When Pittston residents consider the town’s proposed spending plan Saturday, they’ll see an increase over last year, but they also will see an increased use of excise tax to pay for some items.

The town warrant contains a proposal to appropriate $555,045.77 from taxpayers and use $576 320 in excise tax, $145,000 from surplus funds and $50,000 from excise tax reserve to fund a budget of a little more than $1.3 million.

“It doesn’t look too bad,” said Roger Linton, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. “Hopefully, we won’t get blindsided with the schools and the county (budgets).”

In its memorandum to residents in the annual report, the board noted that Pittston is financially healthier than it has been for several years, partly because of the two-part tax billing that voters approved.

Currently, Pittston’s tax rate is $13.60 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Linton said it’s too soon to say what it will be for the upcoming budget year; both the Kennebec County assessment and the School Administrative District 11 budget will be decided in a couple of months.

Linton said the town’s excise tax collections have increased, from the registration of both new vehicles, which cost more that used ones, and from recreational vehicles in the past year. It might be a sign of an improving economy, he said.

“A lot more people are using recreational vehicles, and that helps with the roads,” Linton said.

One of the big-ticket items on the warrant is spending $100,000 from excise tax for hot-topping town roads. Because it comes from excise tax, town property owners won’t see that reflected on their property tax bills, he said.

Residents will be asked whether they want to appropriate $26,660 to join the Hatch Hill Solid Waste and Recycling Facility, which is operated by the city of Augusta. In 2013, residents opted not to continue the $40,000 contract with that facility and were searching for other options. An arrangement to take bulky waste to the Richmond Transfer Station terminated at the end of 2016. While there is a higher cost attached to the Hatch Hill contract, the town no longer would be paying $10,000 to use Richmond’s facility.

Linton said the board opted to put the question to the taxpayers to see what their preference is.

The warrant also includes some additional costs for the new village fire station in East Pittston, as well as debt service on the loan for the station.

Town Meeting is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Saturday at Pittston Elementary School on School Street.

The town’s municipal elections will be held Monday at the Town Office, which will be closed for business other than the election. Polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m.

The election features two contested races.

Linton is running for re-election for a three-year term to the board against Wanda Burns-Macomber, a former board member and former chairwoman.

“I think we’ve got some nice things started,” Linton said, including the new fire station, and the town is working on some new projects. He would like to continue to work on them, he said.

One of them is developing a public boat landing on the Kennebec River. Linton said the board has voted to retain about 32 acres of foreclosed properties on Old Cedar Road — popularly known as Bill William’s old gravel pit — for use by town residents.

The board will be asking for volunteers to help decide what the best use for the property would be. In addition to a boat launch, he said, there could be other recreational uses.

Burns-Macomber last served on the board in 2013. Following the firing of Anne Chadwick, town clerk, in early March 2013, she lost re-election bids following Town Meeting and at a special election later that spring. In each case, she earned fewer than 50 votes.

Burns-Macomber could not be reached for an interview via phone or social media.

The other contested race is for road commissioner.

The incumbent, Sam Snow, said he was running again because he’s been doing the job and because residents asked him to. He declined to elaborate.

Challenger Raymond Snider was not able to be reached for an interview.

The road commissioner’s term of office is three years.

Voters also will asked to choose candidates for other town positions. The Budget Committee has one vacancy and one candidate, Larry Ireland. Two regular seats and an alternate’s are up on the Planning Board, and Terry Shepherd and Daniel Taggart are running, as is Andrea Sparrow, respectively. Oleksey Kakasenko is running for a three-year term as a director of the East Pittston Water District.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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