Advisory Committee unanimously supports proposed $151.36 million municipal/school override budget

March 15, 2023 By Carol Britton Meyer

There were more than 310 participants in last night’s Zoom Advisory Committee meeting, many with  a colorful “I support the override” graphic by their screen names. There was no in-person meeting in addition to the planned remote option due to the weather forecast. The School Committee also attended the meeting.

After reading through the proposed Fiscal 2024 balanced and level services budgets line by line  — including $1.876 million in additional requests for the latter — the Advisory Committee unanimously supported the proposed overall $151.36 million municipal/school budget that is contingent on passage of a permanent $7.9 million operating override — to cover a deficit in both budgets plus the additional requests — at the April 24 Town  Meeting and also at the April 29 town election through a ballot question. Both must pass by a majority vote.

The school budget comprises $65.7 million of the overall budget amount, not including the additional requests that were not included in the initial proposed level services budget — totalling $701,874. The town side of the budget also includes additional requests.

“This has been a long and difficult process, and I think we all did a nice job putting together the [proposed] budget,” Advisory Committee Chair George Danis said. “We have been inundated with letters from people who are concerned about these budgets, which were forwarded to committee members. We want to say thank you very much [to those who sent them].”

Danis went on to express appreciation for the “outstanding support and cooperation we have had from the town administrator and his staff, municipal department heads, school administrators and the School Committee, and the Select Board. Without this collaboration, it wouldn’t be possible for us to vote these budgets tonight. The process can seem never-ending, but we’re all trying to consider what’s in the best interests of our citizens,” he said.

If the override doesn’t pass, Danis went on to say, reductions would need to be made that would make it difficult to deliver the same quality of services to which citizens have become accustomed.

“Some of the proposed cuts [that go with a balanced budget rather than a level services one] would also have a dramatic effect on our schoolchildren and the school system,” Danis continued.

At the same time, he noted, there are concerns about the impact passage of the override would have on property taxes.  “That’s certainly not insignificant.” (See related chart  representing Fiscal 2024 property tax impacts, which are expected to increase in Fiscal 2025 and 2026.) Danis explained that property owners would experience a roughly 10 percent increase in their property taxes for Fiscal 2024 alone if the override passes.

The figures include tax impacts associated with the proposed override and the new Foster School and new public safety facility, but not the Town Meeting-approved new South Shore Country Club pool.

In related business at the meeting, Danis said that the Advisory Committee will vote on the “final final” Memorandum of Understanding among the  School Committee, Advisory Committee, and Select Board at its meeting Thursday night (March 16).
This Fiscal 2024-2028 MOU — also referred to as a  financial management plan — will constitute a public commitment to the residents and taxpayers of the Town of Hingham in conjunction with the proposed Fiscal 2024 $7.9 million operational override that efforts will be made to exercise fiscal discipline while continuing to provide quality municipal and educational services.

The understanding is that no further operational overrides would be sought until at least Fiscal 2028 if the proposed FY2024 override passes.

“All I will say tonight is that the School Committee voted to support the MOU last night (March 13) with a few minor editorial changes, and the Select Board will take up that revised MOU at their meeting [on March 15],” he said.

1 thought on “Advisory Committee unanimously supports proposed $151.36 million municipal/school override budget”

  1. When I was on the Zoom meeting, there were over 290 participants. The reporter needs to check the participant numbers throughout the discussion, not just at the start of the meeting.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.