Consulting group gives officials updates on state policies, grant funds available for Hancock

by Geoff Fox

The town’s lobbying representatives in Annapolis, Greenwill Consulting, gave town officials an update on projects they are working on for the town.

Lesly Feliz told town officials there there is $475,000 available for revitalization of downtown Hancock – some left from the last legislative session and an additional $300,000 from recent efforts in Annapolis.

Feliz said there will be future meeting set up between town officials and Sen. Mike McKay to talk about where exactly the funding would go.

Feliz also said she’s been working with Town Manager Mike Faith on accessing the $100,000 that was allocated for the town last session as well.

“We made it a priority to get that going before the next session comes in because we don’t want it taken away,” Feliz said.

Mayor Roland Lanehart, Jr. said officials had spoken to McKay and Greenwill President/CEO Ivan Lanier about the Town Hall building needing revitalization because it houses a number of organizations and it being the Town Hall.

Feliz said Greenwill understands the historical context of the building and wants to emphasize that, but they still want town officials at the meeting.

Part of the money was for lighting along Main Street and benches.

Feliz also told town officials about a couple of bills to keep on their radar.

The first one was Senate Bill 148, which is grant funding for flood management.

There is $20 million allocated for the bill and available in fiscal year 2026. The funding would be from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The other bill, Senate Bill 14, would allow municipalities to establish tourism zones. Should the town establish one, there would be certain tax exemptions to attract businesses to the area.

“Something to take into consideration as well,” she said.

The final one is House Bill 2, which is geared toward the county. It would allow the county to establish special taxes for vacant lots and properties and be part of the real property sub category.

Feliz said Greenwill would be monitoring at the county level how it would be implemented in Hancock and Washington County.

Faith asked Feliz if the special taxes would be considered punitive or higher taxes for the vacant lots and properties to encourage sale or development.

“Yes, correct,” she said.

Feliz also put another grant on town officials’ radar with the Department of Housing and Community Development has a revitalization grant open until June. There are five different grants under that umbrella the town could go after if they wanted, she said.