To the Editor:

Over the last 16 months, the reconstituted Economic Development Committee (EDC) has worked tirelessly with the businesses and citizens in town to find common ground and seek the best path for reasonable and appropriate economic growth of the Route 1 corridor. In one meeting of the Budget Committee, all that work has been jeopardized because of one memberís desire to remove $7,000 from the proposed FY2020 budget.

During the budget preparation process, the Select Board discussed and approved collectively as a whole, the potential need for available funds for the EDC to continue its work in the coming year. Hence a newly created line item for the EDC was added to the budget. The proposed amount of $7000 was based on this past yearís investment of $6,300 for a town-wide survey facilitated by UNH Survey Center and the recent partnering with UNH Cooperative Extension to participate in their multi-year Business Retention & Expansion Program. It should be noted that UNH waived a program fee of $ 2,500 to encourage our participation. At this past Mondayís Budget Committee meeting, Rick Stanton moved a motion in front of the committee to remove these funds from the newly created Economic Development Committee line item in the budget and this motion passed. These funds, if not used, would have been returned to the general fund.

The recent revaluation of the town has shifted a large tax burden to the low to moderately priced residential properties from the expensive properties. Also, it should be noted, in this revaluation, the commercial property along Route 1 has stagnated or reduced in value. The result of these two shifts is a dramatic increase in the tax bill for most of the low to moderately priced residential properties in North Hampton. This negatively affects these household budgets and the overall quality of life of our community. This is in stark contrast to what is happening in the Seacoast communities surrounding us.

North Hampton has a unique opportunity to attract unique businesses to our town, like many that already operate here. We have an airfield, the largest drum store in the US, two premium motorcycle dealerships, a great butcher, fishmonger, grocery stores, cool restaurants, car dealers, furniture stores, athletic businesses and many other services too many to mention. The EDC would like to work with the community to encourage these business activities. Funding is required to not only retain and develop, but to draw the right partners to do business in North Hampton.

It should be mentioned that, Mr. Stanton is a member of both committees. From his actions, economic investment in our community is not his priority. With cautious and deliberate development of the Route 1 corridor, we can help offset the unbalanced tax burden that is crushing many of our citizens and improve the quality of life of our community.

As usual Mr. Stanton will not step up and figure out how to offset spending by investing a small amount of funds to help find new avenues of revenue. We need to stop playing politics and work for the betterment of the community for both the residents and businesses. I intend to continue to work with the EDC to seek reasonable and appropriate economic growth of the Route 1 corridor to help counterbalance the unbalanced tax burden put on sections of this town by encouraging improvements of commercial property, encouraging new sources of revenue that will improve the quality of life for all North Hampton.

Kathleen M. Kilgore

North Hampton