HAMPTON, Fla. -- The City of Hampton will remain the City of Hampton.
State Senator Rob Bradley and State Rep. Charles Van Zant have voted to withdraw their bill to dissolve the city. Hampton is a small city of about 500 people in Bradford County, just south of Starke.
The city was at the brink of extinction after a February report by the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee found more than two dozen things were not running correctly in Hampton.
The audit pointed to 31 problems with the way the city is run. Among them, alleged misuse of credit cards, city property and bad bookkeeping. This prompted Van Zant and Bradley to push a bill that would abolish the city.
Bradley and Van Zant attended a meeting at Victory Baptist Church Friday night to see if the town has improved enough to remain a city.
"We didn't know what we were going to walk into," said State Senator Rob Bradley. "We had heard that they were making progress, but it's obvious that they've made a lot of progress."
Legislators required the city to come up with plans to resolve eight problem areas and made recommendations including the following:
-Losing jurisdiction of the strip of highway 301 the city annexed, which resulted in a speed trap to generate revenue
-Asking all elected officials to resign
-Removing the police department to allow the Bradford County Sheriff's office to provide public safety
-Balancing the city budget, among other items.
"Our council has been working very hard to do everything we had to do, we had sort of a checklist," said interim Mayor Myrtice Mccullough.
The end result is the promise of a new beginning, to revive Hampton. Lifetime residents like Virginia Bradley are left with a sense of pride.
"I don't even know of any other place because I've been here since I was four," said Virginia Bradley.
The city will have a special election in September to elect a new council and mayor. Legislators say they plan on hosting a celebratory barbecue after the election.