September 1, 2023

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

The start of a new school year has arrived and Fall is approaching! Road work, Council decision-making, and community events all continue into the coming season. Read on for more insight on these topics, as well as for information on our new tax rate and getting signed up for some fun fall programs! We hope you find our newsletters to be a helpful source of Town news, and a launching point to our website to dive deeper into your areas of interest, meeting minutes, and more.


Town Offices will be closed on Monday, September 4 in observance of Labor Day. Trash pickup remains on schedule.

2023-2024 Tax Rate Set

The 2023-2024 property tax rate has been set by the Town Assessor, committed on August 16, 2023. The Town of Scarborough’s new tax rate is now set at $15.97 per $1,000 of property value for the 2024 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. The new rate applies to the taxes due on October 16, 2023 and March 15, 2024. Fall tax bills are being sent out in early September.

About the FY2024 Process

The new rate is up $0.58 over the prior rate of $15.39. This 3.77% increase from last year remains lower than the 3.96% increase that was estimated at the time of budget approval in June. This is primarily due to greater-than-estimated value resulting from new construction and development in Town. The total Town-wide assessed value of all taxable real and personal property is $5,142,583,176, an increase of $154,406,300 over the prior year.  

How Do We Calculate the Tax Rate?

The tax rate is determined by taking the total Tax Levy (combined municipal, school, and county budgets minus all revenues) and dividing it by the total Taxable Valuation. In short, Tax Levy/Taxable Valuation = Tax Rate.

Part of finalizing the total taxable valuation entails the Assessing department reviewing properties each year as of April 1st, the state-mandated assessment date, for any changes prior to finalizing assessments. 2023 assessments and property details are available on our online database. Please note that because assessments are as of April 1, any changes to a property since then (including changes in ownership) will not be reflected online.


What is My Annual Tax Bill?

The annual tax bill for each property is calculated by multiplying the taxable value by the tax rate. For example, a home valued at $400,000, without a homestead exemption, would owe $6,388 in property taxes for fiscal year 2023-2024 (400,000 x 0.01597 = $6,388). With a homestead exemption, you would save $375.

Although assessments have been finalized, property owners are always welcome to review their property information and reach out to our Assessing department with any questions. 

Pay your property taxes online, by mail, or by coming into our Revenue Office (main floor to the right of the entrance) during business hours.

Spurwink Road Upgrades Begin Next Week

The long awaited Spurwink Road Improvement Project is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, September 5th. The section of Spurwink that will be worked on during this initial phase will be from Pleasant Hill Road to Ocean Avenue. Road construction will create traffic delays, so please plan accordingly and take an alternate route whenever possible. The anticipated completion date of this first phase is early November 2023.

The scope of the Spurwink Road Improvement Project includes a road realignment and the addition and improvement of pedestrian and bicycle amenities. It will also address the dangerous curves and intersections to the greatest extent possible, as well as improve road surface and drainage issues. It will be completed in two phases: Phase I this fall and Phase 2 next year to complete the remainder of the project to the Cape Elizabeth town line.


Questions? Contact Public Works at or 207.730.4400.

East Grand Avenue Paving Scheduled for September 6

There is an anticipated start date of Wednesday, September 6th for the paving of East Grand Avenue. The project will be headed up by the MDOT and is projected to last 2-3 weeks with inevitable traffic delays. Please plan accordingly. 

Questions? Contact Public Works at or 207.730.4400.

Who Should Win Our Photo Contest?

Vote for your favorites!

This was a very well documented summer for Scarborough! We received over 250 submissions to our "Summer Outdoors" photo contest in categories ranging from beaches to wildlife. 

Now it's time to VOTE! 'Like' your favorites in the Facebook photo album from now through September 14. No limit to how many likes you give out—spread the compliments! The photo with the most Likes in each category will be announced in our September 15th newsletter and win local prizes. Thanks to Highland Farm, Oak Hill Ace Hardware, The Dairy Corner, Scarborough Grounds, Nonesuch River Brewing, and Dunstan Tap & Table for the gift certificates.

"Follow the Path" by Kate Ellis

"Dunstan Landing Deer" by Andrew Carter


Upcoming Election: November 7, 2023

The Municipal Election and State of Maine Referendum Election are held annually on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. This year the election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

Last Chance: Nomination Papers Due by September 6

Interested in serving as an elected official in Scarborough? The next municipal election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 and there are open seats:

Town Council 

Three 3-year term seats 

Sanitary District 

Three 3-year term seats 

Portland Water District 

One 5-year term seat

Nomination papers are available in the Town Clerk’s Office. Not less than 25 and not more than 100 signatures of qualified registered voters can sign nomination papers for the Town Council and the Sanitary District. Not less than 35 and not more than 50 signatures of qualified registered voters can sign nomination papers for the Portland Water District.

All nomination papers must be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office by close of business on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.


If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at (207) 730-4020.

Plan Ahead: Request Your Absentee Ballot

Request an absentee ballot by completing an Application for an Absentee Ballot. Please 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. Absentee ballots will be mailed when they are available.

For further information on Absentee Voting and Voter Registration, please contact the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office at 730-4020.


One Month Away: Sustainable Scarborough Day

The Town of Scarborough is hosting its first ever Sustainable Scarborough Day on Sunday, October 1, bringing together everyone from the environmentally conscious to the eco-curious for a day of learning and fun. The inaugural event will be held from 10:00am-2:00pm at Wentworth School, 20 Quentin Drive on the municipal/school campus. This is a family friendly event with activities for all ages!

  • Meet with experts, local businesses, nonprofits, and enthusiasts on topics ranging from sustainable living, efficient homes, transportation, landscapes, recreation, waste management, land conservation, and climate action.
  • Walk the municipal campus for activities at the Scarborough Public Library, Wentworth School, and the farmers market at Town Hall.
  • Test drive an electric vehicle, attend one of the several workshops, and learn more about saving money with new state and federal efficiency rebates and tax credits.

How It Started

The idea for Sustainable Scarborough Day was sparked by the Sustainability Committee and Conservation Commission as a way to educate community members about the efficiency incentives available as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. “We hope residents find this day informative and return home with valuable DIY (Do-it-Yourself) low-cost next steps that will reduce household expenses and lead the way to a more sustainable community,” says Rick Meinking, Sustainability Committee chair.


Sustainable Scarborough Day is being organized collaboratively with representation from the two committees, Scarborough Public Library, Project GRACE, and SEDCO. “The Sustainability Committee and Conservation Commission are collaborating on Sustainable Scarborough Day to share their passion with the larger community and to help residents understand how they can make more sustainable choices every day,” said Jami Fitch, Scarborough’s Sustainability Coordinator.


There will be 25-minute scheduled workshops led by select vendors on a variety of topics. The full schedule will be made available soon.

Who Will Be There?

Several vendors are participating on-site for Sustainable Scarborough Day, ranging from farms, to nonprofits, advocacy groups, heat pump companies and more.

  • Efficiency Maine will be on hand with information on energy efficiency rebates, federal tax credits, loans, and their database of over 600 independent installers.
  • Local retailer GoGo Refill will share tips for low-waste and plastic-free living, and showcase their line of refillable home and body products.
  • Maine Farmland Trust has information about their organization and land conservation, plus some kid-friendly activity handouts.
  • Scarborough volunteer nonprofit Project GRACE will be doing demos of simple DIYs to snug up drafty homes.
  • The Scarborough Public Library will host an electric vehicle (EV) test drive in its parking lot, including electric bikes. Be sure to also tour the Library gardens, which are pesticide-free and support pollinators.

Join Us

Interested in participating as a local vendor with sustainability-related information? It’s not too late! Please contact Sustainability Coordinator Jami Fitch at


September 9: Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Safely dispose of your household hazardous waste on Saturday, September 9 from 8:00am-Noon at Biddeford Public Works, 371 Hill Street. This is the last of the three events for the summer.

Scarborough Public Works has coordinated these collaborative, multi-town opportunities to safely dispose of your household hazardous waste materials. This is a free service to residents of Scarborough, Saco, Old Orchard Beach, and Biddeford (proof of residency is required).

View a full flyer with acceptable materials. Contact or (207) 730-4400 with questions.

Register for Community Services Fall Programs

Check out the newly released Fall Brochure for our wide selection of community programs for kids, teens, and seniors. Registration is now open! Register for programs online by creating an account through our Community Services portal. Registration can also be done by phone (207-730-4150) or in person. 


Part Time Jobs at Scarborough Community Services!

Before & After Care Counselors

$17-19 Per Hour

Seeking dedicated and responsible individuals to work in the before and after care program. Work involves the direct supervision of children on site, as well as organizing and planning activities, cleaning, and working with a team of coworkers.

Child Care Program Site Supervisor

$18-20 Per Hour

Seeking a dedicated and responsible individual to work in the before and after care program in a lead role.


See all jobs and application deadlines on our Job Board.

Fire Department Hosts Blood Drive on September 8

Friday, September 8


Public Safety Building, 275 US Route 1

Sign Up

The Scarborough Fire Department is hosting a blood drive in honor of 3-year old Madison, the niece of one of our firefighters. After being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March 2021, Madison went through a 2-year treatment plan where she received numerous rounds of chemotherapy. She also needed many blood and platelet transfusions. Madison had her last chemotherapy treatment on March 15, 2023. She continues to remain cancer free! She will have her labs monitored for years to come, but is currently thriving and finally getting to enjoy just being a toddler. Please consider donating blood in her honor as there are many others who depend on it.


Unified School Q&A Sessions

By Scarborough School Building Committee

Want to learn more about all the important details of the K-8 Strategic School Solution and New Unified Primary School? Join Scarborough School District and School Building Committee for a series of events that dig into all the big issues. Come to one, come to all. Attend in-person or online (visit the Scarborough Public Schools Calendar to access the meeting via Zoom).


Council Corner: Down's Land Deal Should Go Forward

By Jon Anderson, Town Council Chair

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.

The Building Steering Committee spent a year, 30+ meetings, and hundreds of hours reviewing over 46 sites in Scarborough to identify a site for the K-3 Consolidated School.  Upon completion of the rigorous data driven process led by residents, school staff, Town Staff, Board Members, Council Members and experts, a site located within the Down’s property was selected as the most optimal site to service the needs of the strategic school solution, while also being one of the more financially appealing sites given the readiness of the land. 

Other sites the committee evaluated would not only cost millions of dollars in wetland mitigation, site work and utilities connection to make the site viable, they would be at geographical locations that would be suboptimal to support efficient school operations and create longer commute times for our youngest learners.  

The Town engaged with an independent certified appraiser to determine the fair market value of the property. The Town and the Down’s agreed to common assumptions and both had appraisals completed on the property. The Town’s final appraisal came in at $7MM and the Down’s came in significantly higher. As outlined in the Letter of Intent authorized in May 2023, if our appraisals were more than 5% apart, the Town agreed to pay no more than 103% of the Town’s commissioned appraisal. Therefore, the Town offered the Down’s $7.21MM as our best and final offer on the purchase price of the land and they accepted.  

The Down’s has invested millions of dollars of infrastructure into their property, steadily increasing the value of the land since their original purchase.  Some believe the Down’s owes the Town the land for free because of the Credit Enhancement Agreement (CEA). To incentivize economic development, the Town provides a tax credit to the Down’s so long as they meet the the performance criteria outlined in the agreement, which will eventually be tied to the successful delivery of a downtown. The CEA puts the risk of infrastructure development solely on the developer instead of the Town, a lesson the Town learned the hard way with the Haigis Parkway TIF Development District.  The Town receives mutual benefits from the economic development - not only financial benefits that support tax rate stabilization from the new value created, but other policy benefits such as establishing more affordable housing choices.  Those benefits will be discussed further at our September 20th Town Council Meeting as the Town and Down’s provide their annual report out as required by the CEA.  

A $160MM school will have an impact on our tax rate.  Our validated financial model predicts an annual average mil rate increase of 3% over the course of the bond (consistent with the annual Town Council goal and below inflation). This assumption includes other large investments, such as a Community Center and Library Expansion.  Part of the Down’s Land Deal contemplates rezoning ~30 acres of contiguous land owned by Down’s to be consistent with the CPD Zone. Based on an analysis by SEDCO, this rezoning at full development could generate an additional ~$1.3M annually to pay down the school debt, support other needed Town investments, or simply stabilize the tax rate by allowing for lower cost to serve development options on the property.  Under the current zoning, the Town would lose ~$700K per year at full development, which would need to be subsidized elsewhere in Scarborough to cover the cost to serve. This 3% mil rate projection excludes this financial benefit, as well as additional school impact fees that would be collected, that could further reduce the overall tax impact.  While this may mean the potential for more growth, it will also help to stabilize the tax rate and support long-term affordability for the Town.

The site at the Down’s selected by the Building Committee is the best site for this school.  It avoids non-value added costs other sites would require and will facilitate smooth operations with the existing school campus.  If the Land Deal is approved on September 6th, the Town will be paying fair market value for the property based on a third party appraisal. The zoning adjustments will contribute to property taxes stable in the long-run.  Not approving the land deal and going an alternative path will add at least $5-11MM in additional project costs due to a time delay.  The total cost of an alternative site, including off-site improvements, will be on par with the selected site or higher and likely increase operating costs with increased commuting distance from the existing campus. Additional short term investments will also need to be made to accommodate the 65 new kindergartners who have already been born and will be here in Scarborough in 2027 with no space available today. For a multi-generational solution, choosing the right location is important. The Council will be taking action on the Down’s Land Deal on September 6th. The deal proposed is the best most reasonable deal for Scarborough.  Any other option would be a 100-year mistake.

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 Town Calendar for links to attend and view agendas.


Explore Scarborough Land Trust Trails

"Scarborough Land Trust Wildflower program at Scarborough Land Trust's Warren Woods Preserve." (Photo contest entry by Abby Wilson, SLT summer employee)

"The Swallow Barn at Scarborough Land Trust's Pleasant Hill Preserve. Formerly a working agricultural barn, the structure now stands are habitat for reptiles, amphibians, bats, and other birds." (Photo contest entry by Henry Gustavson, SLT summer employee)


Climate & Conservation Speaker Series this Fall

Save the dates for upcoming programs in this 3-part speaker series. The Scarborough Conservation Commission, Scarborough Land Trust, Scarborough Public Library, and Friends of Scarborough Marsh invite you to learn about how our critical natural resources may be impacted in the future and how groups are working to protect them.

Scarborough in a Changing Climate: Protecting Scarborough's Rivers & Streams

Tuesday, September 12, 6:30-8:00pm

Scarborough Public Library


Speakers: Greg Bither, Friends of Scarborough Marsh (FOSM) and Jami Fitch, Scarborough’s Sustainability Coordinator

Greg leads FOSM’s volunteer water quality monitoring program and will talk about their data collection methods & results and what they mean for the future of Scarborough Marsh in a changing climate. Jami will focus on Scarborough’s impaired Red Brook and Philips Brook watersheds, what the Town is doing to improve the water quality of these streams, and how what we do on our properties impacts our local waterways and, ultimately, Scarborough Marsh. 

Scarborough Marsh & Sea Level Rise in a Changing Climate

Thursday, October 5, 6:30pm

Scarborough Public Library

Speakers: Peter Slovinsky, Coastal Geologist with the Maine Geological Survey and Kristen Puryear, Ecologist at Maine Natural Areas Program 

Pete & Kristen will discuss the monitoring and measurement methods they use to predict the potential impacts of climate change on Maine’s and Scarborough’s tidal marshes, and possible ways to manage our shoreland in the face of more intense storms and sea level rise. 

Protecting Our Forests and Connected Habitat in a Changing Climate

Thursday, November 2, 6:30pm

Scarborough Public Library  

Speaker: Sally Stockwell, Director of Conservation, Maine Audubon

Maine has a lot of forestland, which we sometimes take for granted. But did you know our forests are globally significant? Come learn about the important role they play for wildlife, biodiversity and climate, and the special nature of older forests for fish, wildlife, carbon storage, and high-quality timber.

Scarborough Public Library: September Programs

Programs for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

Preschool Learning & Discover Time

Tuesdays 10-11am, starting September 12

Preschoolers and their grown-up can join us for STEM related fun, books, games, and songs.

Rhythm & Rhyme

Thursdays 10-11am, starting September 14

Stories and songs for babies, toddlers, and their grown-up.

Middle School Book Club

Wednesdays 3-4pm, starting September 20

We will read books picked by the group, plus other activities like create videos, perform skits & readers’ theater, play word games, solve logic puzzles, whatever the club decides will be the most fun! Stop by when you can, no requirement to attend every week.

Board Game Night (All Ages)

Friday, September 8, 5:00-8:00pm

Bring the whole family, a couple of friends, or come on your own for this intergenerational party! Either way, plan to play games with anyone! This is a great way to have some fun, and maybe make a new friend. AARP of Maine and Scarborough Public Library will supply the games & snacks, you supply the playful spirit! For more information, call or email Elsa Rowe 207-396-6279,

Applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program

Thursday, September 7, 2:30-3:30pm


Are you struggling to pay for internet access? The Affordable Connectivity Program helps individuals and families with low or fixed-incomes pay for the cost of internet access. If you qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program you can save money on your internet bill, and you may be able to get high-speed internet for free. In this class we will look at the eligibility criteria for the program, how to apply, and what you can expect from Internet Service Providers. 


Monday – 9am to 5pm • Tuesday – 9am to 7pm • Wednesday – 9am to 7pm • Thursday – 9am to 7pm • Friday – 9am to 5pm • Saturday – 9am to 1pm • Sunday – Closed

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