PITTSTON — Residents re-elected Mary Jean Ambrose, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, and approved funding for salary increases for town office workers and $60,000 toward the cost of a town-wide property revaluation at the annual Town Meeting held Saturday by secret ballot votes.

Residents approved each of the 13 warrant articles put before them at the polls in secret balloting Saturday, according to Ambrose. The secret ballot was a switch from the town’s traditional style of town meeting where residents would typically gather in the school gymnasium to debate and vote on the warrant articles. The change was made out of concern having the traditional meeting, if it drew more than 50 people, could violate state restrictions on public gatherings due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Hopefully this will be the only time” that Pittston has secret ballot voting on the town warrant at the polls, not in person and with open debate, Ambrose said Sunday. “We fully intend to go back to our Annual Town Meeting.”

About 200 people voted at the polls.

Ambrose was reelected to the select board, receiving 176 votes to challenger Tim Lawrence’s 63 votes, according to results posted on the town’s website. All other positions up for election were uncontested.

With all 13 warrant articles passing, Ambrose said the town budget will be up a bit, likely less than 1 percent. She said a factor in that increase is the $60,000 voters approved toward the roughly $200,000 cost of having a property revaluation done, an effort to ensure property owners are being taxed fairly and comply with state requirements that municipalities periodically conduct such revaluations to keep their assessed property tax values relatively up to date.

“Most of that is because of the revaluation for the town,” Ambrose said of the increase in spending. “That’s not an every year thing, but we’ve got to do it, we haven’t done it in 12 or 13 years now.”

She said the total cost of the revaluation will be spread over the next three years.

Residents approved a warrant article that will increase the pay of town office staff.

In total, the town raised the total spending for the town office administrative services from $120,0,00 to $148,312.

The board said on the town website the increases in the town office pay were necessary and the board “appreciates the professionalism, experience and integrity of our current office staff.”

“We want to keep them working for our town,” the board said on the site. “Raising their salaries to an appropriate wage shows that we value their hard work, experience and dedication.”

One article, which was approved but was not needed, would have allowed the town to have a budget to fall back on in case parts of the 2021 budget were voted down, by allowing the town to operate based on the previous year’s budget.

Residents also approved: $26,660 for trash disposal; $10,000 for disposing of recyclables; $1,500 to improve the Pittston River Walk; $6,000 to purchase two additional monuments for the Veterans’ Memorial; $35,407 for 13 charitable affiliations and 24 cemeteries; $25,269 for the Gardiner Public Library; $14,875 for the Boys and Girls Club of Gardiner; $669,320 for roads; and $150,800 for fire protection services.

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