Hancock Residents Try to Offset Tax Increase



HANCOCK — After four hours of scrutinizing municipal expenses and demanding cuts, Hancock voters Monday night passed a budget that was just $16,116 lighter than the one proposed.

More than 170 residents filled the Hancock Grammar School gym for the emotionally charged annual Town Meeting.

 

Although only the municipal budget was addressed, Hancock’s share of the Regional School Unit 24 budget was the biggest concern. The town is expected to lose more than $500,000 in state educational subsidy, causing a significant increase in the tax rate.

“The school just dwarfs everything else,” said Gary Hunt, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.

Concerned citizens looked to cut spending on the municipal side to offset the tax hike.

“If we don’t cut something here tonight, then everyone’s taxes will increase,” said Jill Gatcomb-Grant.

She and other concerned voters took issue with putting money in accounts for future large expenses. Accounts in question included the Town Hall Revitalization Fund and funds for a future fire station and fire truck.

Gatcomb-Grant said eliminating spending in some areas would mean town surplus money could be redirected to cover critical services and thus offset taxes.

Residents also questioned the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department’s $69,090 budget and practices.

Fire Chief Chris Holmes said the budget covered insurance, fuel, maintaining the stations and equipment, upgrading equipment and training.

Voters asked why people were allowed to use the fire station to work on their personal vehicles and if volunteers received financial compensation.

Holmes said volunteers are allowed to work on their vehicles at the station as a benefit for volunteering their time and use of their personal vehicles.

For more community news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

 

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