June 1, 2020
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Vote Absentee
Tody Justice, Town Clerk
The State Primary/Special Referendum Election and the School Budget Validation Referendum Election will be held on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. At this time, both in-person and absentee voting will be available. We are urging voters to cast an absentee ballot instead of voting in person to minimize interaction with others during this public health pandemic (COVID-19). Casting an absentee ballot is easy, convenient, and secure.

Absentee ballots may be requested in writing, by phone, online, or in person up to and including the day of the election, without specifying a reason. However, if you are asking to receive your ballot by mail, please request it early enough to allow for postal mail delivery time - both to receive it and return it (2-5 days each way). Absentee ballot requests are being accepted right now. Printed ballots will be available by mid-June, and we will issue your ballot as soon as possible after that date. Ballots must be returned to the Town Clerk's office no later than 8:00 p.m. [close of the Polls] on Election Day.

To avoid long lines at the voter registration table on Election Day, we encourage residents to check to make sure you are registered and that your voter information is current, e.g. address, name change or party affiliation, if applicable. You can contact the clerk's office at 730-4020 or by email.

Round Table Discussion - FY2021 Budget
Join members of the Town Council and Board of Education for an informal discussion about the proposed FY2021 budget. There won't be a physical table to sit around so we will be meeting on Zoom. Ask your questions, share your thoughts, this is your opportunity to hear and be heard.

Date: June 10, 2020
Time: 6:00 pm
Where: Zoom - Registration link here

Budgeting is an annual process to determine the priorities in your community. Come be part of the conversation.

It's Beach and Boat Season
Beach passes and boat launch passes are available starting today, Monday, June 1. Parking and launch fees will be collected starting Friday, June 19. Your beach pass provides parking at all three of our Town of Scarborough beaches - Ferry, Pine Point, and Higgins.

If you are a registered voter over the age of 60 and would like your free beach pass mailed to you please send us an email or call the Town Clerk's office at (207) 730-4020. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, license plate number, and address. All other beach pass and boat launch passes need to be purchased in person at the Town Hall.

Our Town Hall is now open on Mondays, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Wednesdays, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm, and Fridays, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. Please observe the guidelines shown above when coming to the Town Hall or any of our municipal buildings. Hand sanitation stations are available at the two Town Hall entrances and additional wall-mounted hand sanitizer can be found throughout the building. Face coverings are required. If you are unable to wear a face covering please call ahead so that we may work with you to meet your needs.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!
Kelly Johnston, Scarborough Public Schools
Although the usual senior activities, including graduation, may look a little different this year - the list of senior activities is long and growing! Some of the fun events include the outdoor presentation of diploma covers, Senior Awards Night, and seniors creating chalk images at the entrance of the high school to share information about their plans after high school!

The senior events will conclude with a graduation ceremony at the Westbrook Rock Row for a showing of graduation at 2:30 PM on Saturday, June 6! This will be an opportunity for the graduating class to come together in their vehicles and watch graduation as a class! There will be room at this facility for every graduate to have a car full of family see the event together. At this event as well, if you have a second household, two cars will be allowed to come. The high school will be doing a survey to find out which families will need a second car. This will be a ticketed event.

In addition to graduation, seniors are being treated to many other exciting events! The SHS Leadership Team was busy surprising seniors with a congratulations sign hand- delivered to every seniors' home! Balloons are once again being offered as a fund-raiser from the Scarborough Education Foundation and will also be delivered to seniors - see their website for full details and an order form. Like in years past, Project Graduation is planning a treat for all seniors!
While the traditional senior events that the students are accustomed to will be anything but typical and usual, the high school staff and families are working hard to make this a memorable and lasting experience for the Class of 2020.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020 and best of luck for a bright and dynamic future!

Beach Update
"Walking Only" Directive Discontinued
In coordination with other surrounding Towns, we have lifted the "Walking Only" directive to allow patrons to use this beach in  traditional ways. We will be reminding beach users of physical distancing and the limitations of the number of people gathering together. 

Opening of Municipal Parking Lots
As interest grows we believe it is better to have beach users park in municipal lots, rather than circling through neighborhoods or trying to park on the streets, so we intend to open municipal lots to full capacity.  The lot at Higgins Beach is fully open and by June 5 the lots at Pine Point and Ferry Beach will be available at full capacity.  

June 19-  Beach Parking Fees Collected and Facilities Open to the Public
Beach parking fee collection will begin on June 19. Facilities at all three beaches will open on June 19 but until then there are two porta-potties at each beach location.  Due to overall staff shortages we will be encouraging a "carry-in/carry-out" policy for trash by reducing the number of trash barrels on the beach.  

Assessing Exemptions Deadline Extended
Emily Behn, Assessing Assistant
Due to an executive order signed by Governor Mills, exemption applications are still being accepted. The current due date for exemptions is July 13, 2020 (30 days after the termination of the declared emergency). This date will change if the civil state of emergency is extended.
The following exemptions are included in the extension:
We must have a hard copy of the application. You can submit the application in-person, by mail, or in the drop box to the right of the front Town Hall entrance. We will honor any applications that are emailed to us by the due date, but you will still need to turn in the hard copy of the application as soon as you can.
Applications are available for the Property Tax Assistance Program. The application deadline is October 15, 2020. 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.
The three eligibility requirements are:
  • Applicant is age 62 or older as of the application deadline
  • Applicant has been a Town of Scarborough resident for at least 10 years as of October 15, 2020
  • Applicant's household Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is not more than $50,000
When you submit your application, we will need to see proof of income. This will either be your 2019 Tax Return or 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. We will also need to see identification.
Please contact our office at (207) 730-4063 or send us an email if you have any questions.

Online Payments Made Easier
Ruth Porter, Finance Director
We received many concerns that online processes were difficult to find on the Town's website.  We heard you!!  We have consolidated our online service portals into one location on the Town of Scarborough's website. You can now easily take care of:
  • Property Tax Payments
  • Vehicle Registrations
  • ATV & Snowmobile Registrations
  • Watercraft (Boat) Registrations
  • Hunting & Fishing Licenses
Stay home, stay safe, and avoid the lines at Town Hall!

Councilor's Corner - Homestead Exemption
Ken Johnson, Town Councilor
Today's topic:  Homestead Exemption ( Application at Assessing Department)
Homestead Exemption is the State  program that provides a measure of property tax relief for residents that have owned a residential property for at least 12 months and make the property their primary residence. There are no income limits to receive this tax benefit. The property assessed value minus the Homestead Exemption gives the property's t axable value . The Assigned mill rate is multiplied by the taxable value of the property in order to arrive at the property tax amount.   

The Homestead exemption has been raised from $20,000 to $25,000   this year (prior to Covid-19). The state reimburses towns for the lost tax value of the exemption.  Below is an example of a 3% Mill Rate increase impact on taxable value with the increased Homestead exemption. I've chosen 3% as an historical level, this is not the increase currently being discussed by the Town Council. As you can see, the owner of a $350k home would experience a $70 increase in their taxes in this example. 

I would like to hear from you? What increase in property taxes would be acceptable to fund the Town's priorities that we can afford. Please feel free to email me directly at my Town Council email.

Enjoy The Outdoors Responsibly with SLT
Rich Bard, Executive Director, Scarborough Land Trust
Summer weather is here, so more and more people will be looking for a chance to get out and hit the trails. We believe there is room out there for everyone, if we all behave responsibly and do our part to keep everyone safe. Along with all the usual courtesies we are getting used to, like staying at least 6 feet away from others not in your household, there are other steps you can take at SLT preserves or your favorite outdoor destination:
  • Consider visiting some of the less popular places to hike around town. Visit our website to find out where our trails are. All of the trails offer a unique experience that is worth exploring, so take a break from your usual trail and mix it up a bit! Or check out Maine Trail Finder to locate lots of other trails in our region.
  • The middle of the day tends to be the most crowded. The earlier or later you can go, the more likely it is you won't find a packed parking lot.
  • If you do arrive to a packed parking lot, find another place to hike or come back another time. It isn't worth the risk of parking on a busy road or making it difficult for someone else to pull out of their spot.
  • Please keep dogs on leash where that is required and don't let them approach strangers anywhere. Note that leashes are temporarily required at Fuller Farm for the first part of the trail through the field. 
And finally, have fun! Our preserves are there for you 365 days a year to get exercise, connect with nature, and to remind ourselves that there is a world out there that hasn't been turned upside down by a pandemic. We all need the salve of nature during difficult times. Just remember to hike responsibly.

The Rhythm of Public Works
Leona Oceania, Public Works Administrative Assistant
This year, the theme for National Public Works Week (which was celebrated from May 17th - 23rd) was "The Rhythm of Public Works." The overall goal of this annual event is to raise awareness of the important contributions of Public Works, as well as the critical role that infrastructure, facilities, and services play in the quality of life in our community. As we all make our way through these difficult, uncertain, and unprecedented times, we realize now more than ever that there is an ever-present connection between everyone and everything. As our town, state, country, and world has been shutting down in an attempt to keep people healthy and save lives, we have become more and more aware of all that we take for granted.

Every community has a rhythm, a heartbeat that reflects its essence and tempo of life. We think of our community as a symphony of essential services, working in concert to create a great place to live, while also taking all measures necessary to maintain services while also keeping residents and employees safe and healthy.

During National Public Works week we reflected on how Public Works keeps a community's rhythm moving by providing an orchestra of infrastructure services in transportation, water, wastewater and storm-water treatment, emergency management, first response, solid waste, and right- of-way management. Though our department's staffing has been cut in half as a budgetary saving measure, we remain diligent in our efforts to continue to provide all of these services to the community to the best of our ability, given the time and staffing available.

Be nice to each other. We are not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm. Stay safe, well, and sane. We will get through this, if we all work together while staying apart.

Maine Native Plants Enhance Your Home
Marla Zando, Co-Chair, Pest Management Advisory Committee 
During this time of social distancing, many of us are spending more time at our homes than ever before and are focused on our lawns, flower beds, and home vegetable gardens. As we ponder our home landscapes, we can consider landscaping not just for aesthetic purposes but for increasing habitat and food sources for wildlife. Increasingly, homeowners are looking to augment the biodiversity of their properties with Maine native plants that attract birds, insects, and mammals that are also native to Maine. The plants and animals that were in the area now known as Maine, prior to European settlement, are considered native.
Why are native plants on our properties so important to our wildlife and the ecosystem that we live within? With habitat loss due to the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings, many wildlife species do not have the space they need to nest, breed, and raise their young. If wildlife cannot find what they need in a patch of habitat, they will move to find it, even to their own demise. Douglas Tallamy, a professor at the University of Delaware, writes, "...we need to restore nature to our home landscapes, to our corporate landscapes, to our municipal parks, and to as much of our infrastructure as we can, because our parks and preserves are not large enough to do the job alone."

Click here for the complete article

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
Heidi McNinch, 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