January 1, 2023

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

Welcome to 2023! We hope you all fared well through the holiday season and stayed safe during the coastal storm. We're looking ahead to a vibrant new year, keeping you and the family entertained with fun seasonal programs and events. Our Town Council and staff continue to work through ongoing discussions around growth and its subsequent impacts on traffic, conservation, and affordable housing. A key focus this year will be reviewing and implementing actionable goals from our 2021 Comprehensive Plan—citizen-led committees have already begun this work and are a good resource for learning more. Read on for more reflections on 2022 and what's to come in the year ahead.


Don't stop here! Our social media pages are a great resource for quick updates and reminders. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and give our Community Services Facebook page a 'Like' too (skate pond status updates will be here).

Town Manager Year-End Message

By Tom Hall, Scarborough Town Manager

As we ring in a new year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on 2022 and the defining experiences affecting the Town of Scarborough and its residents. Over the past couple of years, we have continued to respond to the ripple effects brought on by the pandemic. This past year was no different, and presented our community with housing-related challenges on a scale that was new to Scarborough.

Funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance program, a well-intentioned federal program put in place to address the displacement of individuals and families, resulted in the temporary conversion of short-term lodging into longer term housing. While it provided housing for individuals struggling with homelessness and affordable housing, it also resulted in a significant increase in demand on our emergency services as a portion of the population required additional social services that largely did not exist

Without these necessary support services in place, we saw a significant increase in the demand on our Police, Fire and EMS services, the likes of which we have not seen before. The Town has worked cooperatively with the innkeepers to return their operations to short term lodging, for which they are licensed and constructed, early in the new year. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the compassion and thoughtfulness that the Town Council has displayed in responding to this situation, and thank our public safety teams for their efforts over the last year as they managed these challenges with the utmost professionalism and empathy. In particular, our Social Services Navigator, Lauren Dembski-Martin, was invaluable in managing this challenging situation.  

The Town of Scarborough has also faced the internal challenge of a changing workforce. Over the last year, we have seen more retirements than at any other time in my memory, in part due to timing, but undoubtedly hastened by the challenges of the pandemic. As a consequence, in the last 15 months we will have replaced nearly half of the senior leadership team and have seen hundreds of years of experience and service to the community of Scarborough transition into retirement. Make no mistake, these retirements were much deserved as three retirees had over forty years of service each to the Town. The Town of Scarborough is fortunate to have some of the finest staff and leadership I have had the pleasure to work with; quality that can often only come with tenure and experience. While I wish each one of our retirees well in retirement, losing the institutional knowledge and steady hand that comes with decades of experience would be a challenge in any organization. Meanwhile, I am grateful we have been able to recruit and promote some outstanding leadership and am enthusiastic to see what we will accomplish together and for the Scarborough community in the upcoming year.

Looking ahead, there are a few key areas of focus that will be addressed with the support of staff and guidance of the Town Council. We will continue to manage growth in our community through a thoughtful and thorough review of the policies and practices we have in place to ensure the pace of growth is in the community’s best interest. The Town Council, with the assistance from staff, will be revisiting our growth management ordinance in the early part of 2023. Managing the pace of growth is just one of multiple strategies that will be advanced simultaneously, including updating our development impact fees and heightening efforts around land conservation. I remain confident and hopeful that we are working towards the appropriate balance of interests and a shared understanding and vision of a complicated issue. 

Part of managing growth and development in Scarborough is outlined in the Town’s Comprehensive Plan, developed over several years with public input and officially adopted by the Town Council in 2021. The Comprehensive Plan is a visioning document approved by the State, which is a prerequisite to a growth management ordinance and provides a blueprint on where we encourage growth and more importantly where we do not want growth to occur. In the end, our strategy to manage growth must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and must balance competing priorities. In the upcoming year we expect to make substantial progress on the implementation of our plan through committee initiatives and council action. We encourage the community to follow the progress and participate in the implementation. 

I hope all of our residents have had a meaningful year, a celebratory holiday season, and I wish you and yours a happy new year.

In case you missed it...

Scarborough Police Chief's Year in Review

It's been one year since Scarborough Police Chief Mark Holmquist joined the department last December. During his first year, the department has been very active with many internal changes, combined with the day to day challenges our officers face in our community. Chief Holmquist shares the details in a year-end reflection.


Trash Collection Schedule & Safety Reminders

Town offices will be closed on Monday, January 2 for the New Years holiday. Trash collection will remain on schedule; there will be no changes to curbside collection.

Our Town's CodeRED computer alert system is used to quickly notify large groups of people in emergency situations like criminal activity, severe weather, road closures, evacuations, and missing persons. It's free and secure to sign up for cell phone alerts. Select how to receive alerts: text, phone call and/or email. Help us keep you informed and safe.


Route One through the Scarborough Marsh during the storm on Friday, December 23. Photo by Tom Bell/GPCOG.

Urgent Deadline (Jan 2): Complete CCEMA Application

The winter storm on December 23rd caused extensive damages to public infrastructure, and the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) is gathering information as the State of Maine considers whether to apply for a Presidential disaster declaration.

The State is requesting individuals and small businesses to report any uninsured damages they might have incurred. The information will be forwarded to the Maine Emergency Management Agency for a request for a federal Individual Assistance (IA) declaration (there is no guarantee that we will get the IA declaration). This process has not been done in this area since the 1998 ice storm.

We encourage you to provide information of any uninsured damages resulting from the December 23 storm. Due to the urgency of this process, please complete this application by Monday, January 2. Any pictures provided will strengthen the application. The application and pictures can be emailed to CCEMA-EOC@cumberlandcounty.org.


End of Season Christmas Tree Disposal

Ready to be free of your Christmas tree? Public Works will be conducting curbside pickup for real trees (nothing artificial) throughout the month. Place your tree on the curbside on the same day as your trash collection any week in January. Please place it far enough from the curb that it will not get hit by a car or covered by a snowplow, but still within reach for our crew. Please put it out on the day of your trash collection so it doesn't freeze to the ground.

Trash & tree pick up will not be happening at the same time; Public Works does tree pickup separate from the Pine Tree Waste trash/recycle pickup. If it is snowing on the day you plan to put your tree out for pick up, please wait until the following week. If snowing (or dangerous road conditions) our crew will be plowing rather than picking up trees. Thank you for your patience!


In the New Year I Resolve to...Be a Better Recycler!

Our Public Works department has noticed a sharp rise of miscellaneous non-recyclable objects in household recycling bins...AC units, styrofoam, bags with wrapping paper in it, etc. Moreover, there has been an increase of objects left out on the curb when they don't fit in the bins. In an effort to reduce litter in our community and keep our recycling program efficient, please take a look at the sticker on your recycling bin informing what can and can't go in. When in doubt, throw it in the trash. And if you have extra trash, remember that our 20 Washington Ave Public Works facility offers an overflow dumpster for all regular household trash (no bulky items), available at any time.


Dispatch Manager Appointed to E911 Advisory Council

This December, Dispatch Manager Joe Thornton received approval from Governor Mills of his appointment to serve on the E911 Advisory Council. The Emergency Services Communication Bureau receives advice and assistance from a 17-member advisory council representing a broad spectrum of public safety and public policy interests. Thornton will serve as the Municipal Representative. "This is certainly a testament to Joe's expertise in the field and his dedication for many years to public safety," says Police Chief Holmquist. Congratulations Joe and thank you for representing Scarborough Public Safety!

Register/Renew Your Dog License before January 31st


Upcoming Activities with Community Services

Mad Science

Grades K-5

Mondays 4-5pm, 1/9 to 3/13

Community Services Hub

$200 per child

Join us in discovering the many ways science helps us explore our world! Mad Lab Medley is full of exciting sampler courses aimed to meet the varied interests and imaginations of today's young minds! Experiment with hovercrafts, foaming concoctions, and Technicolor Blenders. Grab your ticket to the stars with your own pocket sky map. From telescope to microscope and everything in between, this class will leave you inspired by the wonders of science!

Winter Theater

Ages 6-12

Saturdays 9-11am, 1/21-2/11

Community Services Hub

$175 per child

In this 4-week program, participants will learn theatrical skills in a fun, safe, and creative environment through improvisational games, children’s plays, and skits. There will also be the opportunity for active play and outdoor games during sessions. The program will conclude with a short performance for parents and friends. No theater experience is necessary... just an open mind and willingness to try!


Teen Night: Movie Night

Grades 6-8

Friday, January 20, 6-8pm

Community Services Hub

$20 per child

We're having a winter movie night at the Hub! Middle schoolers are invited to join us for this chill night at the Hub. We will have a pizza dinner followed by a viewing of Top Gun: Maverick (PG-13) with popcorn.


Check out all the upcoming programs for our 55+, Adult, Teen, Youth programs and Special Events in our 2022-23 Winter Programs brochure. View it online or pick up a printed copy at the Hub (418 Payne Road) or Public Library.

It's Skate Pond Season!

For over three decades, Scarborough Community Services has maintained a winter skate pond for the community to enjoy at no cost, located at 20 Municipal Drive (by the tennis courts and track). There are two distinct rinks—an upper rink for hockey and a lower rink for skating.

Scarborough Community Services will monitor conditions and maintain the rink throughout the season, including snow removal and periodic reflooding to resurface the ice. Both rinks will be open to the public, depending on weather and ice conditions, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. Rink statuses will be posted on their Facebook page. If you go by and it looks like you could skate, and there are no signs out saying it is closed, feel free to use the rink. However, if there are signs out saying the rink is closed, please do not skate. Rink closures are intended for public safety and to prepare the rink for incoming colder weather, if staff foresee an opportunity to improve surface conditions.


Coming Soon! Friday Night S'mores Socials

Fridays, January 13, 27, and February 10

6:00 to 7:30pm

Municipal Ice Rink

Save the dates for these winter evening socials! Grab your skates and meet us at the Municipal Ice Rink (near Wentworth School) for an evening of skating, music, and free hot cocoa and s’mores. No ice? No problem! If the ice is not safe for skating we will move the hot cocoa and s’mores to the Hub for some indoor play.


Sand for Seniors

Scarborough senior citizens in need of sand for their driveways and sidewalks can have a bucket of sand delivered FREE to their residence. Please call Officer Tanner Mann at (207) 730-4328 or email your request to tmann@scarboroughmaine.org. Please be sure to leave your name, telephone number, and address.

Council Corner: Good Tidings to You & Happy New Year!

By John Cloutier, Town Council

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Scarborough Town Council.

It’s such a blessing to celebrate the Holidays in a place like Scarborough. As the Town Council begins to prepare for 2023, I feel fortunate to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support, compassion and engagement that you showed in 2022 and to reflect on how things went. It was a transitional year at Town Hall, one where we congratulated and thanked several legends of our Community on their well-deserved retirement or next chapters: Police Chief Moulton, Fire Chief Thurlow, Public Works Director Mike Shaw, Finance Director Ruth Porter, Planning Director Jay Chace… so many decades of experience and leadership.

We also mourned the unexpected loss of key staff but continued to put the customer first and deliver the exceptional service that our residents have come to expect. I don’t remember a year when so much change was absorbed and resilience demonstrated. A special thank you to Town Manager Tom Hall and his staff for how well they managed this period of transition. I’d also like to express a very warm welcome to each of our new senior staff. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring with such capable leaders on board.  

As a Town Council, a few things that we did NOT do speak as loudly to me as the actions that were taken. Let’s start with a few of those:

1. We issued NO new debt.

2. We approved NO new Contract Zoning Arrangements.

3. We approved NO new Credit Enhancement Agreements.   

There are certainly situations when it is reasonable to consider any of these, but I take a small sense of pride in the fact that we didn’t in 2022.  

Some highlights of the actions that were taken:

1. We increased the capture rate in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to 100%. This means that instead of giving the State and County 58% of each new tax dollar in these areas, the Town is able to use those funds on approved Projects.

2. We expanded the list of approved projects within our TIF districts to include a Community Center and Consolidated Primary School.

3. We took action to curtail the use of area hotels as homeless shelters, and to allow for the transition back to normal operations while providing needed support to those receiving Emergency Rental Assistance.

4. We took steps to proactively prepare for upcoming MAJOR capital investments by looking ahead to see what we will likely be able to afford without deviating from our long-standing tax rate goal of no more than a 3% increase.

5. We acted unanimously on 126 occasions. The only item that passed with a simple majority (4-3) was the rezoning of a portion of land along Highland Ave. Everything else passed with 5 votes or more. A lot of time and effort was put into crafting actions that could be supported by a strong majority of the Town Council.   

6. We amended the Growth Management Ordinance to allow planned development to proceed within our designated Growth areas. This development is consistent with both our zoning and the vision outlined in Scarborough’s Comprehensive Plan.  

7. We instituted new communication and engagement tools, such as Councilor Corner Live, that have proven to be quite popular.

As of this writing, the Town issued 52 residential growth permits for new Single Family Homes in 2022. We also issued building permits for 91 new Affordable Housing Units, 11 Manufactured Homes and 74 Multi-Family units. This is the lowest number of single family homes and the highest number of deed restricted affordable housing units in the past decade. The total number of units (230) is consistent with our 10 year average of 227. We invested a lot of our time as a Council into holding the developers of our newest neighborhood, The Downs, and ourselves accountable to commitments that had been made in the past.    

I was personally disappointed that the referendum to improve the Scarborough Public Library failed, but fully respect the will expressed by our voters. Failed referendums are very expensive since the costs sunk into defining them do not result in a tangible asset. In my new role as Finance Chair this year, I hope to learn from this failure and to see if there is a better way to approach our Capital Planning.  

There is good reason to be optimistic about what we will accomplish together in 2023. It has been a privilege and honor to serve such a wonderful community.  


Scarborough Town Council

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

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

Scarborough Public Library News

Camden Conference in February

The Library is once again partnering with the Camden Conference to present supplemental, local programming leading up to the 36th annual conference to be held February 17-19. The theme of this year’s conference is Global Trade and Politics: Managing Turbulence.

Monday, January 23, 6:30pm

Rodger Cuzner, Consul General of Canada in Boston, will discuss and answer questions via Zoom about the incredibly important bilateral trade relationship between Canada and the United States. Attend directly on Zoom or participate from the Library.

Wednesday, February 1, 6:30pm

Peter Dugas, Maine State Coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby, will discuss how various policy proposals impact climate change as well as international business and trade. He will demonstrate the EN-ROADS Climate Solutions Simulator, a freely available tool that provides the public with a means to explore various climate solutions and will discuss how Maine can influence the nation and world on climate policy. Join us at the Library for this in-person event or attend virtually via Zoom.

These programs are part of a collaborative programming partnership with the York Public Library, Kennebunk Free Library, Patten Free Library in Bath, and Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland. Visit the Library’s Camden Conference Events page to view a list of all programs and to register.

Free Movie Matinee: Little Women (2019) 

Monday, January 9, 1:30pm 

Rated PG; 135 minutes 

Little Women chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young ladies in mid-nineteenth-century New England. Seating will be limited and registration is required. Call 883-4723 option 4, email askspl@scarboroughlibrary.org, or go online to register for the January 9, 2023 showing.

Early Release Day Activity: Super Smash Bros. Tournament

Wednesday, January 11, 2:00-3:30pm

Kids ages 10 & up are invited to join us for this fun elimination style Super Smash Bros. Tournament. Do you have what it takes to SMASH the competition? Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call us at 207-396-6277 or visit our website www.scarboroughlibrary.org FMI.

Youth Services offers weekly recurring programs and activities like Preschool Learning & Discovery Time, Mind Readers: A Middle School Book Club, Rhythm & Rhyme (for babies and toddlers), Lego Block Party and more. View a complete listing and details on their website.


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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