Hingham: Petition article may change middle school plans

Tuesday night during the Hingham Selectmen meeting it was announced that a formal petition, signed by 256 residents, was given to the board a day prior in regards to the new middle school project.  Some residents fear that building a new school will overwhelm the town with tax increases. The petition is an alternative proposal on how to approach the project rather than building a school from the ground up.

With a special town meeting quickly approaching, the hot button issue will be the progress of the middle school. Selectmen Laura Burns described how a petition article is handled when it’s time for town meeting, “Citizens can petition to have an article put on the warrant and for regular town meeting if 10 citizens sign a petition the article goes on the warrant. For special town meeting it requires 100 and so the article we were discussing has come has a petition article signed by over a hundred citizens.”

The Hingham School Building Committee was invited to give an update to selectmen about the new middle school. So far, a design and budget have been proposed but now the committee is waiting to hear from the Massachusetts School Building Authority about what the town will receive as a reimbursement percentage.

Chair of the building committee Ray Estes didn’t let on to what the big budget number is but he did give the board a possible reimbursement number, “At this point, when we talked about numbers last night we talked about them in the context of receiving 43.42% as a maximum just to be conservative and perhaps more realistic.”

Once a reimbursement percentage is defined by the MSBA next week, the project cost will then be presented during a special town meeting which is tentatively set for October 24th. The building committee will present the project budget and reimbursement percentage to Hingham Selectmen September 6th.

During the selectmen meeting, the DPW gave an update about the town swap shop. This open area by the transfer station has become quite popular for residents to leave old goods and find new treasures.

Due to the landfill capping, the “shop” was closed in order to reduce traffic. However, the DPW reevaluated the transfer station and announced it will be back in business soon enough.

Selectmen Burns explained that though she’s happy to hear the swap shop will be running again, she understands the current location is not ideal, “We have a committee, The Long Range Waste Disposal and Recycling Committee, and we are looking at after capping the landfill is done finding a new location for the swap shop that takes it out of traffic and makes it easier for people to engage in that activity without getting run over.”

The tentative reopen date is September 8th. The swap shop will be available to Hingham residents Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.