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Hancock water system gets $200K lift

  • About 100 voters cast ballots at Hancock's Town Meeting on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • About 100 voters cast ballots at Hancock's Town Meeting on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Longtime Hancock Happenings newsletter editor Nancy Adams,left, smiles as she accepts an ovation from residents at Saturday’s Town Meeting, including moderator Ric Haskins and Select Board Chair Carolyn Boland.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • About 100 voters cast ballots at Hancock's Town Meeting on Saturday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

HANCOCK — About 100 residents, on unanimous or near-unanimous votes, approved a $1.9 million operating budget, $75,000 for a new 2 1/2-ton pickup truck for the Highway Department and $85,000 for a 1,400-square-foot addition to the town’s transfer station building at Saturday’s Town Meeting. They also OK’d $45,000 for a pellet boiler heating system in the town office, with the money to come from the town’s unreserved fund balance rather than through taxation.

During discussion of the budget, Select Board members were asked how the town would adjust if room and meals tax revenue from the state, estimated at nearly $74,000 for next year, were to be drastically reduced. Board Chair Carolyn Boland said the town has been building up its unreserved fund balance, which now has about $380,000, and would be able to deal with a shortfall in state funding if necessary.

A $200,000 bond to upgrade the town’s water system drew no opposition. Water Commissioner Jeff Wilder said the town needs to install a secondary treatment system so that the system can continue to operate under a waiver from the state. The cost of the bond will be paid through increases in the water rates for users of the system.

DPW Director Kurt Grassett said the transfer station addition would allow the town to replace three storage trailers that are currently being used to hold baled material for recycling but are becoming unsafe to use. Grassett said the addition would provide a new location for the town’s Swap Shop, which is near the high-traffic area where people drop off recyclables. Grassett described the current location as “an accident waiting to happen.”

Resident David Carney said he was disappointed that residents might no longer be able to toss glass bottles into the large outdoor collection area, a tradition he would hate to lose. “It’s a unique, fun thing about our town,” Carney said, recommending that the town not become too much like the suburban communities such as Bedford or Amherst.

“If you want to talk tradition, back in the ’50s the big thing to do at the dump was to shoot rats,” added longtime resident Bud Adams.

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