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Hancock briefs

May 13, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

No tax, utility rate hikes in proposed budget



HANCOCK -- Hancock officials are not proposing to change tax rates or utility rates for next fiscal year, Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said Wednesday.

Town officials presented a draft of the proposed town budget for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1, for a public hearing, but did not receive any comments.

Property tax revenues are projected to drop slightly from this fiscal year's, but the difference is made up in new revenue from cell phone tower agreements and other "creative financing," Murphy said.

The total $1.7 million proposed budget includes about $1 million in the general fund, $287,000 in the Water Department fund, $285,500 in the Wastewater Department, and $106,400 in the Sanitation Department.

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The largest general fund expenditure is $529,549 for salaries and benefits, which Murphy said includes a small raise for town employees.

The town's proposed capital outlays budget is $119,480.

Mayor, council set pace in walking contest



HANCOCK -- Hancock's mayor and town council outstepped their competition in a pedometer-tracked walking contest held throughout the month of April, program organizer Kathy Rabon announced Wednesday.

From April 1 to 30, the team of five men took a collective total of 1,861,374 steps. Their rival team, five women from the Interfaith Service Coalition, was close behind with 1,827,057 steps. Together, the 10 participants walked the collective equivalent of more than 1,800 miles that month, which is farther than the distance from Hancock to Denver, Rabon said.

The individual participant with the most steps was Hancock Councilman Tim Smith, who walked 583,102 steps, she said. As a prize, coordinators presented him with a gift certificate to pamper his well-used feet with a pedicure.

The program was organized to promote the health benefits of increased walking, said Rabon, who is a registered nurse. Another program will begin at the end of the month at Hancock Presbyterian Church, she said.

Weaver recommends zoning rules and codes



HANCOCK -- Hancock's part-time marketing director, T.R. Weaver, recommended Wednesday the Town Council proceed with instituting zoning regulations and codes that would allow the town to crack down on property owners who neglect their properties.

Weaver said at least one property owner has expressed a reluctance to work with the town on improvements because her property is on the market.

Weaver's other new projects and suggestions included:

o Promoting the town on an 8-foot-by-32-foot billboard outside of Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The space has been offered to the town for free for six months

o Hanging posters with photos of the area and slogans in the windows of vacant storefronts

o Painting a mural on the brick wall of the old pizza shop near the town's fountain that would depict a boat on the C&O canal, with a bicyclist in the foreground and the word "Welcome."

Park marker contains biography of namesake



HANCOCK -- A new historical marker has been placed in Joseph Hancock Jr. Park, Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said.

The marker displays biographical information about the park's namesake, a Revolutionary War soldier who operated a ferry on the Potomac River in the 18th century.

The Hancock Historical Society prepared the marker, Murphy said.

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