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Hancock OKs '06-'07 budget

tax rate unchanged

June 15, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HANCOCK - Under a $1.9 million budget passed Wednesday, Hancock is scheduled to spend about 6 percent more next year, but the tax rate will stay the same.

Even with the tax rate next year remaining at 39.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, taxes will go up because of rising property assessments.

The town is expecting to take in nearly $32,000 more next year in property tax revenue at the current tax rate.

Town Manager David Smith said it's difficult to compare next year's budget to the current budget because of new grant funding and a different approach he took.

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The 2005-06 budget, covering the fiscal year ending June 30, is $1,458,641.

The 2006-07 budget, covering the fiscal year starting July 1, is $1,943,016. However, that amount includes about $330,000 in new state grant money, plus $65,000 in grant money carried over from this year, Smith said.

Subtracting $395,000 in grant money leaves $1,548,016, an increase of about 6 percent from this year's budget.

The $330,000 is from two state grant funds - Program Open Space and Community Parks & Playgrounds.

About $200,000 will pay for work on the Kirk Wood bridge, about $75,000 is for work at Joseph Hancock Park and about $58,000 will go toward swimming pool improvements, Smith said.

Also, Smith - who prepared his first budget since taking over as town manager last year - said he made some budget lines "more simpler" than former Town Manager Louis Close had.

The Hancock Town Council approved the 2006-07 budget 3-0 on Wednesday.

Council members Sinclair Hamilton, Randy Pittman and Maurice "Rusty" Wheeler voted in favor. Councilman Robert Anthony McCusker was absent.

Mayor Daniel A. Murphy did not vote. He said he usually only votes if there's a 2-2 tie on the council.

Smith said Wednesday there are no other significant capital improvements budgeted for next year, but the estimated cost of fuel has doubled.

Town employees will get raises next year based on merit. Murphy said the raises will be more than the cost of living.

The water and wastewater department budgets went up because the town anticipates more revenue, Smith said. The town has raised the cost of a water or sewer hookup from $500 to $5,000.

Water and sewer fees are staying the same next year.

Although the cost of garbage collection has gone up, the town will not raise the fee, Smith said.

The amounts of the water, sewer and garbage fees were not available Wednesday night.

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