March 15, 2020
Property Tax Relief Programs
Emily Behn, Assessing Assistant
The State of Maine offers several property tax exemptions to homeowners.  The Homestead Exemption, Veterans Exemption, and Blind Persons Exemption applications are available online or in the Assessing Office.  All exemption applications must be submitted to our office by April 1, 2020 to see the benefit for the upcoming Fiscal Year. We cannot accept emailed applications.
The Homestead Exemption is offered to residents who have owned their primary residence in Maine for 12 months with no break in ownership.
The Veteran's Exempts is offered to a veteran or the surviving spouse, minor child, or widowed parent of a veteran. The Veteran must be age 62 or older, receive 100% disability from the VA, or be paraplegic. By State guidelines, only veterans who served during a recognized war period are eligible for this exemption.
The Blind Persons Exemption is offered to residents who are legally blind.

The Town of Scarborough is proud of our Property Tax Assistance Program (PTAP). Though the application deadline is not until October 15, 2020, PTAP applications are available now in our office on the bottom floor of the Town Hall and on our website
The three PTAP eligibility requirements are:
  • Applicant is age 62 or older as of the application deadline
  • Applicant has been a Town resident for at least 10 years as of October 15, 2020
  • Applicant's household Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is not more than $50,000
If your annual property tax burden exceeds 5% of household AGI, then you may be eligible for a return of up to $600 at the end of the year. For residents who rent, we consider your rent as your tax burden.
When you submit your application, we will need to see proof of income. This will either be your 2019 Tax Return of your year-end Social Security Benefit Statement. If you rent, we will also need a statement of rent paid between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

Please contact our office at (207) 730-4063 or by email if you have any questions.

Learn more about COVID-19 and the Town of Scarborough's response on our website.

Scarborough Public School COVID-19 Response
Dr. Sanford J . Prince IV, Superintendent of Schools
Given the growing concern about the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus across the state of Maine and throughout our nation, we have determined that the best course of action is to close our schools now.

We have come to the realization that closing our schools now and taking this time to "flatten the curve" would be the best course of action to ensure the ongoing safety of all of our students and staff. Please know that this decision does not come lightly, and we completely understand that cancelling school may present many challenges for you.

On Friday, March 20, we will reassess and make decisions about ongoing closures or the ability to reopen, and we will communicate that information to you. At this time, the decision to close schools is a local decision based on what we are feeling is in the best interest of our community. An update on how we plan to support the continuation of learning will be shared via a separate communication to you on Monday, March 16.

Thank you for your understanding during this extremely challenging time.


Sanford J. Prince IV

Councilor's Corner
Betsy Gleysteen, Town Council
Since I was elected in November of 2019, I have spoken with many Scarborough residents who want a voice in how our town runs, but they aren't sure they can make a difference. Local Government affects our daily lives more directly than any other form of government, and your effective engagement is very important. Scarborough is your town - be informed and be heard! Here are a few of the many questions residents have asked:
  • How do I find out what's happening?
  • How do I make my opinions known about an issue?
  • How do I learn more about how our town runs?
Let's start with how to find out what's happening. To understand what's happening in town, you need to track the work being done by your elected officials and various town committees. The town website is currently the best place to find this information. Note that the school runs their own website. The town home page contains a navigation section on the left, large icon buttons throughout the page with "hot topics" and some services, a scrolling news feed in the middle section, and a town calendar with all upcoming meetings on the right.

In the navigation list on the left click on "Town Council" to access the Council page. From here, you will find your elected Councilors and their contact information on the right.  Click "Agendas & Minutes" (or scroll down the Council page) to see those and to access meeting recordings. Council meetings are typically held on the first and third Wednesday of the month, but this varies over the summer and special meetings can also be called, so check this page often for upcoming meetings. 

Agenda packets that contain the agenda and supporting documentation are typically published the Friday before a meeting. Another important component of the Councilor page found at the top is a link that says "Council Committees". There is limited space here to describe the function of the Council standing committees, so please explore the agenda and minutes on the Council Committee page to learn more about these important committees. Both the Finance Committee and the Ordinance Committee are recorded.

Click here for the complete article

The 2020 Comprehensive Plan is Ready to Review
Jay Chace, Director of Planning and Code Enforcement
The Town of Scarborough's Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) released a new draft of the proposed 2020 Comprehensive Plan for the public to review. 
The intent of this plan is to respect that there are many sides to Scarborough, all of which can be woven together in a single community looking toward the future. The LRPC is working with town leadership on identifying the schedule and process for public dialogue, but the first step is spreading the word that the 2020 Comprehensive Plan is ready for review.
The Comprehensive Plan articulates a long-term vision of the community and provides a series of steps to support the vision. The Plan is aimed at being an expression of Scarborough's residents hopes and thoughts on important issues that impact the day-to-day experience of what it means to live and work in Scarborough.
While the Plan explores many facets of the town, from land use patterns, natural resource protection, transportation, housing, jobs, resilience, etc., the five core Vision statements from the Plan are:
  • The Scarborough Marsh is central to the Town's identity, and therefore future land use will follow a pattern of development that is sensitive to protecting the Marsh as well as the town's natural resources.
  • Future land use patterns will create opportunities for the efficient delivery of municipal services and infrastructure, resulting in fiscal sustainability.
  • Our ordinances will support the diversity and character of existing and emerging neighborhoods, centers and open spaces.
  • Scarborough's economy will support a broad assortment of companies that provide stability for the tax base, that blend with the natural resource base, and that support opportunities for residents.
  • Scarborough's transportation network will support current and future land uses that create efficiencies which reduce the impact of traffic on residents and businesses. 
One will notice many changes and modifications in this revised draft from the prior draft which are aimed at reflecting comments the LRPC heard from the resident's as well other town committees and boards. We look forward to continuing the discussion as the town works toward adoption of the Comprehensive Plan.  

Transitioning to Organic Lawn Care - Spring
Rita Breton, Co-chair of Scarborough Pest Management Advisory Committee 
Jami Fitch, Scarborough Sustainability Coordinator
Thanks to the Pest Management Policy passed in 2011, all those who use Scarborough parks, playgrounds and sports fields have greatly reduced exposure to pesticides . Families, pets, wildlife and waterways will all benefit as more and more homeowners learn about organic lawn care, and like the Town, choose not to use weed and bug killers. If you are interested in a lawn that is healthy and safe for people, pets, and pollinators, here are a few easy things you can do this Spring to get started. Scarborough Adult Education is also offering a class on Maine Healthy Lawn Care Made Simple on April 15, 2020. Register online  or call 207-730-5040 to sign up.
  • Begin with a soil test - The only way to know what your soil needs is to do a soil test. It will tell you the levels of pH, nutrients and organic matter in your lawn and what to add to your soil to grow a healthy lawn. A soil test can be done any time, but doing it in mid to late spring will ensure you know what your lawn needs at the start of the growing season. Free soil test kits are available at the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office; University of Maine Cooperative Extension Office, and online. Testing itself costs $18.
  • Over-seed - Use "endophyte-enhanced" perennial rye grass to seed thin or bare spots. It has the best chance of germinating before weeds emerge and will help resist pests and disease. Typically, shady grass seed mixes will have the right types of grass for our area.
  • Weed - Pull young weeds by hand while roots are short and soil is moist. Also, learn to "read your weeds". They can tell you a lot about the mineral content, drainage and hardness of your soil. 
  • Sharpen lawn mower blades - Take your mower to your local hardware store or garden center to sharpen blades. Sharp blades give a "cleaner" cut and help prevent diseases.
  • Mow Smart - Cut little and often. Mow at least weekly during the growing season and remove just the top one-third of the grass blades. Cut lawn down to 2 inches in early spring to stimulate growth, then adjust mower to the highest setting, preferably 3 to 4 inches, for the remainder of the growing season. Taller grass creates deep roots that resist drought, shades out weeds, and removes and stores carbon from the atmosphere.
  • Leave grass clippings - They return important organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Mulched grass clippings can cut the fertilizer needs for your young lawn by 25-40%. For mature lawns (10-plus years), clippings provide all the fertilizer they need.
  • Lawn Alternatives: Consider reducing the size of your lawn by planting low-maintenance native trees, shrubs and flower gardens.  There is also lots of helpful information at the Wild Seed Project , University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Audubon Native Plant Database.
What? No fertilizer or weed or bug killers? Phosphorus-free, slow-release, organic fertilizer should be added only if called for in soil test results, and applied in early fall (not spring) when the plant will use it to strengthen its roots. Chemical fertilizers can be harmful to important critters in the soil, including earthworms, and pose health risks for children, pets, and wildlife. And because many contain nitrogen, they can also pollute marshes, bays, and streams, harm aquatic animals, and trigger algae blooms. You can learn more about the work of the Pest Management Advisory Committee and read the latest Committee report to Council on our website.

Grant Funded Details Help Keep You Safer
Lt. Timothy Barker, Police Department
The Scarborough Police Department is committed to ensuring that motorist traveling on the roads of Scarborough can do so in the safest manner possible.  There are many external human elements that cannot be controlled which often results in a motor vehicle crash. Our goal is to help reduce these external elements by way of proactively patrolling and enforcing motor vehicle laws.  The proactive enforcement of motor vehicle laws will ultimately reduce the amount of motor vehicle crashes which is the ultimate goal of traffic enforcement.
The Scarborough Police Department has secured several traffic enforcement related Grants through the Maine Department of Public Safety. These grants focus on OUI enforcement, Distracted Driving, Speed and Seat Belt Compliance. These grants will allow additional Scarborough Police Officers to patrol our roadways and enforce motor vehicle violations.  We have already started with some of these patrols, however as the weather gets warmer, we will be noticeably stepping up our efforts.
NHTSA and the Maine Bureau of Highways safety have established nationwide programs to educate motorists on many of the issues that are directly related to crashes.  Some of the National Campaigns include: One Text or Call Could Wreck it All, Click-it-or-Ticket, U Drive-U Text-U Pay, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving, You Drink-You Drive-You Lose, etc. 

Please help be part of the solution with State of Maine motor vehicle laws.  Become educated on these laws and help educate others.  Help reduce the risk of a motor vehicle crashes by compliance with these laws. The Officers at the Scarborough Police Department will be visible and work diligently to enforce these laws and make the Town of Scarborough a safer Community. 
Any questions on this article or about distracted driving, please contact Lt. Timothy Barker at 207-730-4304. 
Welcome Maria Champagne
Kelly Johnston, Scarborough Public Schools
Scarborough Public Schools is thrilled to add a new member to their Central Office Team! On February 11, 2020, SPS welcomed Maria Champagne. Maria will be working alongside the other members of the Business Office - Rhonda Bernard, Payroll Specialist, Renee Smith, Accounts Payable Specialist and Kate Bolton, Director of Business Operations.

Maria's title will be Human Resources Specialist, and her initial focus will be on reporting and compliance management - although her role will develop over time. Maria will also be very active with building an outreach program for the school department's wellness program.

Maria comes to SPS with vast experience in both human resources and in a number of health and human services roles. Most recently she was a project manager contracted with the State of Maine through Change Healthcare, overseeing administration of a grant to address opioid addiction. Maria comes highly recommended as a hard-working, capable and compassionate problem solver and we know she will be a great addition to the Central Office Team!

Come Join Our Summer Team!
Kailey Dubuque, Human Resources
The Town of Scarborough is hiring for the following seasonal positions:
  • Beach Attendants
  • Summer Day Camp Counselors
  • Brain Chase Escape Room Summer Camp Director
  • Parks Maintenance Workers
  • Reserve Police Officers 
Please visit our employment page where you will find complete job details, all available Town openings, and how to apply.  For additional information you may contact the Human Resources Department by email  or call 207-730-4025.

About the Scarborough Town Newsletter
Welcome to the official newsletter of the Town of Scarborough, Maine.  Brought to you by a team of Town staff, our mission is to keep you informed about town events and activities.  

Please note that the newsletter articles are intended to be brief and will often point you back to a link on the Town's Website or Facebook page. The website is the heart of the communication network within town and is the central repository for information on Town government.

Thanks for reading!  If you have ideas for stories, please email us.  

Your newsletter team:

Tody Justice, Town Clerk Lucy Norvell, Public Library
Stephen Kramer, Community Services Donald Begin, IT
Kailey Dubuque, Human Resources Brian Longstaff, Codes & Planning
Kelly Johnston, Scarborough Public Schools
Michael Thurlow, Fire Department
Kim Sperlich, Police Department Ruth Porter, Finance
Leona Oceania, Public Works Larissa Crockett, Administration
Magdalena Slawiec, SEDCO

Scarborough Town Council
Paul Johnson, Chair
Don Hamill, Vice Chair
Jean-Marie Caterina
John Cloutier
Betsy Gleysteen
Peter Hayes
Ken Johnson