Clock is Ticking for the City of Hampton
HAMPTON-The clock is ticking with little apparent early progress in formulating a plan to save Hampton from being dissolved. State lawmakers gave Hampton city leaders four weeks to come up with a plan to restructure the city. That decision was made last Thursday and now residents are wondering if city leaders are moving forward. Today we called the city leaders, visited some of their homes and workplaces, but we had no luck getting any of them to answer my questions. Most of them didn't want to comment while others were unable to be reached. The only one who was willing to talk off camera was William Goodge.
He told us as of this afternoon the board has not met or discussed any plans and he has no clue when they will.
"It breaks your heart to see that happen to your hometown," said Jim Mitzel.
Mitzel who was once the mayor of Hampton said he believes state lawmakers should give city leaders more time to save the city of Hampton because four weeks doesn't seem realistic.
"We are a good town. This town has good people. These residents don't deserve to have their town dissolve over bad management," said Jim Mitzel.
Earlier this year a state audit found widespread misuse of public funds.
"When I found out they were going to have an overall state audit of Hampton, I kept telling everybody this is not going to be good. When I was in there the bookkeeping was sketchy."
The audit found more than $8,000 in overpayments to the former city clerks, hundreds and thousands of dollars in untracked speeding ticket revenue and more than $11,000 in uncollected water revenue.
"It’s been run poorly for all these years and people in Hampton trusted these people and see what they got," said Hampton resident Virginia Bradley.
Now city leaders have less than 30 days to come up with a plan and some residents are hoping the board will get the ball rolling right now.
"That board's got to go in there, get their heads together and put their thinking caps on and say what we are going to do. What can we do to get a little bit longer reprieve to save this city. Get us financially back on track," said Mitzel.
But others residents say it's time for a change.
"They have only a month to get things up and going and i don't feel that is possible. I feel that the city would be best governed by the county because it has been so unused. All the money they have taken in has been lost," said Bradley.
If city leaders don't come up with a significant plan then Hampton would be run by Bradford County. That would take an act of the legislature.
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