September 1, 2022

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 5 in observance of Labor Day.

Welcome Our New Planning Director Autumn!

Autumn started this month as our new Planning Director after a big move up north from Texas. She has a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Arlington and has since worked for several municipalities in North and Central Texas. She was most recently the Planning Manager for the City of Hutto, one of the fastest-growing communities in the state.

The Town of Scarborough appealed to Autumn professionally because of its size in regards to both population and land area. She is ready to dive in to the role and understand the community needs and desires. “I think this role is extremely important for a town,” she says. “It’s really multi-faceted but ultimately its purpose is to unite all parties together to understand the Town vision and ensure the appropriate outcomes for physical development.”

Autumn and her husband Casey have three daughters, one grown and two still in school. They enjoy hiking, camping, playing at the beach and exploring new places. She also ran her own business for 8 years, making and selling vintage and handcrafted items. They look forward to exploring Scarborough and all that it has to offer— “the marshes, the beaches, the forest, the farms, it is all just a wonderful combination.”

2022-2023 Tax Rate Set

The 2022-2023 property tax rate has been set by the Town Assessor, committed on August 25, 2022. The Town of Scarborough’s new tax rate is now set at $15.39 per $1,000 of property value for the 2023 fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. The new rate applies to the taxes due on October 17, 2022 and March 15, 2023. Fall tax bills will be sent out by the first week of September.

The new rate is up $0.37 over the prior rate of $15.02. This 2.46% increase from last year remains lower than the 3.00% increase that was estimated at the time of budget approval in June. 

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.

Why is the Tax Rate Lower than Estimated?

Actual Values Exceeded Estimated Values

Some of the numbers used in the projected Tax Rate Computation during the budget approval process (last Spring) were only estimated numbers. One number that gets incorporated into the final calculation is the Total Taxable Valuation, or the assessed value of all real estate and personal property in Town, less eligible exemptions. The Taxable Valuation, and the increase of its value from last year, was notably higher than projected. This was primarily due to greater-than-estimated value resulting from new construction and development in Town. This increase in Total Taxable Valuation helps more broadly disperse the tax burden among property owners

Actual Revenue Amounts Reduced the Total Net Budget

Some actual revenue amounts (adjusted from the initial budget projections) contributed to reducing the Total Net Budget. Most notably, the BETE (Business Equipment Tax Exemption) Reimbursement amount received from the State was estimated at $700,000. The actual amount received will be $827,989. 

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. 

2022 assessments and property details are available on our online database (also available on our website under Residents menu, Assessing 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 would owe $6,156 in property taxes for fiscal year 2023 (400,000 x 0.01539 = $6,156).

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. 


Contact Assessing at (207) 730-4060, email, or visit our office on the lower level of Town Hall. The Assessor will deliver a brief presentation regarding the 2022-2023 Tax Commitment at the Town Council meeting scheduled for September 7.

Planning Board Approves Costco Site Plan

At the August 29 Scarborough Planning Board meeting, the Town issued a site plan approval for a new 161,100 square foot Costco retail store, which will include an auto fueling station and approximately 790 parking spaces. The Costco store is the first in the State of Maine and will be located on 19.25 acres at the corner of Payne Rd and Scarborough Downs Rd within the Downs mixed-use development, in close proximity to I-95 Exit 42.

Significant traffic improvements are already complete or underway at Exit 42 and along the Payne Rd corridor to improve traffic flow in this area of Scarborough and serve Costco and the larger development project. These improvements will be completed well in advance of the store opening.  

Site work will begin this Fall and the store is likely to open in either late 2023 or early 2024. 


Black Point Road Paving Begins

MaineDOT began paving Black Point Road this week. Paving will occur from Roundabout Drive down to Spurwink Road. They anticipate it will take about a week. There will not be a road closure, but there will be lane closures, which will result in traffic delays. 

Please Note: All schedule updates are subject to change and are under the direction of the MaineDOT.

September 10: Household Hazardous Waste Collection

Safely dispose of your household hazardous waste on Saturday, September 10 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.

A Few Spots Left: Blood Drive on September 9

Friday September 9

8:00am to 6:00pm

Public Safety Building (275 U.S. Route 1)

The Scarborough Fire Department is holding a Blood Drive in honor of a Scarborough firefighter's niece Madison, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at only 10 months old. There are only a few spots left!

Madison’s Blood Drives have become the largest in the State of Maine! This would not be possible without the support of everyone who has come out to donate blood at previous drives held in her honor. Thank you to everyone who has donated in the past.

Donating blood saves livesRegister for this upcoming drive. You can also register at Type in key words "Madison Charland" or "Scarborough Public Safety Building". You can also search by date.

This Drive is brought to you in partnership with The Scarborough Fire Department, The Scarborough Police Department, and New England Cancer Specialists.

Fall Program Registration is Now Open!

Looking for activities for you, your child, or your family to do this fall? Look no further! Fall programs are now open for registration. Programs include:


Fall Cross Country (Grades 1-6)

Fall Theater Program (Ages 6-12)

Lego Building Sessions (Grades K-4)

Mad Science: Engineering Mania (Grades K-5)

Skateboarding Clinics (Ages 5-18)

Disc Golf Clinic (Ages 7-18)

Fall Field Hockey (Grades K-6)

Red Cross Babysitting Course (Ages 11-16)

Mini Kicks Soccer (Ages 3-4)

Teen (Grades 6-8)

Teen Theme Nights

Early Release Trips for Teens

Adult (Ages 18+)

Beginner Ballroom Dance Lessons

Beginner Pickleball Lessons

Beginner Tennis Lessons

Beginner Cake Decorating

Advanced Cake Decorating

Dodgeball Tournament

Men's Fall Soccer (Ages 30+)

Our brochure also has information on all 55+ offerings...take a look


Register Online: All programs highlighted above are available for online registration, in person registration at the Hub, or over the phone at 207-730-4150. Follow Community Services on Facebook for the latest on any new programs that come up!

One Week Left to Submit Nomination Papers 

Submit nomination papers to fill one of the vacancies on the Town Council, Board of Education, and Scarborough Sanitary Board of Trustees. Openings are for:

• 2 seats on the Town Council

• 2 seats on the Board of Education

• 1 seat on the Board of Education, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Leanne L. Kazilionis, term to expire in November 2023

• 2 seats on the Scarborough Sanitary Board of Trustees

Nomination papers are available in the Town Clerk's Office and must be returned to the Town Clerk's Office by close of business on Wednesday, September 7. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk's Office at 207-730-4020.


Upcoming Election: November 8, 2022

The Municipal Elections and State of Maine General and Referendum Elections are held annually on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. This year the election will be held on Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

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.

SEDCO Annual Meeting Announced for October 4th

The Scarborough Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) will hold its Annual Meeting at the Black Point Inn on October 4 from 5:30 to 7:30pm. 

This year's Annual Meeting will feature Dana Fortier, Director of Global Facilities Planning & Implementation for IDEXX as the keynote speaker. Dana will discuss their expansion into Scarborough as well as the role of IDEXX in the future of bioscience in Maine.

The Board of Directors will reveal their slate of Outstanding Businesses at the Meeting, including their selection of the Project of the Year.

Tickets will be on sale on SEDCO's website starting tomorrow, Friday September 2. Sponsors of the event include: Hannaford, Modern Woodmen, Bangor Savings, Dunstan Tap & Table, Nonesuch Brewery, Katahdin Trust Company, Gawron Turgeon, Roxane Cole Commercial Broker, Biddeford Savings, Town & Country FCU, Saco & Biddeford Savings, Enterprise Business Park, The Dunham Group.

For more information contact Magda Slawiec at 207-883-4893 or email

Share Your Thoughts with the Town Council

Last week the Town Council held their third Council Corner Live event to engage in greater dialogue with residents about certain topics. The discussion was on how the Council should define the term "public benefit" in the context of exemptions to the Growth Management Ordinance (GMO) and Zoning Ordinance. Watch it back here on YouTube.

Aside from attending Council Corner Live events, there are other ways to stay engaged with the Town Council. Email to share your thoughts. Or email directly—find individual contact info here. There is also a public comment period at the start of each public meeting, and to stay up to date at what's happening at the council and committee levels, meeting minutes and agendas can be found on our Town Calendar or from the Boards & Committees page.

There are two Council Corner articles this week share perspectives on major capital investments...

Council Corner: Your Taxes...Your Values

By John Cloutier, Town Councilor Chair

I love the curiosity that some kids have when they’re excited about learning a new skill or topic. You can find yourself in a never-ending cycle of questions and answers, where one answer begets another question and vice versa. Generally, the questions result from a desire to understand more deeply, which I appreciate and try to reward. In government, this type of exploratory Q&A can be challenging for both the public and elected officials.  I think that there’s a presumption by many that our elected and hired officials must know everything already. The truth is that we’re no different than you – we each bring a unique set of skills and experiences to the table, and many of us tend to approach things like an excited kid who’s learning something new. 

Recently, there’s been a lot of curiosity about the impact that major capital investments (Library Expansion, a new Community Center and a new Primary School) will have on our taxes. This is a rational and perfectly reasonable question, so let me attempt to address it…

In Scarborough, we have historically adopted a goal to guide the budget process that the tax rate increase should be no more than 3%. For several years, this was one of our only budget goals. The 3% target isn’t magical or arbitrary, it’s what is typically required to accommodate inflation and a reasonable expansion of services while making improvements to our infrastructure. We’ve exercised good discipline in recent years to respect this tax increase ceiling:

During revaluation years, we do expect the tax rate to decrease ( as happened in 2020) as the process of bringing assessed values in line with the market value of a property causes our valuation to increase faster than spending. Regardless of revaluations, the typical tax bill will go up no more than 3% in ANY year in Scarborough if we continue to follow this budgeting goal.

A large portion of your tax dollars are used to fund Capital Equipment and Improvements. In fact, we try to manage the debt associated with these investments to be very near 13% of the prior year operating budget, which allows us to smooth the impact of large projects on any individual tax year. The capital improvement program that was proposed during last year's budget cycle and subsequently approved by the Town Council after a robust public process, will allow us to easily meet the 3% or lower policy objective and stay within the 13% debt service target. The plan that was proposed and approved, however, DID NOT include a new consolidated primary school.  

We recently began modeling the effect of adding a new primary school to the plan, and trying to understand if it could be managed within existing policy objectives, or if there would be a more substantial impact on the taxpayer. The current estimate for the cost of building the school is $137M (this estimate will be refined as site selection and conceptual planning proceed). 

Adding a $137M primary school would most certainly require us to deviate from our 3% tax increase norm at least once in the next 5 years. Our current worst case scenario modeling shows that, all else being equal, immediately funding a $137M school in addition to the Library, Community Center and other planned capital items will require us to increase taxes roughly 8% in 2026. We should be able to manage within our 3% target outside of that year. Removing the Library does not have a material impact on that spike in 2026. Removing both the Community Center and the Library would reduce the tax bill increase in 2026 to roughly 7.4%.

As with any model, there are several assumptions that contribute to the forecast. Some of them relate to the structure of our debt repayments, others to economic and inflationary forces. Understanding the uncertainty surrounding these assumptions can lead to more informed decisions, so I’ll highlight some of them here:

Growth: It is assumed that we will grow at 1.5% per year, on average, due to new development. We grew at 3% this year, and averaged roughly 2% over the past 5 years, so this assumption seems reasonable in the near term and represents a considerable slowdown from the current pace of development. That having been said, there has been a strong push to stop anything that sounds like it could relate to growth recently, so there is a big risk associated with this assumption in particular. Nonetheless, growing slower than 1.5% per year will result in a higher tax increase, faster growth will reduce the tax impact.

Spending: It is assumed that we will grow our combined school and municipal operating budget at 4.5% per year (again on average). This is consistent with historical norms.

Debt Financing: It is assumed that we will strive to maintain a debt service burden as close to 13% of the prior year operating budget as possible. Because we take a portfolio approach to managing our debt, answering the question of how any individual project will impact your taxes is complicated. We intentionally structure new debt issuances based upon what debt already exists and what is expected in the future. For example, based upon our newly modeled capital plan WITH a school, it looks like financing the Library Expansion project over 10yrs would be most in line with the 13% objective. This would account for roughly $110 of the tax bill on a $400k home over each of the next 10 years (1%). Should we finance the project over 30yrs, the impact would be closer to $35 (<1%) on that same tax bill but over a longer period. Should the project fail at the referendum, it is unlikely that there will be a positive tax impact as our policy is still to maintain a debt service ratio as close to 13% as possible. In this case the Town Manager would most likely execute other projects that have already been approved as a way to maintain this percentage.  

Other Considerations: We have been approved to pay for the costs of constructing a Community Center with TIF revenues. The benefit of doing so has not been factored into this analysis, nor has the benefit of paying for 50% of the Public Safety Building debt service with TIF Revenues. We have also started to explore the possibility of utilizing TIF revenues for a school.  While NOT in minimum receiver status, utilizing TIF revenues to pay for these projects would save us roughly 58%. If we move back into minimum receiver status, either due to growth or a reduction in enrollment or a change in the state formula, the benefit would be closer to 10%. In either case, there would need to be sufficient growth within our TIF districts to support the payments associated with these projects in order for TIF revenues to be considered a realistic funding source.

So, while I cannot guarantee you that your taxes will go up 8% in 2026 in the unlikely scenario that voters approve funding for an expanded library, a new Community Center and a new Consolidated Primary School, it does seem that 8% is a reasonable number to plan for if all 3 projects are supported. This is 5% more than I would advise you to plan for in any other year.  At the end of the day, voters need to weigh in on whether these major improvements align with their values for our community. Our staff and elected officials will work very hard to minimize any impact on your taxes.  

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.

Council Corner: Decision Time—Again

By Don Hamill, Town Council

In the midst of our annual budget cycle in May I wrote an article appealing for us as a Public, Town Council and Staff to prioritize our large capital items. They included the Library Expansion $13MM ($18MM+ including all costs), School Facilities Improvements ($130MM+) and a Community Center and Pool ($35MM+). I recommended the following actions:

1) The Town Council, Board of Education and Town Staff must first analyze the top 3 capital project priorities, discuss, and recommend a path forward with timing and steps.

2) This group must engage the project sponsors and the public to facilitate a vigorous discourse on options to validate priorities and plans. We have had a solid track record of this - utilizing

workshops and ad hoc committees including the Charter Commission and Community Center and others.

3) The Town Council needs to be the gatekeeper for what moves forward to the public for approval, according to our authority under the town charter and ordinances.

4) The public needs to be responsible to approve large capital expenditures based on ballot measures determined by the Town Council, in a town-wide vote.

We have devoted much time and energy as a Council to define the Library project more clearly and have made a very preliminary step forward by modeling various scenarios for capital appropriations with our external bond advisor. This has led to a “spreadsheet duel” between the Council, Town Staff and citizen activist groups. After all of this we are at a standstill. The Library is demanding we put $12. 9MM on the ballot in November to “Let the Public Decide” via a political campaign funded by private donations; and SMARTaxes and SAGA (Scarborough Alliance for Government Accountability) have responded in kind. There has been no success with reducing the scope of the project or capturing synergies and efficiencies by combining programming and facilities. 

In the meanwhile, the Council and Town Staff have been occupied with other matters. We have discussed a GMO exemption request from the Downs for 430 units which has failed to reach an agreement. It has been followed by a second exemption with both pending as of this date.

We are struggling with short term measures to address homelessness and uptick in crime with no path forward for shelter or temporary housing. We continue to operate without Directors of Finance or Public Works. We are just now onboarding a new Planning Director. This has placed the Town Council Chair and Council in a vortex of pseudo sponsorship - filling in for work that is the domain of the Town Manager or having to find outside resources to do the subject matter expert work. 

We are reacting to events rather than leading processes and initiatives to put us on the right track. The four steps outlined above stand a good chance of simply being tossed into the dustbin of history, while we as a leadership group and a community continue to let events manage us.  

We should be spending our time on evaluating our Fiscal Health. This includes scenario planning and pressure testing our so-called “growth engine” to see if we really can continue to increase our debt load while our fund balance declines. The current economic indicators including interest rates, inflation, and other key metrics are predicting hard times ahead. We need to change the way we’re doing business in Scarborough, or prepare to fail. This is a race against time that we cannot afford to lose. 

Time to hit the pause button and get our house in order. Let’s begin by placing the Library project on hold until we can answer all of the open questions surrounding it and competing development projects and create a plan we can all follow together. 

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.
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.

Sept 15: Maine Outdoor Film Festival at Memorial Park

Scarborough Land Trust will be hosting a screening for the Maine Outdoor Film Festival at Memorial Park on September 15. The 2-hour screening will feature films about the outdoors that celebrate conservation, wildlife, and the great state of Maine.

Bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Feel free to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

Time: Doors: 7:00pm, Films: 7:30pm

Admission: Suggested donation $10 to $15 to support Scarborough Land Trust

Rain Date: Sunday, September 18.


Maine Outdoor Film Festival hosts these screenings from Fort Kent to Kittery and brings together conservation, adventure, and the arts. Head to their website for more information and to see a scheduled list of films.

Scarborough Public Library Upcoming Programs

The Scarborough Public Library has rebooted programming for children and added programming for adults in September. Visit their website for the full list of upcoming events!

TAB: Teen Advisory Board

September 7, 3:00pm

We look forward to welcoming back middle and high school students for TAB! Our Teen Advisory Board is comprised of students in grades 6-12. This fun and active group helps plan library events, makes suggestions for materials and more! We will meet every Wednesday at the library at 3:00pm (no meetings on early release days). New members are always welcome; come when you can!

Composting With Worms

September 8, 6:00pm

Calling all gardeners! Scarborough’s own Mark Follansbee of WormMainea is offering a workshop on Composting with Worms in person at the library on Thursday, September 8 at 6:00pm. This workshop has been extremely popular at other libraries. We look forward to welcoming Mark to his home library. Learn more and register here.

New! Pathfinder Society Group

September 7, 5:00-9:30pm

The Library’s new Pathfinder Society group, coordinated by Scarborough resident Alfred Falzone, will meet in the meeting room twice in September: Wednesday evenings September 7 and September 21 from 5:00pm until 9:30pm or so (until the game finishes). Whether you are brand new or you have played Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder Society games. Adults 18 & older. For more information, contact Alfred at 

Friends of Library Book Sale

September 10, 10:00am-3:00pm

Held at Scarborough Public Works Garage, 20 Washington Street, Scarborough (Turn off Rt 1 at the Holy Donut and follow the signs and balloons to Scarborough Public Works).

Cash or checks; Please bring your own bags. Masks are encouraged. Thank you for supporting the Friends of the Library!

Summer Hours are in effect at the Library:
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

Summer Hours end on Saturday, September 10 and regular Saturday hours resume that day: 9am to 5pm. The Library will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2022 in observance of Labor Day.

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