PITTSTON — It was the small things that slowed the Town Meeting on Saturday morning.

Voting order of articles stalled almost immediately when resident Henry Doughty asked to delay a vote on a proposed $20,000 contingency fund until the end of the meeting.

Jane Hubert, chairwoman of the three-person Selectboard, said approving that amount would allow dismissal of several funding articles that would come up later in the meeting.

Eventually, the contingency money was approved by the majority of the 61 residents in attendance. A special town meeting would be required to spend any of it, according to the article.

And later the three articles, requesting $4,500 for septic system replacement, $3,000 for unemployment insurance and $3,000 for legal services, were dismissed later as unnecessary.

The Town Meeting at Pittston Consolidated School ended just before noon, and residents will vote from noon to 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Office to fill municipal offices, choosing between incumbent Mary Jean Ambrose and challenger Scott F. Hess for the one contested seat on the Selectboard.

During the meeting, Tim Lawrence, a Budget Committee member, raised questions about most of the articles, including spending $3,000 for information technology.

Mary Jean Ambrose, a Selectboard member, said the money would support purchase of a laptop computer that Selectboard members and other town officials would use for town business.

The town is seeking to upgrade its technology.

Town officials said someone had hacked into the some town’s computers and taken some files hostage. However, the town had backups for those files.

Another article included funding for an additional mowing of Coss Hill Cemetery, which one resident said was not needed.

However, resident Barbara Shaw spoke in favor of more maintenance.

“My grandparents are buried down there at Coss Hill,” she said. “Sometimes it looks terrible.”

She said she maintains the flower beds there.

Ambrose said Coss Hill is one of the larger cemeteries. “It would be nicer to have it mowed more often,” she said. “I’ve been tempted at times to take my own equipment down there to mow it.

Sarah McLaughlin, the town’s tax collector and treasurer, said she has done that.

Dan Warren, who mows Goodspeed Cemetery, said, “People want cemeteries taken better care of than they have been in the past. Do we want the cemeteries to look halfway decent, or do we just want to keep the bushes down?”

Residents voted to spend $9,725 on cemetery maintenance and upkeep, which included the extra mowing at Coss Hill.

In other business, McLaughlin warned that the property tax bills would be mailed later than usual because of an anticipated delay in receiving the schools’ costs.

The town voted to delay charging interest on unpaid taxes until 30 days after taxes are due.

“In the past, we’ve always had the interest starting the day after the due date, but you had a couple of months’ warning,” she said.

Voters approved getting a temporary tax anticipation loan again. McLaughlin said the town traditionally had borrowed $500,000 but last year used only $200,000. This year, she said, the town expects to borrow $200,000 and to use possibly only $45,000.

“We’re very encouraged about us getting off” the tax-anticipation loans, McLaughlin said.

Anne Davis, Gardiner library director, congratulated residents on the town having so many card-carrying members of the Gardiner Public Library.

She said Pittston residents to whom cards were issued included 400 adults, 70 teens and 167 children.

Residents approved spending more than $46,000 on municipal affiliations, including $22,614 for the Gardiner Public Library.

At the start of the meeting, Gary and Nathan Trask, of Built-Well Builders, were honored with the Spirit of America award for their volunteer work in the town.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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