By Carol Meyer
While Hingham is considered to be an affluent town, that's not true for some of its residents.
During a recent financial snapshop leading into the new budget season, Selectman Chairman Karen Johnson emphasized the board’s goal of “preserving the financial diversity of Hingham’s population.”
That said, the $841,276 average assessed home value and accompanying $10,000-plus annual tax bill make meeting that objective more challenging than ever.
Fifty percent of Hingham households have an annual income of less than $100,000. By 2020, 47 percent of the households will have members age 65 and over -- with many of those on fixed incomes.
Selectman Mary Power noted that the board has heard from Hingham seniors (and some other residents) of limited means who are finding it more and more difficult to remain in town. Efforts have been successful in increasing the town's "affordable" housing stock, but there's not enough to meet the need.
Among the Selectmen's top priorities are providing some tax relief, exploring public/private partnerships for some of the costly capital projects on the radar screen, pursuing grant and other funding opportunities, and working toward more development in South Hingham that’s appropriate for the area to help decrease the tax burden on residential property owners, who shoulder most of the tax burden.
Can you think of other ways to help maintain diversity in Hingham, including residents of different backgrounds and financial means?