On Petition of Kim Grondin and 25 or more registered voters, to see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $100,000 for the purpose of providing the additional funding needed to complete the reconstruction and associated activities of the Grist Mill Dam, also known as Mill Pond Dam. The sum of $100,000 of this amount is to come from the Town’s Unassigned Fund Balance. This will be a non-lapsing appropriation per RSA 32:7, VI and shall not lapse until the work is completed or by March 31, 2020, whichever is sooner?
Note: The additional funding is requested as the original value of the project was based on an opinion of cost from preliminary plans completed over five years ago. Competitive Bids have been received for the reconstruction of the Dam and are based on actual field conditions and a fully engineered design. The State of New Hampshire Dam Bureau required the Town of Hampton to either repair or remove the existing dam or face daily fines for not complying with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Letter of Deficiency dated July 11, 2012. If this warrant article does not pass, a future warrant article will be required with additional money to meet the requirements of the State.
What it means: The Grist Mill Dam was originally approved by voters for minor repairs in 2012 at a cost of $34,000. Later in 2012, the Town received a notice of deficiency from the state that required either decommissioning or reconstruction by the Town. In 2014, the voters agreed to decommission (deconstruct) it at a cost of $400,000. The following year, a group of concerned citizens put forward a Warrant Article to rescind the deconstruction decision along with its funding but instead to raise $650,000 to restore it. That funding was approved by the voters, but unfortunately, with the passage of time and with new engineering studies, the money raised with the latest appropriation was insufficient. The latest request for $100,000 along with the earlier funding will allow the Town to complete the reconstruction of the Grist Mill dam.
Those in favor say: The Grist Mill is a critical part of our Town’s heritage. It, along with the Blacksmith Shop, the two fish houses, the cooper shop and the school house on the Tuck museum grounds are the last of the early historic buildings left around. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. From a financial standpoint, if the Town does not proceed at this point – it will likely require additional funding to go back to the deconstruction plan. Some of the appropriated funds have already been spent on the engineering work to date. So the requested funds not only preserve an historic landmark, it is also the least expensive way forward.
Those against say: The taxpayers have already contributed to maintaining it. If more dollars are required, could the group of concerned citizens not raise the remaining balance privately? (There is also lack of clarity about who owns the pond and dam. It had been generally believed that they were privately owned but more recent research indicates no conveyance of the pond and the dam to any party other than the Town of Hampton.)
Fiscal Impact: No tax impact in 2018 because the dollars would be taken from the Unassigned Fund Balance.