Florida set to delete Hampton, a town with a questing, rent-seeking, corrupt wang

Hampton, Florida is a town so corrupt that it offends the Florida Legislature, a body with a notoriously high tolerance for sleaze. With fewer than 500 inhabitants, Hampton's major source of revenue is a diseased, questing wang that it has protruded from its main mass onto a 0.2 mile stretch of Highway 301 -- a stretch where the speed limit dips from 65 to 55. Hampton's hard-working traffic cops write an average of 17 tickets a day against out-of-towners, clearing $419,624 in 2011 and 2012. However, the town also operated at a deficit during this time.

There are lots of reasons for small towns to go into the red and sometimes it's hard to put your finger on exactly why a town can't make ends meet, but in Hampton's case, the cause is pretty clear. It's probably down to the (now incarcerated) ex-mayor Barry Moore, or possibly his three staffers who resigned in February, or maybe it was the police chief, who also resigned, along with 17 "employees." But if they're not the cause, it might be the town's water manager, whose business records were all "lost in a swamp."

All this has gotten beyond the pale for the state legislators, including the local representative, who was (perhaps unwisely, in hindsight) ticketed by a Hampton cop. They've given the town 30 days to clean up its sleaze or they're going to dissolve it.

The investigation also involves water, which is the one utility controlled by town government. Not only did it do a poor job of supplying water, the utility's financial records evidently left something to be desired. "The reason ... that no water meter logbooks before April 2012 could be found," the Times reported, "was that they were 'lost in a swamp,' the result of a car accident involving the water utility operator." (He forgot to file an accident report, it turns out, probably due to swamp trauma.) According to the sheriff, some residents said they were threatened with having their water turned off if they made trouble.

The town apparently has about 30 days to come up with a plan, or else the legislature is likely to dissolve it, which would make it part of surrounding Bradford County. That would presumably take care of the speed-trap tentacle, which is currently non-functional anyway due to lack of police "officers" to staff it.

"We are just trying to fix things that happened," said one of the five city councilmen, ironically (or not) named "Frantz Innocent." (Nobody's really to blame, you see—once again it's the fault of these things that keep happening. When will someone do something about the things?! They are getting away with murder.) "If you want to go poking around looking for something," Mr. Innocent continued, "you can always find something wrong." (It's the pokers' fault, too.)

Good Riddance to Hampton, Florida?