Opinion: Invest in Hingham……WE Can Do It!

October 5, 2022 by Diane DeNapoli

Over the next month Hingham residents will be asked to exercise our democratic right to vote.  Not once but TWICE, November 1rst at Town Meeting and on November 8th in the Mid Term Election, on issues that will have a significant impact on the future of Hingham.

As someone who unabashedly thinks of herself as a Patriot, I have had sleepless nights worrying about if America will end up in another Civil War.  I sometimes feel like I just need to “tune out” the news as I wonder how, and why, we have reduced each other to labels or colors like “Red State” vs “Blue State”.  We are all citizens of the United States of America.

My social hibernation ended abruptly about two weeks ago when a good friend called me up and simply asked “would you help educate people about the upcoming Special Town Meeting”.  Without hesitation I said “YES” and within 72 hours I found myself packed into a kitchen with about 15 other women, and one brave man, who were ready to roll up their sleeves and make sure that Hingham came out to vote “YES” to get the shovels digging on the Foster School and the Public Safety Building.

I have been a long-time, and public, supporter of building a new Foster School and the Public Safety Building.  However, like many people I am balancing the needs for these projects with the reality of inflation and what feels like an unstable economy.  I also know this is just the start of what I assume will be about a long phase of major investments in Hingham’s facilities and infrastructure.

I looked at my projected tax increase due to these buildings and I had to fully process what the cost of action vs. non action would mean to me personally and to the community.   For full disclosure I do not have kids in the Foster District or in the Hingham Public Schools so the potential for redistricting would not impact my own family.  I live in South Hingham, and I know some have been concerned about the Public Safety Building being on the North side of town.   And lastly, I will admit I am solidly middle class and think of myself as a fiscal conservative who always looks for ways to save money, will take on just about any DIY job in the house, uses coupons and tries to always put something away for a rainy day.

My conclusion was that fully investing in Hingham was going to require my family to plan differently, spend judiciously and that I was fortunate to be able to support this effort.   I looked at systems the town might have in place for those who will have a harder time shouldering the tax increase.  I know this will be a greater sacrifice for some and yet I still firmly believe if we are going to be members of this community we need to work together and start building Hingham’s future.

I was mulling this all over when I took a walk at the Shipyard.   I was looking at the murals of the men and woman, residents of Hingham, who during the Great Depression so proudly built the great Navy Ships that helped the Allies win WW2.   One of my neighbors was a Rosie the Riveter at the Shipyard and has told me stories about standing for 8-hour shifts using heavy equipment while her husband served in the European front.   These brave men and women are not called the “Greatest Generation” for nothing.

The collective spirit of sacrifice, a call to duty, and a will to build when we maybe at our most vulnerable individually should not just be something we read about in a history book.  Hingham, once again, can define and stand united for community, commitment to each other and a combined determination to build for future generations who will call Hingham home.

I respectfully ask you to consider joining the Invest in Hingham campaign.  For more details on how you can become involved please follow us on https://www.facebook.com/InvestInHingham   and  https://www.instagram.com/investinhingham/

We CAN Do this Hingham!

Vote Yes on Foster and the Public Safety Building

Special Town Meeting Nov 1 7:00 PM Hingham High School

Election Day November 8th

4 thoughts on “Opinion: Invest in Hingham……WE Can Do It!”

  1. Perhaps out of control federal government spending trends has normalized acceptance of overspending at our local level. Massachusetts citizens passed Proposition 2 1/2 for a reason. Perhaps Hingham citizens do not realize that many seniors, most of whom would never, ever, countenance taking any type of financial assistance, will be forced to leave the town they have raised their families in and have called home for decades. Perhaps the diversity, so often touted as being welcomed in Hingham, does not include diverse age or income. After nearly 50 years in my beautiful town, I won’t be here to help pay for the pool, the school, or the public safety building.

  2. I am 74 years old and on a fixed income. I understand and empathize with fellow Hingham citizens who may find the real estate tax increases looming ahead difficult to afford. But please consider the following: 1. Seniors who are now “cashing out” (several in my neighborhood this year) with their homes going for 5 times or more what they paid for them, many, over $1 million, are reaping the (untaxed) benefits of the many years of public infrastructure investments that have made Hingham a desirable location. I sincerely hope that no one is forced to leave Hingham due to taxes. But staying, and continuing to enjoy the amenities, has to include supporting ongoing, needed investment in this beautiful town, as we have traditional done. The alternative is a slippery slope – if we won’t invest in our children, and support out first responders, what will we support? 2. Fully 40% of the cost of Foster is being paid by the MSBA. Foster is projected to add $396 to the property tax on a median valued home ($739,400); the new Public Safety Building will add $258, for a total of $654. As an offsettting factor, using the overage in this very conservatively managed town’s Unassigned Balance Fund for the proposed new Stabilization Fund could reduce that bill in the early amortization years by more than $600. I’m to believe that there are large numbers of people in this Town who would be unable to find $54? 3. The Town has a number of (greatly underutilized) tax abatement programs for those still experiencing hardship. As a senior, I have to say that I do not believe that my contemporaries’ values are such that they would deny children the educational facilities they deserve because they are too proud to access (anonymously, by the way) the assistance available to them. Fellow seniors, don’t let other people speak for you – assert yourselves. I plan to vote YES on these warrant articles tomorrow. I may have to tighten my belt, but I am going to love seeing my little grandson flourishing at the new Foster school. Please join me – there is always a way to do the right thing.


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