May 12, 2022 submitted by Kirk Shilts
I was asked to join the Sewer Commission to help develop a modern town utility that is not only well-functioning and cost-efficient, but answerable to Hingham rate-payers who depend on it. What I discovered isn’t entirely pretty. Our sewer department employees do a great job at maintaining our town’s two sewer systems. Their dedication is commendable. And the DPW Superintendent’s role at keeping costs down has been great. But recognizing long-standing deficiencies and planning for the future has been and remains somewhat lacking. This is where the Commission’s role lies. But unfortunately, the Commission is hindered by the lack of dedicated staff. We’ve been unable to meet with our own consultant engineers or legal experts. We were unwittingly led to close the Weir River Sewer District to additional hook-ups based on out-dated facts and assumptions. And wastewater planning for South Hingham remains non-existent. It’s been frustratingly odd. But fortunately the solution is obvious and quite simple. We need a town sewer administrator. A dedicated sewer administrator would interface between the Commission (planning, rates & policy) the DWP (daily operations) and the Town Administrator (logistics). A sewer administrator would keep our sewer utility organized, progressing toward resiliency, and guide our initiatives and capital projects through completion. And the position is likely less than full-time and drawn from existing personnel. When initially elected, I promised the town’s people I would do my best. I want to keep my promise. I’ve given you my opinion. Please consider returning me to the Sewer Commission to help accomplish what you expect and deserve.