Hancock shop owner asks council to reconsider grant status

by Kate Shunney

The owner of Hancock’s Main Street ice cream shop has written to town officials to ask them to reconsider turning down her business grant request last month.

Linda Smith penned her letter, addressed to Hancock Town Councilmen, on February 27 and delivered it to Town Hall that day.

Hancock Town Manager Mike Faith confirmed he got the letter. During the most recent Hancock council meeting, the issue of the town’ s business grants didn’t come up in open session, and Smith’s letter didn’t, either.

Smith, who is married to Mayor Tim Smith, runs the Fractured Banana Double-Dipped. The mayor is not involved in this location of the ice cream shop, which has a new name.

Linda Smith said she was denied a Hancock business revitalization grant in February on the basis that she was married to the mayor.

“Your reasons as you stated, were ‘perception’ and then ‘conflict of interest’ as a final answer,” Smith wrote to council members.

“I am the sole proprietor of the ‘Fractured Banana Double-Dipped.’ No part of the business is in ‘Mayor” Tim Smith’s name,” she said.

Linda Smith had applied for a $10,000 business revitalization grant to pay for electrical upgrades to the storefront her business occupies, so she could plug in and run all of the equipment her business plans call for.

Nowhere on the business grant paperwork does it state that relatives of Hancock elected officials are prohibited from applying for the grants, or being given the grants.

Funds for the grants come from the Town of Hancock’s business partnership with Trulieve, the medical cannabis grower and processor in Hancock.

“I applied like everyone else did. I did everything that was asked, yet I was the only one denied on a ‘single’ grant request. There was never anything in writing for the grants, saying I couldn’ t apply,” Smith wrote. She said no one in the town offices verbally told her she couldn’t apply for the business funds, either.

“I am hoping that you would also take the time to reconsider my business grant request. I want to keep this business going, and I want to be able to add things to it in the future,” wrote Smith.

Town officials have not said when their next round of business grants will be considered.