BY: Citizens Count
Earlier this month, the town of Hampton filed a lawsuit against the State of New Hampshire, accusing the state of not doing enough to help cover the municipal costs associated Hampton Beach.
Hampton Beach is a state park, deeded from the town of Hampton to the state in 1933, following a devastating storm that destroyed much of the beachfront.
The suit, filed in Rockingham Superior Court, claims the state government is unfairly benefiting at Hampton’s expense. After all, the town is responsible for maintaining the sidewalks and providing emergency medical services at the beach, while the state collects around $2.2 million in parking revenue each year.
Arguments in favor of more state funds for Hampton
Hampton has about 15,000 year-round residents, but, in the summer tourist season, the population swells to 100,000. The town says it spends an extra $500,000 for police and ambulance services every year due to this influx of visitors.
Those who agree with the town of Hampton argue the state should do more to pay for the municipal costs associated with the beach. While Hampton does receive a portion of the state rooms and meals tax revenue, that portion is based on their year-round population rather than their much-larger summer population. Some believe the state should give more rooms and meals money to the town of Hampton, while others think the town should be allowed to levy property taxes on the approximately $69.7 million worth of land owned by the state.
Arguments against more state funds for Hampton
Those who side with the state say the lawsuit is unfounded. They argue that businesses in Hampton – including hotels and restaurants – benefit greatly from tourists visiting Hampton Beach State Park. Since the state park is such a boon to Hampton’s local economy, the town should continue to foot the bill for the extra emergency services required. They say the state does its fair share by maintaining the beach itself. Hampton should be grateful for the “problem” of having so many visitors each year.
Do you think the state of New Hampshire do more to help Hampton pay for emergency services and sidewalk maintenance at Hampton Beach? Comment below to share your opinion.