Hampton voters reject $15.7M project to fix pothole plagued streets

HAMPTON – A $ 15.7 million bond project to reconstruct the potholed Winnacunnet Road and High Street encountered a roadblock at the town meeting on Tuesday.

While the majority of voters backed the project with 1,576 votes to 1,353, it didn’t get the 60% required for approval.

“I’m disappointed,” said Selectman Rusty Bridle. “Some of the biggest complaints in this city over the past three years have been the state of the roads.”

“I think they want to ride these roads,” said Selectman Regina Barnes.

The article, which included funds to replace sewer / drainage and sidewalks, urged the city to commit $ 13.7 million over a 30-year period. The remainder of the balance would have come from the Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund and the city’s unallocated fund balance of one million each.

The article was rejected by the city’s budget committee and the rational Hampton taxpayers who were trying to get on two major roads at the same time.

Last year, voters overwhelmingly supported spending of $ 435,000 from the Road Improvement Capital Reserve Fund to develop engineering and design plans for the project.

Jennifer Hale, assistant director of public works, said the study led to this year’s arrest warrant article.

The recent survey and camera inspection of the infrastructure beneath Winnacunnet Road and High Street found areas of both streets in disarray, areas where drainage is not working, and sewer pipes that are broken or cracked.

First-time voter Jake Joiner, 18, who lives in Hampton, is looking for a polling station at Winnacunnet High School Tuesday morning.

Voters backed all of the other monetary items on the ballot, including the city’s $ 29.1 million budget and new employee contracts for the Teamsters, DPW, and the firefighters.

Voters also supported an article on the Petition Order to add a social media guideline to the Chosen’s Code of Ethics and to set up an ethics committee to review complaints about possible violations.

The article was brought forward by a group of Hampton residents who were outraged by Selectman Regina Barnes’s political social media posts.

While the article was declared non-binding by City Attorney Mark Gearreald, it was largely supported by 1,923 votes to 917.

Another non-binding petition article was also approved. The article requires approval from the city council before a new city location is created.

In the school election, voters approved the budget of US $ 24.4 million and a new contract for teachers.

Volunteers fight outside Winnacunnet High School as voters come in on Tuesday morning.

Sawyer, Waddell win Hampton Selectmen seats

Retired Police Chief Richard Sawyer is the town’s newest chosen one.

Sawyer and incumbent Jim Waddell were elected to the board in Tuesday’s election. Sawyer defeated reigning Mary-Louise Woolsey to take her place on the board.

Waddell was the top elector with 1,658 votes, followed by Sawyer with 1,571 votes. Woolsey was third with 1,218 and Sharleen Hurst fourth with 867.

In other races, Brian Warburton and Katherine Harake were elected to the two seats on the Budget Committee, defeating incumbent Michael Plouffe and political newcomer Matthew Saunders.

Tracey Emerick and Anne “Tocky” Bialobrzeski were elected to the planning authority, while William O’Brien and Erica de Vries won the two seats on the zoning board.

Incumbents Frank DeLuca and Wendy Rega defeated Gerald Znoj and Kathleen Terry in the four-way race for two seats on the Hampton School Board. Rega was the top voter with 1,522, followed by DeLuca with 1,492.

Kathleen Sacco, who lives in Hampton, submits her ballot at Winnacunnet High School Tuesday morning.

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