Shall the Town of Hampton vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $147,500 for the purpose of replacing the outfall culvert below the Grist Mill Dam on High Street and to perform a drainage study of Meadow Pond, and to fund said appropriation the sum of $73,750 to come from the Unassigned Fund Balance, a fund containing unexpended appropriations from prior years as of December 31, 2015, and the sum of $73,750 to be raised by taxation? (Majority vote required.)
NOTE: In 2014 the Town appropriated $235,000 for this purpose, which was to be supplemented by $147,500 from the State of New Hampshire if the dam was breached. In March of 2015 the Town voted not to breach the dam but to rebuild it reversing its prior vote, the State withdrew its assistance of $147,500 to replace the culvert and to do the study. This Article will fund the remaining appropriation of $147,500 needed to complete the work. If this article does not pass, the previously raised amount will be surrendered to surplus and the project cancelled.
What it means: The Town originally voted to decommission the Grist Mill Dam. In conjunction with that, a state grant was available to re-build the culvert under High Street. When the voters subsequently voted to reconstruct the dam rather than take it down, the state funding was lost. This Article seeks to raise the funds via additional taxation.
Those in favor say: The culvert is undersized for the flow of water it handles, and replacing it has been on the list of needed items since the late 80’s. There is a lot of flooding in the area and replacing the culvert will help. The drainage study will help guide the Town’s efforts to resolve the flooding issues in the most efficient way possible. Proactive replacement of the culvert and doing the drainage study is in line with recommendations of the Coastal Risk and Hazards Commission. Better to do the work in a planned way rather than reacting in a crisis.
Those against say: One concern is that we don’t know yet if the Grist Mill Dam will be able to be reconstructed or if it will need to be decommissioned (based on issues having to do with the dam itself and the cost to repair it). Whatever the answer, it will affect how we proceed with the culvert. Better to await the final resolution of the Grist Mill Dam and then do a drainage study with that information in hand. Another concern with the Article relates to whether or not there is flooding on High Street, or whether or not the problem is bad enough to warrant fixing it – as opposed to many other areas of poor drainage in town.
Fiscal Impact: The average Hampton home valued at $329,000 would bear an increased tax cost of $8.55 if this Article passes. This appropriation request only affects 2016.