2018 Hancock town meeting preview

HANCOCK — Hancock residents at their town meeting will vote on a fiscal year 2019 town-highway budget of $371,088, which represents a substantial reduction from the current, $417,470 spending plan.
But town officials noted the town’s books are currently being independently audited, so the $371,088 budget number to be voted next week is likely to change.
Hancock Selectwoman Monica Collins explained the town’s finances have gone through a recent transition between the past and present town clerk/treasurer. Collins said all town funds are safe and sound; they just need to be traced to their proper accounts.
The town/highway budget vote looms as the top item on an otherwise low-key annual meeting warning.
Residents will be asked to approve a combined total of $30,121 for various social services organizations that serve Hancock.
The local election picture won’t be known until the annual meeting, as nominations are accepted from the floor. Elected officials with expiring terms this year include those of Shelley Twitchell, selectboard, three years; Rose Juliano, school board, three years; Maurice Eaton, budget committee, three years; Larry Bettis, cemetery commission, three years; Joanne Lanpher, library trustees, five years; James Leno, town moderator, one year; and Robert Laird, road commissioner, one year.
Details on Hancock’s 2018-2019 school budget won’t be known until the annual school meeting in May. And there are some big changes on the horizon.
As of July 1, the Granville Hancock Unified District School Board will replace the Hancock School Board, as a result of governance consolidation mandated through Act 46. The new six-member board will be made up of three elected residents from each town. There will be one combined budget for the entire district. The board will be responsible for tuitioning all students Pre-K through grade 12 to the approved schools of their choice.
Tuitioning towns must pay whatever the tuition receiving schools set with no obligation to parents or guardians, according to the annual school report.
There are currently a combined total of around 100 students in the two towns, who attend more than 15 schools, according to school board officials.
Hancock residents last year approved a 2017-2018 school spending plan $847,654.
“Unification should help taxpayers in a number of ways; most importantly, the change in each town’s student population should not negatively affect budgeting and tax rate,” reads the school board’s letter in Hancock’s 2018 school report.
Hancock’s annual meeting will be held at the town hall on Tuesday, March 6, beginning at 10 a.m.

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