Hingham Anchor Opinion by Mark Cullings

"Patsies?"

Monopoly (mo.nop.o.ly) (noun): “The exclusive possession or control of the supply of or trade in a commodity or service.”

Cash Cow (cash.cow) (noun): “A product or service that makes a lot of money over a long period of time for the company that sells it.”

Milk (milk): (verb): “… to get as much from that thing or person as possible,”

Patsy (pat.see) (noun): “A person who is easily taken advantage of….”

Aquarion is the Monopoly, we ratepayers are the Cash Cows (it gets $.55 of every water bill dollar) and we’re all being Milked and played for Patsies.

Fortunately, we can fix it. At Town meeting on April 22, Hingham citizens can exercise a 140-year old legal right. We can buy the company. The Monopoly will do most anything to stop us. Don’t let it happen.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What incentive is there for the Monopoly to act in our best interests? None. A monopoly is the antithesis of a free market.

  • Why does the Monopoly continue to imply a threat to other important town needs? It’s a patently false scare tactic. No tax impact.

  • Does “Break then fix” sound like it’s in our best interests for an aging infrastructure? The Monopoly does and there’s nothing we can do about it, until we own it.

  • Why, suddenly, when the town formed the Water Company Acquisition Study Committee in 2012, did the Monopoly’s rates suddenly fall? Could it have been the whiff of [dare we say it] competition?

  • Why does the Monopoly trash Hingham’s ability to run a water system when 96% of Massachusetts’ cities and towns do? An inconvenient truth?

  • Why does the Monopoly imply that the Selectmen are incompetent leaders? Many of the 40 towns having water systems similar in size to ours are run that way. Another inconvenient truth?

  • Why does the Monopoly say it’s too expensive? Independent analyses show that Hingham not only can afford to buy it but that it will also repay the debt and improve services within the current and proposed rate structure. No impact on its AAA bond rating.

  • How can the Monopoly claim that it is a good steward of the nearly 300 acres of Hingham wetlands it owns? Hingham taxpayers have spent almost $9,000,000 acquiring acreage to protect our priceless aquifer. The Monopoly has spent $0.00 since 1975.

  • Why does the Monopoly want us to believe that losing Department of Public Utilities oversight is dangerous? The Department of Environmental Protection handles water quality and safety. There’s no change and no threat. I prefer complaining to our Town Hall rather than a faceless bureaucracy.

  • Just what is this “fair rate of return” that the Monopoly expects when it applies for a rate hike? The DPU just handed the Monopoly a 10.5% rate of return. It’s now in your water bill. I wonder how business people in competition with each other for survival define “fair”?

The answers are for you to decide. I’m voting Yes on Article 10.