Citizens of Hingham will decide at our Annual Town Meeting (7:00 pm on Monday, April 22 2019 at Hingham High School) whether to purchase our part of the Aquarion water system. The goal of Citizens for Hingham Water is to help voters learn about the compelling case for buying the water company, so we can make an informed decision together.
Currently, 55% of what we pay for water leaves Hingham. We can afford to buy the company and improve maintenance of our system by keeping those funds and investing them right here in Hingham — without raising your taxes.
Town Meeting Warrant (Articles 10-13)
The full 2019 Town Warrant (PDF) is available here.
What will Hingham get out of buying the water company?
Local power to protect and preserve this precious resource
Local control of our water distribution system
Local control over water rates
Greater opportunity to reduce lost water, which is now almost one in every five gallons
More than half of what we pay for water currently leaves Hingham – we’ll retain those funds
Maintenance on our own schedule as needed, not constrained by private-profit obligations to investors
Why is town ownership better than letting a private business do it?
A private company must pay profits to its investors and consequently, puts its investors’ interests first. But utilities should operate for the public good, not private gain.
Municipal water companies put their communities first. About 96% of cities and towns in Massachusetts are served by public water systems, unlike Hingham.
Aquarion has little incentive to reduce the 200 million gallons lost yearly, since we pay for it in our rates. That’s a lot of water to lose, especially when we face water bans every summer!
The town will also gain more control over impacts to and management of our watershed.
Can we afford this?
Yes. We’ll borrow the money (and make bond payments) over 30 years. But those payments will come from the water rates we already pay, not from taxes.
Fully 55% of what we pay for water leaves Hingham and goes to pay corporate overhead, borrowings from lenders, and profits to stockholders. With that money, we can pay for the company, maintain the system better, and reduce the increases in water rates that we face if the company stays in private hands.