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Game changer for Hancock

To the editor:

I wish to add to recently published comments by Mary Tuisku regarding the city of Hancock’s recreational improvement millage proposal. The proposal is for up to 0.80 mills per year for five years. It could generate about $85,000 each year that can only be used for recreational improvements within Hancock. Currently the city spends roughly $25,000 each year on capital improvements. You can see by the order of magnitude that, if passed, the millage will be a game changer for recreation in Hancock.

As a member of the Recreation Commission, I’ve been asked if passing the proposal will guarantee getting a new beach dock. The short answer is no, but it will make it more likely to happen. Replacing the beach dock is a high priority within the city’s Recreation Plan. I would argue it’s the highest priority. However, it’s simply too costly of a project to be funded solely by the millage proposal. The city has a grant application pending for a new recreational pier with a total project cost of $400,000. The proportion of this cost to be paid by the city affects the likelihood of receiving the grant. The more money the city commits, the more likely it is to receive the grant for the remainder.

So, for example, if the grant proposal is favorably received by the funding agency and an additional $20,000 from the recreation millage would put the City over the top to receive 12 to 15 times that amount in grant funding, it would be a no-brainer to commit those funds. That is why this millage proposal makes a new dock more likely to happen.

What the millage will cover, if passed, is a wide variety of smaller budget items throughout the city. There would be improvements to the beach, campground, ball fields, trails, new playground equipment at parks, bicycle signage throughout the city and more. A list of suggested projects is included in Hancock’s 2016-2020 Recreation Plan, which is available on the city’s website and at City Hall.

Based on the median residential taxable value, the average homeowner would pay approximately $26 a year. This is a quality of life decision. I will be joining Mary in voting “Yes” on Nov. 8. I hope that you will, too.

John Haeussler

Hancock

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