Town Meeting is Saturday!
A Message from your Moderator, Michael Puzo
On Saturday, May 8th, at 2:00 P.M., we will convene the 2021 Hingham Annual Town Meeting. We’ll be on the Hingham High School Multi-Purpose Field and observe all applicable health-related safeguards. We have a full agenda, ranging from a proposed budget of almost $134 million, questions concerning Community Preservation, Climate Action and the Design Phase of the proposed Public Safety Facility, along with a host of other issues - roadway improvements, reconstruction of the Town Pier, Zoning and Land Use issues, and revising municipal terms to be Gender Neutral.
As citizens of Hingham, we must never take for granted the privilege of self-governance that we enjoy. Open Town Meeting is at the heart of Hingham’s character - a community committed to making thoughtful decisions on matters of common concern. Please arrive early, so that we can establish a quorum and begin promptly at 2:00 P.M. Full details can be found readily of the Town’s website.
Michael J. Puzo, Hingham Town Moderator
- Please bring your own face covering. All Town Meeting attendees and staff are required to wear a face covering for the entire Town Meeting, including while waiting in line to register, unless exempted due to a medical condition. Face coverings should cover each attendee’s nose and mouth and fit snugly against the side of the face.
- We encourage attendees to dress appropriately for the weather and to bring hats, sunscreen, personal umbrellas for shade, blankets, etc. Please note that heels are not allowed on the turf field as they can damage it.
- Attendees will be seated at least 6 ft. apart. Attendees from the same household may sit together.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the venue.
- Microphones will be sanitized after each use.
- Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized as needed.
- Water will be available at two stations on the field.
- You should not attend Town Meeting if:
- You are feeling ill or are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms such as fever (100.4⁰ and above), cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat; or
- You have been advised to self-isolate or quarantine due to a COVID-19 exposure.
- Parking will be available at three lots at the High School: the front parking lot, back parking lot (behind the building), and the far parking lot (down Union Street on the other side of the fields).
- Accessible parking will be located closest to the northeast entrance of the field (Entrance B on the attached map). The drop-off location for attendees with disabilities and/or mobility challenges will also be located near Entrance B.
- Staff will be directed to park at the far side of the far parking lot to allow Town Meeting attendees access to the spots closest to the multi-purpose field.
- Shuttle transportation will not be provided this year to avoid close contact in vehicles.
ARRIVAL & REGISTRATION
- All Town Meeting staff will be identified by lanyards.
- Registration will begin at 12:30pm.
- Attendees will be able to enter the multi-purpose field at three gates – the northwest gate/Entrance A (closest to the back parking lot), the northeast gate/Entrance B (closest to the front parking lot), and the southeast gate/Entrance C (closest to the far parking lot).
- A registration station will be set up at each of the three entrance gates. Registration stations will be staffed by Town employees.
- Staff will use a contact-less computerized check-in system to register attendees.
- Each registration station will have a plastic barrier set up to separate staff from attendees.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be available at each registration station.
- When waiting to register, attendees will queue 6 ft. apart from one another. Lines have been painted on the ground in the queue areas every 6 ft. to help maintain social distancing between attendees waiting in line.
- Individual seats will be spaced apart by at least a 6 ft. radius.
- Seats will be organized into five sections facing the visitors’ bleachers with an aisle separating each section.
- There will be a section of seats reserved for individuals with disabilities in Section 1 near Entrance B (see turquoise section near the front of the field on attached map).
- There will also be a guest section of seats reserved for non-voters in Section 1 near Entrance A (pink section near the back of the field on attached map).
- Attendees will choose their own seats, maintaining social distancing.
- The Town Moderator, Advisory Committee, Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk, Town Administrator,
- Assistant Town Administrator, and Town Counsel team will all sit on the visitors’ bleachers spaced at least 6 ft. apart.
- Social distancing of at least 6 ft. between attendees, including staff, should be maintained at all times.
- The Town Moderator will move through the meeting with purpose.
- If a ballot vote is called, we will conduct the ballot vote the same way we normally would, but at a much slower pace as attendees are called row by row to cast their ballots at the front of each seating section to avoid clustering at the ballot box.
- Attendees will leave one at a time through the same three gates they used to enter the multipurpose field.
- Boston Sound & Light will configure and operate a sound system with speakers and microphones across the multi-purpose field.
- Boston Sound & Light will provide 50 assisted listening devices for the meeting, most of which will be available at Entrance B. The devices are “belt packs” that come with different headset options (neck loop, headphones, or single earspeaker). Attendees may also plug their own headsets into these devices. Assisted listening devices will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, or attendees may reserve one ahead of time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Microphones will be set up at various points on the field for attendees to use to address Town Meeting. Boston Sound & Light staff will sanitize microphones after each use.
- There will be no screen set up at Town Meeting and no live PowerPoint presentations.
- Hand sanitizing stations will be available at each registration desk, at each microphone, and
- spaced periodically throughout the attendee seating area.
- Attendees will be able to access restrooms (porta-potties) near the northwest gate/Entrance A of the multi-purpose field, as well as the restrooms in the field house near the southwest gate of the field. Restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized as needed.
- Two water stations will be set up on the multi-purpose field (see attached map).
- Trash and recycling bins will be available throughout the venue.
- The Town will stand up an Incident Management Team to develop detailed public safety plans that include site security, staffing, staging of emergency response vehicles, emergency response and evacuation plans, traffic and parking control plans, etc.
- Field lighting will be turned on in the event that the meeting runs into the evening.
- The rain dates for Annual Town Meeting will be outdoors at Hingham High School on Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 2:00pm and Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 2:00pm.
- In the event of inclement weather on Sunday, May 16th, Annual Town Meeting will be held inside the High School that day with participants spaced at least 6 ft. apart in the gymnasium and auditorium. All public health and safety measures planned for the outdoor facilities will be employed with the indoor plan.