Written May 2020:
Letter sent to Governor's Office today. Maybe I will receive a response back. As a selectman in Hampton, I asked for my Board to demand a response to these questions last night and the majority refused. One even stated that I was "electioneering!" So I will try again, it has been sent to Governor Chris Sununu, D.J. Bettencourt and the Reopen Task Force. As an elected official to one of the largest town's in the state, I would argue responses are expected. Let us see...
Honorable Governor Chris Sununu
Office of the Governor
107 North Main Street
Concord, NH 03301
In Hampton, we many concerned taxpayers that simply do not understand what the repercussions will be if the town does not collect property tax revenues, regardless of what some may think and portray, we are a blue collar town, a working class town. Our small business owners also are getting hit pretty hard, so I would support a cut made to BPT and BET taxes here in NH, similar to what occurred in 2016, not an increase as proposed by the democrats. I realize that the state will take a hit on revenues as well, however, I would argue if we could trim or cut all together unnecessary social programs, services & regulations at the state level and leave the revenues in the cities and towns, that the state as a whole will be able to rebound at a more rapid pace. In Hampton, if the town were to outsource some of its services to the private sector, who also necessitates the revenues, then municipalities could save money and small businesses could now do some of the government provided municipal services using their private sector technology, experience, & competitive pricing.
I truly hope that when the legislature reconvenes ,the majority of the executive council, senate, & house understand that budget & fund spending must be conservative for the foreseeable future, more unnecessary red tape cut, and additional bureaucracy and regulations avoided, & no state income tax!
As an elected selectman to the town of Hampton, I still have not received correspondence back from neither Governor Sununu’s Policy Maker DJ Bettencourt nor the Senate & House bipartisan leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief & Recovery, aka GOFERR task force in regards to my direct inquires about the $1.25 billion received in federal stimulus. I would argue that is unacceptable and quite sadly routine behavior noticed by many taxpayers in the town of Hampton.
Below are several questions/inquiries I have gathered from constituents in regards to reopening the state, I hope that they can be at least acknowledged and perhaps addressed by the task force.
Reimbursement for Hampton. We received the good word yesterday from Governor Sununu that Hampton will be receiving approximately $359,000 from the $40 million allocated back to municipalities to deal with COVID-19 additional expenses from March 1 - August 30, 2020.. Will this adequately cover Hampton’s costs? What if the amount is not adequate? At the beginning of April, the state received federal relief and allocated $90 million to state education, when children are at home with their parents and schools and their extracurricular activities have been closed; additionally another $33 million was allocated to federal transportation grants? What this exactly accomplishes for the municipalities and its taxpayers is beyond me, there was no allocation directly back to municipalities as part of that federal relief and that was disappointing to see. Municipalities represent the taxpayers’ wallets. Please explain.
I have heard several complaints that residents/taxpayers were not able to park in the north beach lot on king's highway this weekend because it was filled with out-of-state plates? Someone should let the Governor know that the out-of-staters have been here the entire time. Perhaps we should discuss closing 1A not just for the pandemic but from June 1- Aug 31 every season? Keep it for walkers, runners and bicyclists? We could make Ashworth two-way during the summer months and leave the front strip open space for visitors of the beach and its state parks.
Outside dining, will patrons be able to go inside the building to get to outside decks? Will the indoor bathrooms be available in each business location or does that not meet Stay At Home 2.0 requirements?
What is the status of opening beaches up with restrictions? Some beaches in Massachusetts and Maine are open. Taxpayers have the right to enjoy what they have paid for. How can a crowded indoor liquor store or grocery store be safer than a wide open beach? Jacksonville Florida, with a metropolitan population of 1.524 million has opened up its beaches with restrictions. Mayor of Jacksonville defined beaches as “essential.” Other FLA open beaches include Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach, also Savannah, and Myrtle Beach have opened. There are 1000s of people on these beaches supporting their small businesses, it is summer there and only spring here, what is the holdup for NH?
What is the update on testing and PPE on the seacoast. I see we keep getting PPE shipments to NH, did we not get an adequate supply from the federal government? Every DC coronavirus task force meeting I have watched has stated that if a state needs any supplies, to just ask and it will be delivered in a matter of hours. Also there was a governors meeting with the President last week, where the administration asked states again if they were in need of any supplies, I am assuming Governor Sununu was in attendance? Does the state not have an adequate supply of PPE and/or testing?
I also would like details on how COVID-19 deaths are classified. Any death is a tragedy, however, if someone were to pass from a heart attack that was or was not tested for COVID, how is this death being classified today? I have heard hospitals are being financially reimbursed for each COVID patient? What are the local hospital statistics on COVID-19 patients?
Why is there no direct correspondence and/or communication with the Governor’s reopen task force and the elected body of one of the largest towns in the state?
Thank you for your attention to these matters,
Regina M. Barnes
Vice Chairman to the ELECTED Hampton Board of Selectmen, resident, citizen and native of our LIVE FREE OR DIE STATE!