by GEOFF FOX
Washington County received half of their usual funding for the annual Program Open Space Program this year, town officials have said. Hancock will be receiving $210,000 in grants for several local projects.
Town Manager Joe Gilbert said the town received 40% of the money he asked for to fund three projects — excavation and drainage at Kirkwood Park, revitalization along the Rail Trail, and a septic system at Kirkwood Park.
The town is at a point where Gilbert can publish requests for bids and work toward securing contractors for those projects.
“We’re right on track they can break ground July,” Gilbert said.
The projects that didn’t get funding can be submitted again next year.
Back in October, Gilbert submitted a five-year plan to county officials that outlined six projects for POS funding. Three of those projects were funded. The remaining three would be the number one priority next year.
In the past, Hancock officials had been told funds had been allocated for the town when a project was ready to go.
Councilman Tim Boyer said he believed there had been $208,000 in prior year Project Open Space money earmarked for projects in Hancock that were already completed, but the paperwork hadn’t been submitted.
He said officials were later told they couldn’t be reimbursed for projects already completed.
“So the town had already spent the money and did not get reimbursed” and the previous town manager hadn’t filled out the paperwork, Boyer said.
The amount the town was allotted was $208,000.
Under a new administration, Boyer said it’s his understanding the $208,000 had been distributed to other municipalities in the county who went through the application process.
“I think we need to talk to them to see if they can do something to help us out because that’s money the citizens of Hancock have spent that we were to get reimbursed,” Boyer said.
Gilbert said he could re-engage the county.
“It’s all I can do,” he said.
The $210,000 the town is receiving this year is new funding — not the earmarked money Boyer asked about.