Aquarion Water Company held a forum at the Hingham Middle School Tuesday night, to discuss a $500,000 town meeting article to see if it’s feasible for the town to acquire the company.
Aquarion stood their ground with their pro-company, anti-feasibility study, anti-takeover position, projecting a figure of over $130 million just for the town purchase the water treatment plant.
Aquarion will meet in closed session with town attorneys and the Town Administrator on Thursday, to talk about one of the main precursors to the feasibility study warrant article; last year’s water main breaks on Union Street, which had neighbors and even the Fire Chief up in arms.
Selectman Bruce Rabuffo insinuated that it’s the threat of a takeover that has Aquarion willing to come to the table.
Rabuffo said, “I am intrigued by the fact that four months ago, in December, Aquarion said they couldn’t fix Union Street when they met with the selectmen. They’ve now asked for permission to come talk with us Thursday night to talk about fixing Union Street. Now if we have to threaten to buy them to get something fixed, that’s one of the issues we have to square out and Union Street is just one, among many.”
Aquarion Vice President of Operations Harry Hibbard responded by saying, “When Union Street came up when I was at the selectmen’s meeting in December, our capital budget was already set. It was around that time and prior to the town announcing the feasibility study that we realized that this was a chronic problem that had to be addressed, at least to reduce the outages for the people in the Trip-Hammer neighborhood. We have in place a plan to do that. We’re going before the selectmen on Thursday night for a grant of location, so we can begin that work.”
A takeover of Aquarion could also affect the towns of Cohasset and Hull.