State Senator Sylvia Larsen (D-Concord) today made formal a written request to Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts to pay over $4 million in unpaid obligations to cities and towns in the Merrimack Valley Flood Control Compact. Massachusetts has not paid any of its obligations into the Compact since 2006.
New Hampshire and Massachusetts entered the Merrimack River Valley Flood Control Compact in 1957. Under the compact, Massachusetts agreed to reimburse New Hampshire 70 percent of the amount of property taxes lost because of the acquisition and ownership of the dams and reservoirs in the project.
Despite the annual obligation of the compact, five years have passed sinceNew Hampshire last received payment under the agreement. Due to nonpayment by Massachusetts and the decision by NH budget writers not to offset Massachusetts’ portion for the year, eighteen NH towns and their property taxpayers have lost a total of $520, 277 in revenue. The most significant losses affect the towns of Hopkinton ($144,000), Henniker, Salisbury ($64,000 each), Franklin ($26,000) and similar losses accrued to other small towns along the flood control pathway.
Writing on behalf of several Senators and Representatives along the floodway, Larsen noted that previous NH budget writers had included funds to make up the Massachusetts’ shortfall. Without such payments “local property taxpayers along the flood control byway will be burdened by Massachusetts’ failure to pay its obligations.”
“Several recent storm events have dramatically proven the value of this flood control project agreed upon by both our stated,” stated Larsen in the letter. “Please consider this a formal request to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for compliance with the express terms of the compact.”
In the event of failure to comply, Larsen added “we intend to seek assistance from the Attorney General of New Hampshire to enforce the compact”.
The full text of the letter to Governor Patrick is attached.