PITTSTON — Residents, following extensive Town Meeting debate about their trash options, voted to rejoin the Hatch Hill landfill in Augusta and to continue to fund Pittston’s own recycling center.

Rejoining Hatch Hill, to provide residents with a place to take their trash, will cost $26,660 for the year, while keeping the town-run recycling center in Pittston running for another year will cost $7,000 with, one resident noted, an additional $3,000 or so to pay an attendant to monitor the site.

Some residents said the town should use cheaper options rather than recommit to the regional Hatch Hill landfill, which the town left in 2013 when the cost to join for a year would have been about $40,000.

“We got rid of this once before, because it was costly,” Budget Committee member Cheryl Peaslee said, adding that the issue wasn’t brought to the committee for discussion. “Think about your other citizens in this town, living paycheck to paycheck, your elderly struggling. Think about them when you make these decisions. I’m really opposed to spending this kind of money that, again, resurfaced out of nowhere, when we have other viable options.”

Resident Ann Pistell said other trash options for Pittston residents included getting a trash container, if they’re doing a big cleanup; or the town having an annual cleanup for residents, which she said would cost less, between $5,000 and $7,000. Others said residents should get their own private trash haulers to take away their waste.

However, residents said Hatch Hill is much more convenient than other options, including taking waste to a facility in West Bath, with which the town contracted previously.

“Going to West Bath is 45 minutes each way, not counting your time loading your truck,” resident Dan Taggert said. “I don’t want to spend half the day going to West Bath. Also, if you’re talking about the (impact on) the environment, how much fuel do you use to take a truckload down there?”

The town also had an agreement previously with the town of Richmond to use its single-sort recycling facility, which takes bulky waste but does not take general household trash. Pittston would have had to pay about $9,000 to continue that agreement.

Selectwoman Mary Jean Ambrose said only 36 Pittston residents got the stickers that are required to be able to use the recycling center in Richmond, which she said isn’t cost-effective.

The proposal to return to Hatch Hill passed, but the vote was close enough to require a hand count, with 49 in favor to 31 opposed.

The vote to spend $7,000 to keep the town’s recycling center, which is open Saturdays, passed by a wide margin. Some residents argued it is not needed because Hatch Hill takes recyclables, and private trash haulers are required under town ordinance to pick up their customers’ recyclables while picking up their trash, though residents said not all haulers do so.

An article about municipal affiliations drew extensive debate, with some residents suggesting the costs for services such as Pittston residents being able to use the Gardiner Public Library were too costly.

“A lot of this is conveniences,” said resident Roger Collins, suggesting residents can, instead of using the library, use other options, such as researching on the internet.

Resident Pat Moulton responded by saying that in the previous votes on trash and recyclables, townspeople already had agreed to pay for some conveniences.

“I think if we’re going to pay for convenience for our trash, we ought to pay for our convenience in learning, too,” Moulton said.

One of the big-ticket items on the warrant was spending $190,000 from excise tax for hot-topping town roads, $100,000 more than is in the current year’s budget. Road Commissioner Sam Snow said the money comes from excise taxes and he planned to do hot-topping on Nash Road and Kelley Road.

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

The town’s municipal elections will be held Monday at the Town Office. Polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m.

About 100 people attended the meeting, which lasted about two and a half hours.

Moderator Chris Cooper praised attendees for participating in democracy.

“In this unprecedented era of dysfunctional state and federal governments, and only place democracy truly functions is in schoolhouses and meeting houses in the state of Maine,” Cooper said of town meetings. “My goal is for everyone to go home feeling he or she had ample opportunity to be heard.”

At the start of the meeting, the Riverside Cemetery Association was presented with a Spirit of America Award for the group’s volunteer work reclaiming an area where 48 unidentified people are buried in the oldest part of the cemetery.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

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Twitter: @kedwardskj