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No tax hikes under Hancock's preliminary budget

Town manager warns there could be increases in fees for water and sewer service

April 11, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HANCOCK — There would be no tax increases for residents and lower spending than the current fiscal year under a preliminary 2012-13 budget for the town of Hancock presented Wednesday night.

However, Town Manager David Smith said there could be increases in fees for water and sewer service in the coming year.

If the town’s real estate and other taxes remain the same next year, it would be the 17th consecutive year, Smith told the mayor and the four-member Hancock Town Council.

Water and sewer rates, billed quarterly, have not gone up for at least six years, Smith said.

In-town rates are $26.20 for the first 6,000 gallons of water used and $24 for the first 6,000 gallons of wastewater, he said.

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Each additional 1,000 gallons for water and wastewater is $6, according to a list of municipal taxes and fees.

Expenditures outside the general fund include $275,500 for the Water Department; $239,500 for the Waste Water Department; and $107,327 for the Sanitation Department.

Those departments are expected to pay for their operations with the fees charged for service, Smith said.

There are reserves for those departments, but increased fees might be needed to properly maintain and upgrade the systems, he said.

The total operating budget proposed for next year is $1,607,451, down from the $1,729,715 budget approved last year. The fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.

The largest single item in the budget is salaries and benefits at $461,988, down from $527,872, according to budget figures.

Part of the decrease is due to a position that is currently unfilled, Smith said before the meeting.

The general fund portion of the budget is $985,124, down from the current year general fund of just under $1.1 million.

In addition to salaries and benefits, the general fund includes $37,600 for administration operations; $171,360 for utilities; $9,500 for the mayor and council; $27,000 for insurance; $37,150 for public safety; $68,775 for public works; $64,500 for parks and community service; and $107,327 in capital outlays.

Capital outlays would be cut nearly $60,000 from the current year’s budget, according to preliminary figures.

The current budget included money for the construction of a pavilion in one of the town’s parks.

“This is probably not going to be the final budget, but it’s an indication of where we’re going,” Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

The mayor and council will have a budget workshop on Wednesday, April 25.

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