Hancock Advisory Committee Meeting
Monday, January 30, 2012
The meeting convened at the Town Office following the Select Board Meeting at which the Committee received preliminary versions of the first three pages of 2012 Town Meeting handouts:
(1) Projected Operating Revenue Summary for 2012,
(2) 2012 Proposed Operating Expense Budget, and
(3) Preliminary Tax Calculation.
Present: Ben Billings, Matthew Hale, Don Klug, Marsha Kono (Secretary), and Pat Payne (Chair). Also present was Dave Anderson, reporter from the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.
Our purpose was to amend/finalize our Committee Report for the 2011 Town Report – due on January 31, based on new information received at the Select Board Meeting. Specifically, the Committee was pleased to see that the Select Board proposes using the Unreserved Fund Balance (est. at $412,715 by the NH. Dept. of Revenue Administration in October, 2011) as the funding source for some warrant articles in order to lessen the impact on the 2012 Town Tax Rate.
The Select Board plans to use the Fund Balance for a Warrant to refurbish the Town Clock -- $8,400 that had been a part of the Meetinghouse Steeple warrant (which is now reduced to $32,640 subject to further negotiations with the Hancock Congregational Church on their contribution), and also the Town's portion of the Bandstand renovation project (up to $10,000 net after a promised $10,000 contribution from the Hancock Improvement Association.)
In addition, we learned the Select Board had decided:
(A) Not to submit a warrant for a $500 contribution to the Contoocook Valley Transportation Company, and
(B) To keep the Town donation to The Grapevine at prior years' level of $3,750 vs. the $5,000 requested. Rationale of the Select Board is that The Grapevine's formula for donations requested from participating towns does not appear to be appropriately based on town population and/or number of people served from each town.
Net result of these changes would reduce the "amount to be raised from taxes for proposed warrant articles" to $100,910. The Select Board estimated this plan would result in a percentage increase (in the Town tax rate) of less than 2% compared to 2011.
(There was some confusion at the Select Board meeting over the accuracy of figures/calculations on the Preliminary Tax Calculation handout – but at the time we were given the impression that the changes would result in a total "Amount to be raised from Taxes" of less than the Advisory Committee's recommended "cap" of 2.5%.) Corrections/recalculations by the Town Office subsequent to January 30 did not bear out this hope.
In fact, the proposed "Amount to be raised from Taxes" after removing the Warrants to be paid from the Unreserved Fund Balance is $1,295,923 versus 2011's $1,251,108 – which is still an increase of +$44,815 or +3.58% over 2011.
This is figure is still significantly above the Committee's recommendation of a 2.5% cap.
(The discrepancy in the increases - a 1.6% increase in the Tax Rate versus a 3.58% increase in Dollars to be Raised from taxes - results from the fact that the two tax rates (2011 tax rate of $5.265 and 2012 estimated rate of $5.348) were calculated using different figures for the Town Assessed Valuation. That is, the proposed 2012 rate is based on a Town Assessed Valuation figure that includes $567,750 for new construction/renovations coming on the tax rolls for 2012.)
The Committee reviewed its support for the remaining warrants and decided that no revote was necessary. Committee Chair Pat Payne was charged with amending the wording of the Committee report for the Town Report as necessary.
Respectfully submitted, Marsha Kono, Secretary