PITTSTON — Following extensive debate at the annual town hall, voters have agreed to spend $26,600 so residents can dispose of their trash at the Hatch Hill landfill, with some fearing the trash, old furniture and other rubbish end up illegally dumped on the roads around town if that’s not an option.
Jean Ambrose, chair of the Select Board, objected to the city continuing to pay Augusta’s Hatch Hill landfill for residents’ ability to bring their solid waste there, saying most city residents use private haulers taking their waste away and claiming that these private haulers would still be able to bring the waste of Pittston residents to Hatch Hill whether Pittston pays to become a member or not.
However, resident Fred Kimball believed that position to be wrong and shared an email he received on Friday from John Chalmers, who oversees the Augusta landfill. He said if Pittston’s contract with Hatch Hill expires, private haulers must transport Pittston residents’ trash to where the city contracts for solid waste disposal, not to Hatch Hill. Kimball said the other closest option for Pittston waste is a landfill in West Bath, which he said was 54 miles from the Pittston-Randolph Consolidated School where they met. By comparison, Hatch Hill is just over 20 miles away. The town used West Bath facilities after switching in 2013, but moved back to Hatch Hill a few years after residents complained about the distance.
Residents noted that private waste haulers would not take away items like couches or tires, which residents can bring to Hatch Hill, with a sticker they pay for, if the town remains a member.
Resident Daniel Taggert said some residents, who don’t have an easy way to dispose of these types of items, will dump them on the side of the road. He said someone made it out of an old couch on Troop Road that has since been hit by a snow plow and is in a pile next to the road.
“If you want more trash dumped on secondary roads, that’s your option,” Taggert said. “I have no problem paying a little to get the city cleaned up and convenient. (West Bath) is inconvenient.
Residents also agreed to pay $25,965 for Pittston residents to use the Gardiner Public Library and to contribute $14,875 to help support the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Gardiner, where 104 Pittston children attend programs, according to Ingrid Stanchfield, the club’s executive director.
Resident Terry Shepherd said city spending on things like Hatch Hill and Boys & Girls Club has allowed these entities to “double up” because they receive city funding while charging user fees.
Stanchfield said the club relies on financial support from the cities to pay for its operating expenses and has scholarship programs for children from families who cannot afford its user fees. She said the club receives grants and “we give a lot back” to the city’s funding.
Teachers and parents at the meeting noted that the Boys & Girls Club’s teen program, funded by 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 homework help. The club also offers many sports and other programs for children.
Resident Ann Pistel, noting that residents earlier in the meeting had approved spending $10,825 to maintain the cemeteries, said, “We approved $10,825 for people who are no longer here, why can’t we? we not spend $14,875 for our future?
Residents overwhelmingly approved updates to the city’s building code, last updated in the 1990s. Ambrose said officials worked to update the ordinance once they had realized that it had been so many years since it had been updated.
Some residents noted that the ordinance overused male pronouns in his language, but resident Tim Lawrence said residents could not change the language at the town meeting under state law because the version published and previously discussed was the version they had to vote on.
Ambrose and Planning Council member Jim Lothridge said if residents approved of the ordinance as written, officials could correct pronouns and any other errors and bring the corrected version for another meeting vote. municipality in order to correct the language.
Residents also overwhelmingly approved a medical marijuana prescription. Christian Jensen, a member of the ordinance committee, said members were seeking to allow small home medical marijuana grow operations in the city while limiting the development of larger commercial facilities. He said that without the ordinance, the city would have no say in medical marijuana operations.
“A big company can’t come here and start growing for hundreds of patients,” he said. “It’s individuals, home businesses, two (caregivers) per residence. That’s what we tried to accomplish with this. If we don’t accept that, you have the Wild West.
About 80 residents gathered for just over 2.5 hours, the first traditional in-person town meeting in Pittston since the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Terrifying on the edge’: Lewiston, other Maine towns seek new solutions to homelessness