April 1, 2024

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

No pranks here for April Fool's Day, just a full lineup of events, programs, and items worth noting from across departments and the Town Council. We recap last week's proposed budget presentation from our Town Manager, share some important committee work updates in case you missed our late-March board/committee newsletter, and some other updates for our community. Read on for details.


What are your summer plans? Scarborough is hiring for a number of seasonal (and full time) positions across several departments. Check out our Job Board for current opportunities and check back routinely for your best fit.

Proposed FY2025 Budget Announced

The municipal budget season happens every year from approximately April to June. The proposed budget was publicly presented by the Town Manager jointly with the Superintendent (representing the School budget) on Wednesday, March 27. Next, Town Council will vote on the first reading of the budget, followed by a detailed review by the Finance Committee in a series of public meetings (see full timeline here). They will prepare a list of recommendations for the Council to consider upon adoption, and the Council is charged with final approval of the municipal budget at second reading. The school budget will be voted on in a referendum election in June.

Read the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget document and look out for our special Budget Overview newsletter in April.

Key Takeaways

• Total proposed town and school budget came in at a 6.46% net budget increase (average starting point has been 8.2%)

• Town Council has a goal of getting this closer to 5%

• This is a level services budget intended to maintain and retain our existing facilities, services, programs and staff while balancing the increased costs that are anticipated.

• Town expects decreased revenue: less from State municipal revenue sharing, less from Homestead Exemption reimbursement, and less permit revenue

• Town expects increased expenses: higher budget for General Assistance, county tax increase, budgeting for State's new Paid Family Leave Law, tipping fee increases for solid waste and recycling removal, and staff retention/collective bargaining agreements

Other factors will affect the final tax bill: town-wide revaluation and elimination of the State’s Senior Property Tax Stabilization Program (to affect around 1,800 households). The budget was developed with these factors in mind

The Finance Committee and full Town Council invite and encourage resident participation. Tune into meetings, look over the budget document, and give feedback to the Council at [email protected].


January Storms Receive Disaster Declaration & Funding

On Wednesday, March 20, President Biden granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Maine regarding the severe storms and flooding that occurred January 9-13, 2024 (two storms combined into one incident). These massive storms resulted in record flooding in Scarborough, with the largest impacts in our coastal neighborhoods.

Cumberland County was included in this declaration and will receive federal funding for both Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA). This declaration is welcome news to our community and secures federal funds to be made available for costs associated with public infrastructure and individual home owner damages sustained during these back to back events. 

Scarborough's Emergency Management team is actively briefing with FEMA and MEMA to understand further details. We will share more as information becomes available.


Changes Coming to Flood Maps in June

The Town of Scarborough will be adopting an updated set of digital flood insurance rate maps (DFIRMs) and floodplain management ordinance, effective June 20, 2024. It is required for the Town to remain in good standing as a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). With the new FEMA flood maps going into effect, Scarborough must adopt an updated Floodplain Management Ordinance which references the new map date on or before June 20, 2024 in order to avoid being suspended from the NFIP.


This page includes a link to the updated FEMA flood maps for Scarborough

See What Our Boards & Committees Have Been Up To

We recently shared a newsletter dedicated specifically to the work of our citizen boards and committees over the past few months. The Planning Board has reviewed some notable projects, like a Rugby Club on Two Rod Road, and the Coastal Waters committee is doing an extensive parking analysis at Pine Point. There are also updates from the Sustainability, Transportation, and Ad Hoc Community Center Committees. Be sure to give it a quick read to stay informed.


Last Days for Board of Education Nominations

There will be two 3-year seats up on the Board of Education in the June 2024 Election. Nomination papers are available on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 and must be returned by close of business on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (Not less than 25 and not more than 100 signatures of qualified registered voters can sign the nomination papers). For additional information, please call the Town Clerk's Office at 207-730-4020.

Be Mindful of Restricted Areas at Beaches (Start April 1)

April 1st marks the start of restricted areas on our town beaches, which means there are sections of the beach where dogs aren't allowed (Higgins and Ferry/Western) or need to be leashed (Pine Point). Please pay attention to the signs that mark restricted areas. The maps show the locations of restricted areas on all of Scarborough's town beaches, as follows:

Higgins Beach - Champion Street to the river

Ferry/Western Beach - From the southern edge of the Ferry Beach parking lot to Ferry Rock and all of Western Beach

Pine Point - Emma's Eats to the jetty

Please note that restricted areas extend the entire width of the beach, from the dune to the waterline. 

Restricted areas are in place to help protect endangered piping plovers that call Scarborough’s beaches home. Plovers typically build their nests in the sand on these sections of the beach. There have already been plover sightings on our beaches this spring!

Is it beach season yet? Not quite, but we've received a lot of questions about our beach parking passes. These will be available for purchase in the Town Clerk's office beginning May 1st. In the meantime, learn more about our Beaches and pass fees for residents and non-residents on our website.

Senior Tax Assistance Supported by Town Council

The Town of Scarborough offers a local Senior Property Tax Assistance Program to eligible seniors, administered through our Assessing department. 2024 applications are now available online (under "Property Tax Assistance Program") or in person at Town Hall. All residents who participated in the program last year have already been mailed a blank application form. The due date isn't until October 15, 2024, so there is plenty of time to prepare.

This year the eligibility requirements have been expanded. In their March 20 meeting, the Town Council approved an increase to the maximum benefit limit. It was raised from $750 to $1,000, and the household adjusted gross income (AGI) limit was raised from $50,000 to $60,000. These changes were in part geared to help soften the impact from the elimination of the State's Senior Property Tax Stabilization program. Tax bills for just over 1,800 households will be higher because they will reflect last year’s budget increase as well as any increase that may result from budget decisions this year. The FY2025 budget was developed with these factors in mind, and is meant to alleviate some of the burden on affected households. Read more in Councilor Anderson's Council Corner article below.


Assessor to Give Revaluation Workshop on April 17

The Assessing office is conducting a town-wide property revaluation in Spring 2024 to meet State compliance and ensure fairness in the tax burden distribution. While the Town has been anticipating this for many months, we are now nearing the stage of finalizing new property valuations. We expect to mail notification letters to property owners by the end of May.

As this approaches, there will be a Revaluation Workshop on Wednesday, April 17 at 5:30pm. The Assessor has presented about the revaluation in a Town Council workshop and finance committee meetings already, but this workshop will be more specific. He will provide estimates of anticipated outcomes and estimated tax bill impacts. The workshop is open to the public and will also be available to watch on the Town's YouTube page.


Contact the Assessing office with any questions at (207) 730-4060 or [email protected].

Town Engineer Given Recognition from Senator Brenner

Last week, Senator Stacy Brenner recognized Town Engineer Angela Blanchette on being the recipient of the New England Water Environment Association Gold Raindrop Award. This award is given to a NEWEA member who has made notable contributions to the stormwater field.

Angela is an important municipal voice for stormwater throughout Maine. Her perspective is often sought during State permit negotiations because she understands the practical impacts of proposed regulations. She was recently invited to serve on the State’s Technical Committee for the update of Maine’s Stormwater Law.

"As we applaud Angela’s remarkable achievement, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting and investing in the vital work of stormwater management," said Senator Brenner in her sentiment. "Her passion, expertise and dedication is an inspiration to us all, and I have no doubt she will continue to make invaluable contributions to our community and beyond."

Left to right: Senator Anne Carney (South Portland), Angela Blanchette, Senator Stacy Brenner (Scarborough/Gorham)

New School Survey Arriving in Mailboxes Soon

Responses will drive School Solution planning

The new School Building Advisory Committee (SBAC) wants your opinion! The Town of Scarborough is mailing surveys to a randomized sample of addresses across Scarborough. The survey covers a variety of topics related to our public school buildings. Our survey consultant, ETC Institute, will collect and curate the anonymous surveys and provide a report with key findings. The survey will also be open to the public for additional input. Your voice is important for a community solution to our schools! 

The school building committee was formed after the Unified School Proposal was rejected by the voters in November 2023. It was created to bring the public into the school planning process at the ground level. Members include volunteers from the Scarborough community who bring expertise and interests to the table, as well as select elected officials.

SBAC members have divided into subcommittees focusing on different aspects of school needs. Their work now is to review and analyze the materials of the previous School committee as they seek a fiscally responsible solution for Scarborough’s school deficiencies. When results from the town-wide survey are available, SBAC members will use this data to inform their analysis and recommendations for a school solution.


Police Department Youth Leadership Camp Experience

"Inspiring Tomorrow's Leaders" for Grades 6-8

Need an idea for a Summer Camp for your child entering 6th, 7th, or 8th grade in the Fall of 2024? The Scarborough Police Department will be hosting, “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders”, a Scarborough Police Department Youth Leadership experience. This program has been held previously and was very successful.

Scarborough Police firmly believe that leadership qualities and traits start at an early age. Children are exposed to thoughts, feelings and actions on a daily basis. They may not recognize how to apply these traits towards leadership. Our goal through this Leadership camp is to have campers recognize what leadership means and how leadership traits can influence them in a positive way and learn to become a good leader by setting a positive example.

We recognize that parents searching for camps in this age group experience challenges finding affordable, quality leadership programs that are both education and fun. As a result, this leadership camp is being offered on the premise of providing that affordable, positive learning experience which will build a foundation of leadership skills for life! The Scarborough Police Department is offering a safe, educational, healthy, positive environment to learn leadership traits and explore the possibilities that will deliver them into the future of leadership.  

This camp will provide an interactive hands-on learning experience. This will be activity driven with a great mix of classroom learning and outdoor activities. Instructors will all be quality leaders from our community that will include educators, sports figures, military personnel, and public safety personnel. The camp is community service based, however that is only part of it. There is something for everyone! It is designed for 6th through 8th graders who are motivated and inspired to become our next generation of leaders. 

The name of the camp is “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders”. We want to inspire this next generation to become natural leaders. Our goal is for the campers to have a great learning experience and provide a positive interactive learning experience which will be shared with their fellow campers and instructors.  

This camp is being held at Scarborough Police Department from July 8th through July 13th. Cost per camper is $100 (non-profit) for the entire camp which includes all material, lunches, snacks, and rafting.  For more information, please contact Lt. Tim Barker at 207-730-4303 or [email protected].


Parks & Grounds Crew Gears Up for Spring

What do you get when you’re fully staffed, have specialized skills and talents, and a stretch of clear weather? A very productive Parks & Grounds crew! This division of our Community Services department is responsible for the maintenance of many parks and fields in Scarborough. This includes daily priorities like mowing, cleaning bathrooms, and trash removal, as well as seasonal preparations like maintaining the skate ponds and snow removal in the winter and maintaining, painting and laying out athletic fields for Scarborough Schools in spring.

Over the past several years, the parks crew has been operating in an overextended capacity while trying to keep up with the demands of the ongoing needs. The crew had four full-time employees and the majority of days were spent doing time consuming upkeep tasks like mowing. A lot of time was also spent commuting between parks, which are spread throughout town several miles apart from each other. The scale of day-to-day responsibilities meant that the crew had to set aside projects like repairs and upgrades.

To remedy this strain on the crew, Community Services added two new positions to the FY2024 budget. They also divided out responsibilities that could benefit from an investment in contracted services. Otherwise, a parks crew could spend all day on mowing alone, setting them back on other needs and keeping them from using their time more efficiently. 

The parks crew has been fully staffed since November, made up of five workers (Ryan, Michael, Ben, Jarred, and Cody), one supervisor (Scott) and one manager (Casey). Each member of the crew has a skilled background in the field and talents that uniquely benefit the repair work and other opportunities that the crew hasn’t been able to achieve in recent years. The Town has also committed to using contracted services for mowing four parks (the crew continues to maintain the Municipal Campus and School Complex). This frees up time to better utilize their skills, and the impact has already made itself apparent. The following are some projects and tasks the crew was able to accomplish in the last few months:

  • Installed bike stations with racks at Memorial Park & Eastern Trail; bike racks at Public Safety Building
  • Rebuilt and replaced the High School Campus and Blue Point Park tennis court backboards
  • Removed the old unused swing set at Blue Point Park
  • Trimmed and cut back overgrown trees/shrubs at all town parks and on school campuses
  • Repaired wash outs on the Eastern Trail by adding material
  • Added reclaimed ramps to many of the buildings on campus for better accessibility
  • Refurbished the chess board in Memorial park (sand, stain & refinish)
  • Built deck onto the Higgins Beach ticket booth
  • Built a sand box for the Community Services Hub playground
  • Built a movable cart for the Community Services Hub jump house 
  • Cleaned up at Pine Point Beach after the January storm
  • Refurbished two old trailers with new paint, lights and new tongue cranks
  • Cleaned and organized the Peterson Sports Complex storage building

Based on these completed projects and keeping up with ongoing tasks, the strategic approach to scale up the crew and contract out select services has had a tremendous impact. There are more consistent maintenance improvements, and the crew is able to use their skill sets more frequently (and save the Town money by doing so). It’s also been great for morale; the workload is diverse and not limited to monotonous routine tasks. The crew isn’t stretched too thin, so they can enjoy their days without feeling behind. Overall, it has provided Community Services with the ability to operate more efficiently.

The public will also enjoy the benefits of this efficiency and should see a difference in the parks and fields you use. Here are some projects that are currently ongoing or upcoming:

  • Building and installing portable tennis court net at Blue Point Park for High School use
  • Building two new bocce courts on campus for high school unified bocce
  • Adding benches and scoring boards for bocce courts
  • Installing new home plates on all school ball fields
  • Installing a new 70' batting cage at the Middle School
  • Installing new water fountains with dog bowls in our town parks
  • Repairing and reinstalling pond fountains in Memorial Park 
  • Painting Higgins Beach ticket booth to match the bathhouse
  • Repairing split rail fence at Pine Point Beach. 
  • Repairing an older Memorial Park sign (will sand, paint and reinstall) 

If you see our Parks & Grounds crew at work at the beach facilities, parks, or municipal/school campus, be sure to say hello and thank them for keeping Scarborough’s recreational areas safe and clean for us to enjoy.

Save the Date: April 24 Community Center Open House

Wednesday, April 24

3:00pm - 7:00pm (Drop by anytime to share your thoughts and feedback)

Wentworth School Cafeteria

Please join the Scarborough Ad-Hoc Community Center Advisory Committee and their consulting team to learn more about the community center development process and provide feedback. The Advisory Committee has been meeting since September 2023 reviewing past data, survey information, and community feedback in an effort to design a facility that best meets the needs of our community, is financially sustainable, and creates a place to bring the entire community together. 

Areas for feedback include, but are not limited to: facility program (spaces/size), operational expenses and revenue analysis, site preference, and look and feel of the proposed facility.

Draft Utile Feasibility Study presented at February 29 meeting. See all meeting materials on the committee webpage.


Learn about the project and upcoming opportunities for input.

Scarborough Marsh Clean-up on Earth Day (April 20)

Scarborough Marsh Earth Day Clean Up details have been announced! Join on Saturday, April 20, 9:00am-Noon, held at the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center (92 Pine Point Road). This is always a fun day for the family and a great way to do your part for the planet and our local community. Be sure to save the date for this annual Earth Day activity!


Spring Fling Family Formal Dance

Saturday, May 4, 5:30-8:30pm

Wentworth School

$8 per person

You are cordially invited to our annual Spring Fling Family Formal Dance! Come dressed to impress for this year’s “Glow Ball” theme as we transform the Wentworth School cafeteria into a dance to remember. Light, bright, or neon dress clothes are encouraged. Professional photography offered on site, as well as a selfie station for those fun and silly poses. Music provided by local radio DJs Joe Lerman and Rob Steele. Light refreshments and snacks provided.


Fun Upcoming Adult Programs

Ancestry Embroidery

Thursday, April 11, 10:30am-12:00pm

SCS Hub, 418 Payne Road

$35 per person, supplies included


In this instructor-led embroidery class, you will learn how to add lots of fun and kitschy embroidery stitches to your vintage photographs. You will leave with a framed piece of wall art that will be sure to get people asking about the story behind your unique piece. Be sure to bring your own photographs to use. Instructor: Gaby Stratmann.

Salad Container Garden Workshop

Friday, April 12, 10:30am-12:00pm

SCS Hub, 418 Payne Road

$15 per person


Create a small salad garden to provide fresh greens plus an attractive addition to your outside space. Design and plant an edible container garden using a variety of provided plants and seeds, including edible flowers, lettuces, kale and herbs. Learn how to take care of, harvest and use produce from the garden. Please bring your own containers. Instructor: Deena Ball.


Town Council Corner: A Unique Year, A Unique Budget

By Jon Anderson, Scarborough Town Council

On March 27th, the Town Manager and Superintendent submitted budget proposals after working for months with Town and School staff. Now the budget is in the hands of the Council and the School Board to make adjustments. The budget is intended to reflect the values and priorities of the community, so it’s very important we hear from you throughout the process to guide the choices you’ve elected us to make. Roundtables are planned for April 20th, 22nd and 24th. Finance Committee Meetings are on the Town Calendar and will be happening weekly starting the week of April 8th and are open to the public. If you have thoughts, questions or recommendations, you can email the Town Council and School Board at [email protected] or [email protected].  

The Council established a goal this year to keep the net budget below 5% and the proposal came in at 6.4%. This is the lowest proposal I’ve seen in my four budget cycles on Council. In a normal budget year, this proposal would equate to a ~3.64% increase to everyone’s tax bill, virtually the same as last year. As we work through the process to achieve the net budget goal of 5%, that would be a ~2.24% increase. As a reference, the 4 year average tax impact is ~2.1%.  This budget proposal as it stands is aligned with our conservative tradition to keep the budget increase consistent with the long-term average of inflation.  I am confident the Council will have an easy time getting to our 5% net budget goal, however this is a unique budget year, one where we cannot generalize the impact to taxpayers. 

Due to the revaluation taking place, your relative share of taxes could be higher or lower based on your new assessed value. Your assessed value will be set by market forces outside the Town’s control to ensure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes. This process is required by State law.  For 1,800 senior households that participated in the state’s tax freeze program, that benefit is no longer available and these residents will see both the impact of the 2024 (3.77%) and 2025 budget (TBD) investments on their 2025 tax bill. To address this, in the 2025 budget the Council recently increased the local senior tax rebate program by an additional $250 and the income qualification to $60,000 adjusted gross income to temper this impact. With the timeline the Town Assessor is working towards, residents will know their individual impact before they vote on the School Budget in June. Additionally, at our April 17th meeting, the Assessor will be able to give the Council a better sense of the general community impact from the revaluation to further guide our decision making on the budget. The outcome of this meeting may result in the Council seeking to go further below the stated goal of “less than 5% net budget”, resulting in good and arguably necessary investment choices being deferred.

This unique situation was top of mind for Town and School officials as they worked through their proposals, and will be top of mind for the Town and School as we work through the request to make strategic investment choices for our community. One very unique thing this year is there are several collective bargaining unit negotiations taking place across the Town and School - police, fire, public works, bus drivers, education support professionals, custodians and food service workers. Our biggest investment is in our people who daily answer the call to serve and are proud to provide quality support to our community, which was evident in our Town-wide Community Survey Results. In customer service and quality questions, Scarborough ranks well above the region and the nation across many of our departments.  In this current economic environment, many of their wages are no longer competitive making recruitment and retention a challenge. We are not only competing with higher wages being offered by other Towns, but also with the private sector where these same workers can make higher wages with potentially less responsibility and stress. Town and school staff are the backbone of our operations and providing fair and equitable wages are critical to sustain service levels in our community.  

Wage adjustments and increased positions at the School are the biggest budget drivers this year. Given the unique circumstances everything will need to be reviewed thoroughly and prioritized accordingly to meet our goal. This is where we need your help! I will certainly have my views and opinions, and in order to best represent you I need to hear from you. There are many opportunities and ways to engage and I look forward to hearing your recommendations before we have our final proposal approved on May 15th!


Scarborough Town Council

Nick McGee, Chair • April Sither, Vice Chair • Jonathan Anderson • Jean-Marie Caterina • Don Cushing • Don Hamill • Karin Shupe

Town Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month. Visit our Town Calendar for links to attend and view agendas.


Scarborough Schools March Spotlight Award

The Scarborough Board of Education is proud to announce the March Spotlight Award Winners who were recognized during the March 21st Board of Education meeting (view on the School website or YouTube channel). Meagan Haley and Michelle LaJoie, both of Pleasant Hill School, were nominated for their innovative and inspirational project, with Spillway and Scotty, “A Dog and His Boy,” at the K-2 schools. This project was also recognized by the local media last year and showcased the hard work of Meagan and Michelle through their grant writing, their involvement in the schools, and how impactful inclusion is within our community.

Pictured above left to right: Frayla Tarpinian, Grace Leger, Carolyn Gammon, Jillian Trapini-Huff, Jenna Leong, Meagan Haley, Michelle LaJoie, Lisa Krikorian Wentzell, Shannon Lindstrom, Colby Shumway, Renee Richardson, Geoff Bruno, John Kelleher, Diane Nadeau.

Scarborough Public Library: Upcoming Programs

Earth Day Challenge for Kids

April 1-22

Beginning April 1, kids can pick up an Earth Day Challenge bingo board. Complete conservation activities like turning off the water when you brush your teeth, eat a meatless meal, pick up litter etc. All Earth Day Challenge sheets should be returned by April 22 (Earth Day). All completed forms will receive a free packet of seeds and will be entered into a drawing for a grand prize.  

National Library Week

April 7-13

Learn all about the digital resources at Scarborough Public Library during National Library Week. Library cards are free to Scarborough residents and to those who work in Scarborough. With the card, you can use the library resources from home with our free online services. Learn how to request physical materials and to access free ebooks, audiobooks, movies, and magazines. We'll also have a program on podcasts for those who are curious but don't know how to get started listening to podcasts. All of our Library Week events, like all of our events, are free to anyone, but registration is required due to space constraints.

Crash Course in Digital Library Resources

Monday, April 8, 10:00am


Take a deep dive into using Cloud Library and Libby, Kanopy, our free video streaming service and Flipster, our source for digital magazines. 

Introduction to the Library's Website & Minerva Catalog

Tuesday, April 9, 11:30am


Learn how to request materials in the Minerva and MaineCat catalogs. Explore the Library’s website and discover how sign up for events and booklists.

Bring your own device or we will have computers and borrowable tablets to use.

Introduction to Audiobooks & Podcasts

Thursday, April 11, 11:30am


Learn how to listen to audiobooks on your mobile device or computer using the cloudLibrary app and your library card. Then we'll provide an introduction to the world of podcasts with a focus on how to find content that interests you, how to listen to podcast content on your mobile device, and how to set up notifications about new episodes of your podcast favorites.


Monday – 9am to 5pm • Tuesday – 9am to 7pm • Wednesday – 9am to 7pm • Thursday – 9am to 7pm • Friday – 9am to 5pm • Saturday – 9am to 5pm • Sunday – Closed

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