September 15, 2019
My Tax Bill is Here, What Happens Next?
Larissa Crockett, Assistant Town Manager
Tax bills were mailed on Thursday, September 12. Your bill reflects the most recent assessment of your property at the time of tax commitment. If you have met with our Assessing Department to discuss errors and have made changes to your property card after August 30 any changes in assessed value will be addressed through the abatement process. The tax payment due on Tuesday, October 15 is still due in order to avoid a 1.5% annual interest charge. If you have overpaid as a result of an error in assessment you will be credited the amount of overpayment on your March tax bill. You can find a copy of your property card through our website, by stopping into the Assessing office, or by calling the Assessing Department at (207) 730-4060 and requesting that a copy be mailed to you.

If you believe that your tax assessment does not reflect your home's "just value", or market value, please call our Assessing Department, (207) 730-4060, to let staff know about minor errors on the property card or to make an appointment with the Assessor. Any abatement application starts with a meeting with the Assessor so the sooner you make an appointment, the sooner we can start working toward the most accurate assessment possible for your property. All abatement requests must be filed with the Assessor within 185 days of tax commitment, which is March 6, 2020. There are two further levels of recourse for property owners that are not granted an abatement by the  Assessor. The first is to meet with the Board of Assessment Review. This five-member board that reviews appeals from decisions of the Assessor regarding applications for abatement of property taxes and decides if the Assessor or the property owner is correct about the proper assessment in accordance with the general laws of the State of Maine. If a property owner is not satisfied with the Board of Assessment Review's decision they may seek a final appeal to the Maine Superior Court.

Eastern Trail Entrance Closure Alert
Angela Blanchette, Town Engineer
Starting the morning on Monday, September 16th the Eastern Rd from Black Point Rd to the Eastern Trail parking lot will be closed to vehicular traffic. The closure is expected to last two weeks. All access to the Eastern Village neighborhood will be through Commerce Drive.  The contractor is asking cyclists and pedestrians utilizing the Eastern Trail to use caution when navigating through this construction site as they may encounter uneven gravel and heavy construction equipment. We will keep you updated through our Facebook page and on our website as the project continues.
Ordinance Committee Meeting Date Postponed
The Town Council Ordinance Committee continued review of proposed commercial marijuana ordinances has been postponed from Thursday, September 19 to Thursday, September 26 at 4:00 pm in Council Chambers. Staff has been working to update the draft presented in August based on feedback from the Ordinance Committee members. The draft linked below reflects what was presented to the Ordinance Committee on Thursday, August 29, 2019

Age Friendly Scarborough Survey
Cindy DiBiase, Seniors Program Coordinator, Community Services
The Age Friendly Scarborough Initiative is a group of Scarborough residents who are working together to make Scarborough a more livable place for everyone. The Age Friendly Community concept is a World Health Organization vision that has been endorsed by AARP and is spreading across Maine.

Age Friendly Scarborough is starting to gather information through the Age Friendly Scarborough Survey and we need your help to go further! We hope to hear from everyone in the community.

This survey focuses on aspects of our community that are important for the health and well-being of older residents because we realize that things helpful for older citizens benefit all ages. It also explores what might help older residents age in place or age in the community.

Please take a few minutes of your time to complete the survey. Your opinions will help us learn about the strengths of Scarborough and will help us to identify opportunities for improvement as we build an age-friendly community. The survey results will be analyzed and from there, we will work together to develop action steps to address our community needs.

Your opinion is important to us! We appreciate your help!

Click here to complete the Age Friendly Scarborough Survey

Browntail Moth - What's the Risk in Scarborough?
Jami Fitch, Sustainability Coordinator
We've heard a lot about browntail moths in the news and from friends and family over the past few months. The issue is with the caterpillars that turn into the moths. The caterpillar's tiny hairs are poisonous and cause an itchy, painful rash (similar to a poison ivy rash) if they come into contact with skin. The rash can develop from direct contact with the caterpillar or indirect contact with airborne hairs.

Browntail moths build web-like colonies around a leaf at the top of hardwood trees (like oak and fruit trees). The webs are often confused with webs made by fall webworms or eastern tent caterpillars. The Maine Forest Service has information about identifying browntail moth webs on their website.

Browntail moth caterpillars hatch in the late summer, overwinter in their webs, and emerge in the spring to feed on leaves. The greatest risk for exposure to browntail moths is between April and late June. Their hairs remain toxic throughout the summer, but as the hairs get washed into the soil, they become less of a problem.

Click here for the complete article

Councilor's Corner: Sustainable Growth
Bill Donovan, Town Councilor
Councilors receive a lot of inquiries into whether the Town is managing its growth and looking out for taxpayers in its decisions. These two factors are both critical to the Town's future.  Let me explain some of the ways the Council has approached these issues during my tenure.

Managing Good Growth.   A well planned and managed community is at the heart of a successful economic development strategy. In Scarborough our economic development and planning staffs work together seamlessly to advance a sustainable vision of our future. Most opportunities and challenges benefit from an interdisciplinary team approach and result in better decision making. Monitoring growth and its impacts is always a key consideration. Further, the Town put in place over a decade ago a limitation on residential building permits. Combining building permit restrictions with  strategic zoning and a collaborative planning effort has helped Scarborough manage growth and create good jobs.

Promote Land Conservation.   The Scarborough Land Trust has worked with the Town for decades. It presently manages over 1200 acres of preserved land. How has this helped taxpayers and managed growth? The most recent acquisition is a good example. In 2014 the Land Trust acquired the 126 acre Benjamin Farm, now named Pleasant Hill Preserve. It represented some of the most developable residential property in Scarborough. By the Town assisting in the purchase by making available bond funds it was able to avoid development that would have represented significant growth and a significant adverse tax impact.

Click here for the complete article

School Building Steering Committee Survey
Kelly Johnston, Scarborough Public Schools
The Scarborough School District needs you! Aging buildings and projected increases in student enrollment have us looking to the future for our primary schools. We are seeking highly qualified and motivated individuals to form a Building Steering Committee that will focus on identifying solutions to the space and maintenance challenges being felt at our three primary schools. Committee members will be expected to meet multiple times per month through the initial stages of the project. Community members with relevant experience in development, construction, project management, site development, and engineering are encouraged to apply! Please visit the survey linked below for more information.

Click here to complete the survey

Scarborough Internship Report
Eli Rubin, Masters in Policy, Planning, and Management Candidate, USM
When not working on a Masters degree Eli builds sustainable houses on Peaks Island.
I spent the 15 weeks of my summer internship with Scarborough working on growth tracking and development impact fees. I was able to work with the Planning Department and the Scarborough Economic Development Corporation to model growth with a new dashboard tool that will help visually display growth through the use of growth permit reporting. I was able to practice data management and graphical reporting techniques and produce an interactive dashboard. This data was compiled to help decision-makers make growth management policy in the future.
I was also able to complete a nine town survey of development impact fees in the surrounding area. This will give town staff and decision-makers a reference point for making further updates to the town's development impact fees. Finally, I researched the effect of impact fees on housing affordability and economic growth. While there are fascinating studies about the effects of impact fees, not enough research has been done in the field to be conclusive. However, recent studies show that communities with adequate development impact fees can become more prosperous than their neighbors without because developers are attracted to communities that have predictable infrastructure improvements.

I will return to the Muskie School of Public Service full time this September to continue my education with a focus on town management. My time in Scarborough under the supervision of Assistant Town Manager Larissa Crockett has been incredibly informative and inspiring. The experience in Scarborough has increased my desire to work in local government, and I look forward to the next stage in my journey.

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 Catherine Morrison, Public Library
Audra Keenan, Community Services Sean Bushway, 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

2019 Scarborough Town Council
Peter Hayes, Chair
Katy Foley, Vice Chair
Jean-Marie Caterina
John Cloutier
William Donovan
Don Hamill
Paul Johnson