October 1, 2022

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

With all that is happening in Scarborough at any given moment, following along is not always easy. We do our best to keep you informed of the high level happenings, and we invite you to dive deeper into matters that interest you most. The best place to see weekly updates is by clicking through our Town Calendar, where you'll have access to watch meetings, see what's coming up, and read through agendas to see what's being discussed. Below are some other updates on staff, hours, the upcoming election, fall programs and more. Thank you for being an active, civic-minded follower of Scarborough news.


We are always welcome to hearing from you. Email the Town Council at towncouncil@scarboroughmaine.org. You can also email specific departments. Find contact information in our department directory. If you are unsure where to direct a question or comment, use the Contact Us form at the bottom of our homepage.

Finance Director Retires After 42 Years

There are certain people within the Town of Scarborough staff who have become synonymous with what it means to work for our local government—those who have been with the Town for many years and have become a recognizable asset. Finance Director Ruth Porter falls squarely in that category, having worked in the finance department since July 28,1980 (she began on her mother’s birthday, so it was a particularly auspicious day for her). After more than 42 years with the Town of Scarborough, Ruth is stepping down from her role as Finance Director to retire in early October.

Ruth Porter, Finance Director, with a glass vase from MEGFOA.

Ruth is a value to the Town not only for her sheer skill and efficacy in her role, but also for the tenure and legacy she has in a department that has developed over the years to meet the needs of the community. She started with the Town of Scarborough in 1980 when the population of Scarborough was just over 11,000. Now it’s doubled to about 22,000. As the town has grown, Porter has maintained a responsible, well-managed course for all financial divisions within the town. She oversees the administrative, supervisory, and fiscal functions for the Revenue, Accounting, and Purchasing divisions. She also prepares and administers the annual budget, debt management, capital programs and manages accounting and auditing of both the town and school department finances.

“During Ruth’s incredible tenure with the Town she has overseen the transformation of our organization, to a modern sophisticated operation,” said Town Manager Tom Hall. “Her influence has been immeasurable. From establishing financial systems and to hiring quality staff, her imprint on Scarborough will remain as her legacy. I wish her congratulations and good luck in a much-deserved retirement.”


October 10 is Indigenous Peoples' Day

Town offices will be closed on Monday, October 10. Trash and recycling collection will remain on schedule for the week.

Recognizing Fire Prevention Month

During October we recognize Fire Prevention Month with education and outreach in our community. This year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.” It works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires.  

Our firefighters will be out visiting Scarborough schools this month to talk about fire prevention.

1-2 Minute Survey: Town Hall Hours

The Town of Scarborough is seeking resident input on our hours of operation to ensure we are effectively accommodating the needs of our community. Our current hours are:

Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm

1st & 3rd Wednesday monthly, 8:00am-6:00pm

Please take 1-2 minutes to share your feedback.


Temporary Revenue Office Closure

The Revenue Office will be closed on Thursday, October 6 from 9:30-10:30am. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Property Taxes Due October 17

Property taxes were mailed in early September after the new tax rate was finalized. Tax bills are due October 17, 2022 and March 15, 2023 (interest rate 4.0%). You can pay your taxes in-person at Town Hall, or for added convenience, pay online using credit/debit cards or E-check. A third party convenience fee will be assessed for all online payments: 2.30% for debit/credit card payments and $1.00 fee for E-check payments. The fee is less than the processing fee we collect in the Town Hall if you pay using a credit card.


Reminder from Police Department: Beware of Tax Scams

The IRS warns consumers to guard against scam phone calls from thieves intent on stealing their money or their identity. They threaten you with arrest if payment is not made immediately, and try to gain personal bank account information. Scammers have even spoofed the official IRS phone number on caller ID to make it appear the real IRS is calling.

The IRS will not call you to demand immediate payment, require that you pay your taxes a certain way (like a prepaid debit card), ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone, or threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.

If you get such a call and think you may owe taxes, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040. If you know you don't owe, report the incident to the Treasury Department at 800-366-4484.

Remembering Kim Sperlich, Police Department

This was a difficult week for our Scarborough town employees as we mourned the loss of Kim Sperlich, longtime Administrative Assistant for the Scarborough Police Department. Kim worked for the Town of Scarborough for 21 years, spending her first two years with Public Works and the last 19 years at the Police Department. Her family has told us she loved her job at the Police Department and enjoyed working with everyone. We will miss her outstanding work ethic, attention to detail, her thoughtfulness and frequent smile that could light up the room. Kim was deeply loyal to her family, friends and colleagues. Kim, we love you and will miss you immensely.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, 2022 for the Municipal and Referendum Election, as well as the State of Maine General Election. There will be 4 ballots: 1 State General Election Ballot, 1 Municipal General/Referendum Election Ballot and 2 Municipal Charter Ballots.

We've added details to our website so you can learn more about voter information and what will be on the municipal and referendum ballots. Check it out!


Save the Date! Candidates' Night is an annual opportunity for you to meet the candidates who are on the ballot. It is sponsored by the Scarborough Community Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Kevin Freeman. Candidates' Night will be held on Thursday, October 13 at 6:00pm in Council Chambers and available for remote viewing. Find links on our website as the date nears.

Request an Absentee Ballot

Request your absentee ballot by completing an application either in-person or online: Print and complete the form, then mail it to the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office at P.O. Box 360, Scarborough, ME 04070-0360 or fill out the e‑form request. The deadline to request is November 3.

Voting will open on October 11 for those with absentee ballots.

Register to Vote: Voter registration is available for new voters or for existing Scarborough voters to change their address or name at Town Hall during regular business hours. 

Early Voting

Vote at Town Hall weekdays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., starting on Tuesday, October 11. Town Hall is open until 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday each month. Voting will be extended to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 19 and Wednesday, November 2. Town Hall will also be open one weekend day for additional voting accommodations. Vote early in-person on Saturday, October 22 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Early voting is available through Thursday, November 3. Early voting after November 3 (the Friday and Monday prior to Election Day) will require a Special Circumstance.

For further information on absentee voting and voter registration, please contact the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office at 730-4020.


Save the Date: Council Corner Live is October 20

Thursday, October 20


Location TBD

Join us for Council Corner LIVE, a two-way conversation and a chance for you to get to know your councilors and talk with them candidly about hot topic issues in town. This month's topic is on traffic and transportation in town. This in an opportunity to share your thoughts on traffic observations, plus learn more about the work of our transportation committee, adaptive traffic signals, upcoming projects, and an upcoming transportation study, which was invested in this year.

Councilors rely on public input and engagement to make informed decisions that represent the best interest of its residents. This event will be in-person and recorded for later viewing.

Reminder: Recycle Right!

When you put your recyclables in your bin or our silver bullets*, make sure they're loose, not bagged. Bagged items are treated like trash at ecomaine (because experience has taught them that the bags usually do contain trash) and won't be opened or recycled. The one exception to the "no bag rule" is shredded paper, which should go in clear plastic bags so it doesn't become confetti and so the good folks at ecomaine can see that it's paper.

*We offer overflow recycling next to our Public Works facility, located at 20 Washington Ave (behind The Holy Donut).

Eastern Trail Receives National Recognition

This August, Maine’s Eastern Trail was selected as one of the nation’s best rail-trails! It is the 36th inductee in Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s national Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Scarborough Transportation Committee has been a force behind past Council funding of the Eastern Trail and has been invited to an induction ceremony hosted by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Eastern Trail Alliance, and East Coast Greenway to honor the progress made. Take a look at the press release here.

Community Services May Offer Something for YOU

Scarborough Community Services aims to enhance the quality of life for all residents by promoting a community centered environment through properly maintained public spaces and engaging recreation opportunities. They maintain all town parks and facilities, plus offer programs for youth, teens, adults, and seniors. All programs are described in detail in our digital Fall brochure on our website. All SCS programs are available for online registration, in person registration at the Hub, or over the phone at 207-730-4150.

Helpful Tip: Visit the SCS page on our website routinely for updates posted on their news board. Follow them on Facebook, too.


A Great Job: Work with SCS

Scarborough Community Services offers more than programs...they could offer you a job! They are hiring child care counselors for their Before & After Care program (part-time), a full time parks maintenance worker, and a full time Intergenerational Program Coordinator. Part time shifts for counselors are flexible and convenient to your schedule—work any number of 3-hour shifts. Our counselors are well paid and get branded swag, too! 


Council Corner: Running for Re-Election, Uncontested

By April Sither, 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.

Uncontested, again. 

At first it might sound great. For the second time in two years, I will be seeking a seat on the Town Council, and for the second time I am uncontested. Running an uncontested campaign certainly has its upsides. I will not need to fundraise for expensive newspaper ads, I can reuse the limited number of signs I purchased last year, and I will not have to divert my time away from council work in favor of running a full-scale campaign. And while I appreciate the advantages, I can’t help but feel slightly disappointed. 

Sure, occasional uncontested elections can be dismissed as boring. But more seriously, uncontested elections have the potential to start a chain reaction of disengagement. The fact is, when only one candidate appears on the ballot, people are less likely to vote. Understandably, it doesn’t feel as important to get to know the individuals running or what they stand for. While we all know that contentious topics have a way of driving community engagement, I would argue that highly contested elections have a way of driving engagement even in the absence of controversy. It feels good to connect with someone seeking an elected position; it creates a sense of buy-in to cast your vote for someone you believe in. 

I am no stranger to organizing and running campaigns. Some will remember 2018, when I ran for School Board, there were ten candidates vying for three open seats. That year every single open seat on both the School Board and the Town Council was contested. I spent hours each week organizing volunteers, creating and distributing campaign materials, and meeting with constituents. If a friend or acquaintance was willing to host an event in their living room or garage, I was there. It was completely exhausting…and I loved it. Working hard, meeting so many people, making meaningful connections, all of it made me a better elected official. Of course, I felt proud to have earned my seat, but more importantly I felt confident that my decision-making represented the voice of the community. 

A weird thing happens when you tell people you are running uncontested. In my experience people will have varied initial reactions, but the end result is nearly always the same. Announcing that you are uncontested is a conversation killer. People will almost immediately resign to the idea that they are “stuck with me,” for better or worse. Almost no one wants to debate growth, talk about the budget, or ask me my thoughts on contract zone changes. 

Here in Scarborough we are fortunate to have many highly engaged citizen groups. And while I do not worry that they will lose interest in local politics any time soon, I have observed that uncontested elections make people feel as though the local government doesn’t represent their interests. Even if we agree on many issues, the absence of choice creates a disconnect. There is no substitute for healthy debate, and in my experience nothing drives conversation quite like a constituent ready to hold your feet to the fire. So while it is true that the town needs people willing to do the job, I believe that those people are equally in need of meaningful engagement from the citizens. 

As we head into what will be a highly contested state election, take advantage of opportunities to learn more about your local candidates. In spite of the fact that you are “stuck” with those of us on the ballot, make a conscious effort to attend/watch Candidates’ Night on Thursday, October 13th, keep an eye out for the election edition of the town newsletter, and reach out about the issues that matter to you most. We have the choice as a community to proactively avoid the pitfalls of uncontested elections. If you’ve considered running for a seat but something is holding you back, I’d love to hear from you!

Scarborough Town Council
John Cloutier, Chair • Ken Johnson, Vice Chair • Jonathan Anderson • Jean-Marie Caterina • Don Hamill • Nick McGee • April Sither

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

School Building Project Committee Community Forum

The Scarborough School Building Project Committee is inviting the public to take part in project development—still in its preliminary stages. Help them develop a project "Design Statement" as part of their third community forum. The statement will capture the essence of Scarborough's primary schools and be part of the vision that will help guide the design of the future consolidated primary school.


Scarborough Public Library Updates

A proposed Library expansion is one of the referendum questions on the ballot this election. Looking for facts about the Library’s proposed expansion? Visit the Library's Expansion Project webpage to explore the FAQs! 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

The Library is hosting a month-long photo exhibit of 43 survivors of domestic abuse, some of whom are Scarborough residents. Finding Our Voices, founded by Patrisha McLean, provided the photo display. Join us for several program events mid-month, including a panel discussion on the impact of domestic violence on children in the family on Tuesday, October 18, at 6:30pm. An opening reception and opportunity to view the photos begins at 6:00pm. Other related events during the month include a Story Time for children ages 3-6 at 10:00am on Monday, October 17, and a book group for students in grades 5-8 by Rebekah Lowell, author of The Road to After, at 3:00pm on October 19. Through These Doors is collaborating with the Library to support both of the children’s programs. Domestic violence awareness information and resources from many nonprofit organizations is available at the Library.

Upcoming Programs & Dates

Monday, October 3

Preschool Learning and Discovery Time, 10:00am

Movie Matinee (Where the Crawdads Sing), 1:30pm 

Middle School Book Club Mind Readers, 3:00pm

Tuesday, October 4, 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Friends of Scarborough Library will welcome book donations in the Lobby.

Wednesday, October 5, 5:00pm to 9:00pm

Calling all D&D and Pathfinder enthusiasts for the Library’s new Pathfinder Society! Contact Scarborough resident and Pathfinder Society leader Alfred Falzone (dirigoplaysociety@gmail.com) for details.


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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