Romney agrees to flood $$$ arbitration

Governor John Lynch announced yesterday that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has committed to appointing an arbiter to resolve the differences between the two states over the Merrimack River Valley Flood Control Compact.

Earlier this week, Massachusetts sent New Hampshire $600,000 in partial payments. The payment came after Lynch wrote a letter to Romney saying that New Hampshire would take legal action if Massachusetts did not act to either pay the amount owed or move to arbitration.

In a phone call to Lynch, Romney committed to Lynch that he would appoint an arbiter to settle the differences between the two states.

“I appreciate Governor Romney’s willingness to take this issue seriously and make partial back payments and to commit to arbitration. Massachusetts still owes New Hampshire communities more than $2 million, but I am pleased that after more than a decade we are finally seeing action on this important issue,” Gov. Lynch said. “These dams, as we saw during the May floods, play an important role in protecting Massachusetts communities and it is important that Massachusetts keep the promises it made.”

The Merrimack River Valley Flood Control Compact dates to 1957. Under the compact, the Bay State agreed to reimburse New Hampshire for 70 percent of the amount of property taxes lost because of the acquisition and ownership of the dams and reservoirs comprising the Merrimack River Valley Flood Control Project.

Massachusetts has not paid the full amount due under the agreement in more than a decade, and up until now has refused to appoint members to the board of arbitration called for in the compact to settle any disputes on the amount owed. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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