Hancock budget approved

May 13, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

HANCOCK - After increasing sanitation fees from $12.50 to $14 per quarter, the Hancock Town Council approved a fiscal 2000 budget Wednesday.

The sanitation fee increase is effective July 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

The fee hike for the 767 residential accounts is needed so the town can prepare for increased trash-related expenses, Town Manager Louis O. Close said.

When the town landfill closed in 1993, Washington County began leasing the property and put trash receptacles there so residents in the western portion of the county would not have to drive to the Resh Sanitary Landfill, Close said.

As part of a negotiated agreement with the Town Council, the Washington County government promised the town a $40,000 credit to pay for tipping fees at the Resh Landfill for seven years, Close said. That credit will drop by $10,000 in May 2000, he said.


Contractual charges with trash hauler BFI also will increase in fiscal 2000, Close said. Without the fee increase the changes would cut into the town's reserve account, he said.

The council held an advertised public hearing on the budget at Wednesday's meeting but nobody spoke on the issue.

The fiscal 2000 general fund budget is $678,549. That's a decrease of $9,000 over the current budget year.

"We had a very easy decision with the budget," Mayor Daniel Murphy said. He credits increased efficiencies in town departments for the smaller budget.

The council decided against increasing its donations to Hancock Fire Company and Hancock Rescue Squad. The donations increased from $3,000 in fiscal 1998 to $3,500 in 1999 but that amount will remain the same in 2000.

Councilman Roy "Randy" Pittman said the Hancock Fire Co. has money in bank accounts. Councilman Greg Yost asked how that was relevant.

"We are donating money and it isn't like they're destitute and they need it. If they need it, that's a horse of another color," Pittman said.

The council approved the budget on a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Gregory Yost opposed. Yost cited the decision regarding public safety donations as one of the reasons for his vote against the budget.

The budget includes about a 3 percent raise for town employees.

The budget includes $211,045 for public safety, $213,386 for public works and $76,795 for Parks and Recreation, among other expenses.

The largest source of revenue is $217,981 in real property tax, up from $213,714 in fiscal 1999. The next largest revenue sources are $95,058 in highway use tax and $57,000 in state income tax.

The town also has three other funds.

Under the approved budget, the Water Enterprise Fund increases from $228,500 in fiscal 1999 to $232,500 in fiscal 2000. There are 668 accounts, of which 505 are residential.

The Waste Water Enterprise Fund increases from $192,000 to $207,700. The Sanitation Enterprise Fund increases from $69,950 to $71,852.

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