Deal between Walmart and Hooksett Sewer Commission under review
HOOKSETT — A deal between the Sewer Commission and Walmart that is needed to open up the Exit 10 area for development is being held up pending a review by the state Department of Revenue Administration, town officials said.
Town Administrator Dean Shankle said the DRA is in the process of determining whether the money involved in the deal would constitute long-term debt for the town, which would require a public hearing and vote for the deal to be approved.
Under the deal, Walmart would pay an estimated $3 million to construct a connection to the town’s sewer line, and the town would then turn the money generated by the line’s sewer and hookup fees over to Walmart until all costs are recouped.
“This is not long-term debt, because long-term debt is something we would have to pay back regardless of if anyone hooked on to the sewer line or not. But if no one hooks up, Walmart doesn’t get anything. To me, long-term debt is like a bond where you have to pay it regardless, this is a reimbursement for the money they are expending up front,” Shankle said.
Shankle said that while he is firm in his belief the deal won’t create long-term debt for the town, he has no idea what the DRA will determine.
“I would never try to guess what anyone at the state level will do, but this is not that uncommon of a thing to do. I don’t know if something wasn’t sent to them or they misunderstood something but I am surprised it is an issue, to tell you the truth,” Shankle said.
While the DRA might be holding up the deal, Bruce Kudrick, superintendent of Hooksett’s wastewater plant, said Walmart is still moving forward as if the deal will happen.
“They have plans drawn out and are working on adjusting them based on feedback they got from us. They are looking to break ground in 2014 they told us,” Kudrick said.
Kudrick said that the deal between the Sewer Commission and Walmart should benefit everyone involved.
“Walmart will save money by opening the whole west side to sewer. Everyone there is all on septic systems, so this will make the land more profitable. It will expand the tax base more so that more commercial properties can get into the area.”