PITTSTON — Town residents will decide on the next budget through a referendum vote, not at the traditional Town Meeting, this year.

Last year, Pittston delayed its budget vote until July because of the coronavirus pandemic. The delay meant the town wasn’t able to operate on its 2020-2021 budget until voters approved it about four months after the budget year began.

Not wanting to scrape by again, Pittston’s Select Board opted to conduct its budget vote in March, even if the ongoing coronavirus pandemic would make having an in-person Town Meeting challenging.

“Last July, it was the lowest attendance we ever had,” Select Board member Fred Kimball said of the meeting that could only have 50 people because of Maine’s social distancing guidelines at the time.

As a town of 2,666, Pittston is anticipating on having around 500 to 600 votes on the budget, even with the slight change in the budget’s voting process. Some residents of Pittston have already requested absentee ballots.

Kimball, along with Select Board members Mary Jean Ambrose and Rodney Hembree, divided the voting process into 13 articles in order to be more efficient. The three will review the articles one by one in informational hearings leading up to voting day on March 20.


A public hearing will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday for the Select Board to go through the budget and answer any questions residents might have about the spending plan or voting process.

Select Board members have outlined spending increases on the town website in order to be “as transparent as possible,” Hembree said.

A resident of the town was quick to point out in Pittston’s unofficial town Facebook Page of the increase in the administrative staff’s wages and an increase to the amount of money in the “employee training” section.

The board said on the town website the increases in the town leader’s pay was necessary.

“The Select Board appreciates professionalism, experience and integrity of our current office staff,” the explanation for the town administrative wages reads. “We want to keep them working for our town. Raising their salaries to an appropriate wage shows that we value their hard work, experience and dedication.”

In total, the town raised the total spending for the town office administrative services from $120,000 to $148,312.


Colleen Pilsbury, who has 30 years of experience with bookkeeping and being an office manager, will be paid $25 an hour, a $5 an hour difference from her previous rate of $20 an hour. Deborah Barry has 31 years experience as a town clerk and had her wage raised from $22 to $25 an hour to match Pilsbury’s. Debbie MacInnes, the administrative assistant for Pittstson, had her rage raised from $17 to $21.60 to match the Maine Municipal Association midpoint salary for the same job.

The increase in the training budget from $3,000 to $7,000 is to make sure the town’s support staff is “current with changes in laws and all other mandatory trainings,” according to the town website.

It also is accounting for the cost of an alternate code enforcement officer, which Select Board members say is “vital.”

People who want to attend Saturday’s Zoom public hearing can request a link through the Pittston town website. The town office will be able to seat 16 people socially distanced.

Pittston’s referendum vote on the budget will take place at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 20.

CORRECTION: Voting on March 20 will take place at 10 a.m. 

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