’s meeting, Chair Mary Power pointed out that Mayo had suggested the Town follow suit for Special Town Meeting. The recommendation was unanimously approved by all three selectmen but is subject to the approval of Town Moderator Michael Puzo who is in charge of the Meeting.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mayo said about the reduction in the size of the quorum. “Better safe than sorry. You just never know in this situation. The town’s business is important.”
The business at hand is a parcel that the Selectmen have identified as an ideal location for a Public Safety Facility. At this point, the Articles on the Warrant simply pertain to the purchase of the land; however, the Selectmen are well within their right to reopen the Warrant and add other Articles, like zoning bylaw changes, to it.
Members of the Board of Selectmen:
Mary Power, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Fisher, email@example.com
Bill Ramsey, firstname.lastname@example.org