PITTSTON — Following extensive debate during the annual Town Meeting, voters agreed to spend $26,600 so residents can dispose of their trash at Hatch Hill landfill, with some citing concerns trash, old furniture and other junk could end up dumped illegally on roadsides around town if that is not an option.

Jean Ambrose, Select Board chairwoman, argued against the town continuing to pay Augusta’s Hatch Hill landfill for the ability of residents to take their solid waste there, saying most people in town use private haulers who take their trash away and claiming those private haulers would still be able to take the waste of Pittston residents to Hatch Hill whether Pittston pays to join as a member municipality or not.

However, resident Fred Kimball considered that stance misguided and shared an email he got Friday from John Chalmers, who oversees the landfill in Augusta. It stated that if Pittston’s contract with Hatch Hill expires, then private haulers must take Pittston residents’ waste to wherever the town contracts with for solid waste disposal, not Hatch Hill. Kimball said the closest other option for Pittston’s trash is a landfill in West Bath, which he said was 54 miles from the Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School where they were meeting. By comparison, Hatch Hill is just over 20 miles away. The town used the West Bath facility after switching in 2013, but returned to Hatch Hill within a couple of years after residents complained about the distance.

Residents noted private trash haulers won’t take items like couches or tires, which residents can take to Hatch Hill, with a sticker they pay for, if the town remains a member.

Resident Daniel Taggert said some residents, left without an easy way to dispose of those types of items, will dump them on the roadside. He said someone did that with an old couch on Troop Road that has since been hit by a snowplow and is in a heap next to the road.

“If you want more trash dumped on the backroads that’s your option,” Taggert said. “I’ve got no problem paying a little bit for the town to be cleaned up, and for it to be convenient. (West Bath) is not convenient.”


Residents also agreed to pay $25,965 for Pittston residents to be able to use the Gardiner Public Library and contribute $14,875 to help support the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gardiner, where 104 Pittston children attend programming, according to Ingrid Stanchfield, the club’s executive director.

Resident Terry Shepherd said the town spending on items such as Hatch Hill and Boys & Girls Club allowed those entities to “double dip” because they receive funding from the town while also charging user fees.

Pittston voters hold up pink cards Saturday to vote yes on a warrant article about Hatch Hill landfill during the annual Pittston Town Meeting at the Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Stanchfield said the club relies on the financial support from the towns to pay operating expenses and has scholarship programs for children from families that can’t afford to pay its user fees. She said the club receives grant funding and “we bring a lot to the table in return” for the funding from the town.

Teachers and parents at the meeting noted the Boys & Girls Club’s teen program, funded with state and federal money, is an invaluable resource providing local teens with a safe place to go during the summer and after school and provides help with homework. The club also offers extensive athletic and other programs for kids.

Resident Ann Pistel, noting that residents earlier in the meeting approved spending $10,825 to maintain cemeteries, said, “We approved $10,825 for people no longer here, why can’t we spend $14,875 for our future?”

Residents overwhelmingly approved updates to the town building code, last updated in the 1990s. Ambrose said officials worked to update the ordinance once they realized it had been so many years since it was updated.


Some residents noted the ordinance over-uses male pronouns in its language, but resident Tim Lawrence said residents couldn’t amend the language at the town meeting under state law, because the version posted and discussed previously was the version they had to vote on.

Ambrose and Jim Lothridge, a member of the Planning Board, said if residents approved of the ordinance as written, officials could fix the pronouns and any other errors in it and bring the fixed version for another town meeting vote to correct the language.

Residents also overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana ordinance. Christian Jensen, a member of the ordinance committee, said members sought to allow small, home-based, medical marijuana grow operations in town while limiting the development of larger commercial facilities. He said without the ordinance the town would have not a say on medical marijuana operations.

“A big company can’t come in here and start growing for hundreds of patients,” he said. “It’s individual, home businesses, two (caregivers) per residence. That’s what we tried to accomplish with this. If we don’t accept this, you have the wild west.”

About 80 residents met for just over 2 1/2 hours, the first in-person, traditional Town Meeting in Pittston since the coronavirus pandemic.

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