PITTSTON — Residents will vote on a $1.6 million proposed town budget at Saturday’s annual Town Meeting.

This year’s proposed budget of $1,561,046 is up 3% — or $50,541 — from last year’s approved budget of $1,510,505.

The annual Town Meeting, which involves voters weighing in on a 16-article town warrant, is scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m. at Pittston Randolph Consolidated School. Then, on Monday, voters will cast ballots at the Town Office for several municipal races, including contested races for the town’s select board and a spot on the Maine School Administrative District 11 school board. There are also uncontested races for the town’s personnel board, planning board, budget committee and position of road commissioner. The polls will be open from noon to 7 p.m.

Select Board Chair Kerri Farris said the leading increase to the budget is the cost of snow plowing, which went up by more than $60,000, from $330,000 to $396,000.

“As in most towns, our plowing costs increased this season, however, it hasn’t affected our budget as much as might be expected, because those funds are taken by excise tax,” Farris said.

In the contested races, Linda Caputo is vying against former state Rep. Jeff Hanley for Theresa Guerrette’s spot on the school board, and Joe Caputo is running against Steve Costello for the seat vacated by Farris, the select board chair.



During his third term on the Pittston budget committee, Costello, 69, realized he wanted to get even more involved with the town.  

“As I worked on the budget committee, there were things that would come up in the select board that I thought I wanted to be more involved with as far as financial events go on,” Costello said. “As far as, what is our five-year financial plan, what major projects do we have coming up and what are the five-year plans in all departments, not just on the administrative side.” 

Costello said he is aware of some projects that he would like to have input in, such as the culverts in town that need to be replaced and the search for an all-in-one position of a tax collector, treasurer and office supervisor for the town. With those projects in mind, he wants to take a closer look at the budget.

“Are we holding too much money? Each town has to keep a certain amount of money in equity to keep it running, but if that gets too big, are we cheating the people? That is their tax money,” Costello said.  

Costello has been a Pittston resident for 20 years and lives with his wife, Sally. Together, they have two children who relocated to New Hampshire, but he said he stays in Pittston because of “the county living and the people in it.”


Costello’s opponent, Joe Caputo, has lived in town — in the same house — for 50 years.

Joe Caputo, 69, said he started to attend select board meetings “pretty religiously” within the past year and decided to run for the position when he heard Farris would not pursue reelection.

“I thought maybe it’s my turn. I’ve been here a while but been on the sidelines and kept to myself and finally decided it was the direction I wanted to go in,” Joe Caputo said. 

The biggest issue Joe Caputo wants to tackle is the town’s accountability, namely concerning road issues, which Joe Caputo said takes up nearly half of the small town’s budget. He wants to make sure the town is spending its budget on projects that will last.

One road in question, Jewitt Road, was built “improperly” he said, and now the town has to fix it after spending $250,000 to repave it three years ago. Joe Caputo said with the dirt roads in town that will need to be repaired, he doesn’t want the town to make the same mistake. 

“I want to implement measures so it never happens again in town. It’s going to take someone with a very thick skin, because it’s going to muddy up some waters,” Joe Caputo said. “My skin is thick enough to do it.”


Joe Caputo’s wife, Linda Caputo, is on the ballot for the school board and planning board.


The first thing Linda Caputo said about her campaign for school board is how much she misses her students and classroom.  

“I miss teaching; I miss students. I like to be in that world and feel like I have a lot of experience in it,” the former teacher said.  

If elected, she plans to use her expertise from years in the classroom to help address current issues students in the district, and across the state, are facing, including social and emotional problems as schools return to a sense of normalcy after the pandemic. 

“Many (children) are struggling with COVID and a lack of school with their behavior, manners, compassion – the kids forgot how to be kind and good-mannered,” Linda Caputo said. “Even though we have planned for social workers, and (MSAD 11 is) not the only school struggling with student needs, we have to figure out how to support the kids who are struggling.” 


Linda Caputo previously ran for school board in 2020, after she was appointed to fill the remainder of Jane Hubert’s term, and then lost to Guerrette.

Both candidates agree on the importance of the area’s vocational school, Capital Area Technical Center, as an option for students to be involved with regardless of if they decide to go or not go to college.

If Hanley is elected, he believes a “local control” approach is best for the district. 

“School boards are a very important function, and a huge chunk of our tax bill is dedicated to education, so you really have to have people on it to know how much spending is going into projects, and why and where, you have to keep an eye on it. Of course, we want to represent parents and students and look out for the concerns of the school system,” he said. 

Hanley does not have any school board experience, but said it has always been an “interest” of his after seeing the influence school boards have within the state in the legislature with laws and social issues. He served for eight years as a Republican in the House of Representatives.  

With his “local control” approach, he believes the school board should be able to come up with its own mandates, rather than be influenced by the state.  

“The state puts so many mandates on schools and teachers, we would be better off with local control,” he said. “One of the things I would foster is let the school districts run themselves.” 

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