June 1, 2024

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

Election Day is right around the corner! Vote on Election Day, Tuesday, June 11 or early at Town Hall this week through June 6. We're also wrapped up with revaluations and the Assessor's Office is ready to assist with questions. Other departments are gearing up for the summer season, so there is quite a variety happening within Town offices. Brush up on your beach info and find out about some fun summer programs! Read on for details on these topics and much more.


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Vote On Or Before Election Day, June 11

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 11, 2024. There are two ballots, one for the State primary and one municipal. The local ballot is to elect two members to the Board of Education and to vote on the School Budget Validation Referendum. Voting will be held at the Scarborough High School, located at 11 Municipal Drive on Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Early Voting at Town Hall Through June 6

Early voting by absentee ballot is available at Town Hall until June 6. Voting is available during regular business hours, Monday-Thursday, 7:00am-5:00pm.

Absentee Ballots

Request your absentee ballots early for one to be sent to you. Use this online form or fill in this application and mail to the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office at P.O. Box 360, Scarborough, ME 04070-0360. Ballots will be mailed to you when they become available. All absentee ballots must be received no later than 8:00 p.m. EDT on Election Day.

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

Municipal Budget Approved by Town Council

On May 15, the Scarborough Town Council passed the municipal and school budget at a 4.21% increase, below their 5% goal. This equates to a 1.47% tax rate increase in a non-revaluation year, compared to 3.77% last year.

The budget was initially presented by the Town Manager in late March and has undergone extensive Finance Committee review. Here are some key points from this budget season:

• This is a "level services" budget, intended to maintain our existing facilities, preserve municipal services and programs, and to retain our staff.

• This approach was made in consideration of the taxpayer impact from the revaluation and elimination of the State’s Senior Property Tax Stabilization program.

Staff retention was a major priority and budget driver, in order to remain competitive with nearby municipalities.

• It benefits the community with paving projects, sidewalk rehabilitation and accessibility improvements, a transportation design study for an upcoming road project, and Mussey Road intersection improvements.

• There will be two capital investments on the ballot this fall for voter approval: A new fire engine and cruiser and body worn cameras for our police department.

• The school portion of the budget will be put before voters on Election Day, June 11.

The Finance committee reviewed department budgets and made adjustments by revising insurance rate estimates, revenue projections, reducing operating expenses, and deferring some plans and assessments. The Town budget was reduced by $1.42 million, and the School portion of the budget was reduced by $1.385 million. The Town Council accepted the Finance Committee’s recommendation of a $2.8 million net budget reduction from the initially proposed budget


School Budget Highlights (Vote on June 11)

The School budget is brought forward to voters on Election Day, June 11 (early voting available through June 6). The budget includes investments for effective teaching and learning. Here are some highlights:

• Meeting needs of more individualized programming/services (11 one-to-one ed tech positions, 1 speech therapist)

Maintaining class sizes at Wentworth (1 classroom teacher added)

• Increasing early intervention for incoming kindergarteners (teacher specialists)

• Increasing access to arts offerings at Middle School (part-time chorus teacher)

• Supporting students in transition (new Mainers, move-ins, extended absences (new specialized teacher)

• Further serving students with new K-5 librarian

• And more...the net cost of all these new investments represents 1.4% of the approved general fund operating budget.

View more in this summary flyer, and find a further overview from the Board of Education Chair at the bottom of this newsletter.


Revaluation Notices Mailed Last Week

After an ongoing process this spring, the Town has completed its revaluation of all properties in Scarborough. A revaluation is the process of updating real estate property values to reflect their current market value, and ensures a fair distribution of taxes among all property owners.

Property owners have been notified of their new value by mail and should be receiving it by this week. The notice includes your individualized (property-specific) assessment stating your new current value, as well as a flyer with details about the process and how to conduct your own research and appeal, if needed. Notices for non-residential, or commercial/industrial properties will be mailed later in June.

How Were New Values Determined?

The Assessor’s Office appraised thousands of properties all at one time as part of their full analysis. They used:

• Property Records: Historical records maintained for all Scarborough properties

• Vision Database: Information on assessments, property features, sales data

• GIS Parcel Viewer: Property tax information and geographic data for town parcels

• Property Sales: Database of real estate sales

The Town's online database (called Vision) was updated and now reflects new revaluation information for most residential properties. Find this and more property search tools on our website.

Conduct your own analysis: Review your property record to ensure information is accurate, and compare your property with similar properties that have sold in the past two years.

What's Next

Your new assessed value will affect upcoming tax bills due October 2024 and March 2025. Tax bills will be finalized when the annual tax commitment is made in August.

The Assessor’s Office will be reviewing appeals from June-August for those who believe their new value does not represent fair market value. More information about scheduling an informal review hearing is available on our website.


For answers to frequently asked questions about the revaluation process, visit www.scarboroughmaine.org/revalfaq.

Beaches: Parking Lots Now Collecting Fees

Did someone say beach season? That's an easy question, but you may have several more—let us answer those for you. Check out the FAQs on our website. Here are some quick points in the meantime:

• Scarborough is home to Ferry Beach, Pine Point Beach (Hurd Park), Higgins Beach, and Scarborough Beach State Park. All are town-operated except for Scarborough Beach.

• Beach passes are available for purchase at Town Hall (Resident, Non-Resident, Senior Resident).

• Parking fee collection began Memorial Day weekend and ends Labor Day weekend.

• No dogs on the beach from 9-5 daily.

• It’s piping plover nesting season. They are endangered, so be respectful of their nests.

Beach passes and boat launch passes are available for purchase at Town Hall, valid at all three town-operated beaches (Ferry, Pine Point, Higgins). Passes must be obtained in person in the Town Clerk’s Office.


Photo by Lynn Dube, 2023 photo contest submission

Look Out: It's Hatching Season for Plovers!

It’s an exciting time on our beaches – not just because the weather is warming up, but because our piping plover nests are starting to hatch! The first plover nest to hatch this year was on Higgins Beach, and more nests are expected to hatch in the coming days and weeks. Please look out for adult plovers and chicks when you visit our beaches this summer.  

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Piping plover chicks look for food on their own soon after they hatch. They will run from the dune to the water line and everywhere in between. Chicks are very vulnerable for the first four weeks after they hatch because they can’t fly. If they feel threatened, chicks will often freeze on the spot, and they camouflage so well it’s difficult to see them. Please walk carefully on our beaches and be on the lookout for plovers.

As we head into the busy summer season, keep in mind that beach activity can be harmful to plovers and other shorebirds birds. Please follow these general rules when enjoying the beach:

Dogs on the beach (May 15 – Labor Day)

  • Dawn – 9:00 am: Allowed off-leash under voice and sight control
  • 9:00 am – 5:00 pm: No dogs allowed on Scarborough’s beaches
  • 5:00 pm – Dusk: Dogs allowed on-leash
  • Dusk – Dawn: No dogs allowed on Scarborough’s beaches
  • Observe the restricted area on Scarborough’s beaches (April 1 – Labor Day) where dogs are not allowed (Higgins and Ferry) or need to be leashed (Pine Point)
  • Keep dogs at least 200-feet away from stake and twine areas or nests enclosed in fencing

No kite flying, kite surfing, parasailing, or drone flying within 650 feet of nesting plovers

Fireworks are not allowed on any beach in Scarborough 

Take all trash with you when leaving the beach

Fill in all holes dug on the beach

Play beach games, run, and bike away from nests and chicks on the beach

We’d like to thank our diligent volunteer monitors who visit our beaches to educate residents and visitors about the plovers and our local ordinances. We’d also like to thank residents and visitors for following the beach rules that are in place to protect these endangered birds.

Officer Greenleaf Displays Heroic Efforts

We are grateful for our officers who keep our community safe on a daily basis. On May 21, Officer Eric Greenleaf was working a detail at Maine Medical Center in Portland when his immediate assistance was needed by hospital security staff. A patient had smuggled in a homemade edged weapon and was threatening harm. Officer Greenleaf was able to quickly disarm the patient, allowing security staff to safely move in and take over. Officer Greenleaf’s actions likely prevented serious injuries to the public, to hospital staff and to the patient.


The Police Department posts a weekly report on their Facebook page and our website.

June 5: Short Term Rentals Workshop

June 5, 5:30-7:00pm

Council Chambers, Town Hall

View links (agenda, Zoom, Youtube) on our Town Calendar

The Town Council will be holding a Short Term Rentals workshop on June 5 as the Town considers the creation of a Short Term Rental Ordinance. Scarborough is one of few neighboring communities who do not have an ordinance already, but does have a Planning & Code Enforcement Policy, "'Airbnb' Use of or Within Dwelling Units". A Short Term Rental (STR) Ordinance would establish regulations and possible tracking of STRs in Scarborough. 

Black Point Road Closed Due to Storm Damage

Local Traffic Only Beyond Black Point Inn—All Others Prohibited

Extensive erosion from the 2024 winter storms caused a partial collapse, leaving the far southern section of Black Point Road with only one functioning lane. The road is currently closed to visitors until repairs are completed. Only local vehicles are permitted to travel beyond the Black Point Inn. All others must turn back at the road closure. The target date for repairs is late Fall/Winter 2024. 

The Cliff Walk Closed Until Further Notice

Winter storms caused significant damage to the Cliff Walk, making the trail impassable. The Cliff Walk is closed until repairs can be made. An updated status will be provided in early 2025.

Coming Soon: Discounted Amusement Park Tickets

Community Services Offers Programs

Scarborough Community Services participates in the discounted tickets program through Maine Recreation and Park Association each summer. The tickets we're selling for the 2024 season are:

Aquaboggan (General Admission pass) = $21 each (normally $30)

York's Wild Kingdom (Zoo ONLY pass) = $14 each (normally $18)

Funtown/Splashtown USA (Combo pass) = $47 each (normally $57)

Once we have tickets, we will announce the opening of sales on our website, on our Facebook page, and in an email to all of our account holders.

Pickleball Programs: A Few Spaces Left

Learn to Play Pickleball

$100, Ages 18+

Memorial Park Courts

Monday Sessions: June 3-24, 4:30-5:30pm

Friday Sessions: June 7-28, 9:00-10:00am


In this 4-week program, you’ll learn how to effectively strike the ball, maintain a rally, keep score, rules and basic gameplay. At the conclusion of these lessons, players will have the foundational understanding and skills to start playing Pickleball.

Improvers Pickleball

$100, Ages 18+

Memorial Park Courts

Sunday Sessions: June 2-23, 5:30-6:30pm


This 4-week program is structured for you to gain the confidence to get on the court with advanced beginners and other improving players. This program is intended for those who have already completed a beginner lesson, or those who have the fundamentals of Pickleball already down and are looking to bring themselves to the next level.


3iHoMe Project Receives Maine Housing Funding

The 3iHoMe project, which will provide affordable housing in Scarborough for people with mobility disabilities, received $5.4 million in funding from Maine Housing’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The announcement of the funding occurred on May 23, 2024, with 3iHoMe being one of six projects to receive funding.

This project is the first of its kind in Maine and is being developed by Boston-based Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and 3i Housing of Maine (3iHoME), a non-profit organization working to create independent community-based living options for people with mobility impairments and physical disabilities. 

The 3iHoMe project will be located within the Downs and includes 51 fully accessible and affordable apartments.

Approved by the Scarborough Planning Board in June 2023 for a lot within center of The Downs, the project includes 51 fully accessible and affordable apartments. The building will deploy assistive smart home technologies allowing residents to use voice technology for things like doors, window shades and electronics.

The Town also approved a credit enhancement agreement to support the project in December 2023. That agreement will reimburse 50% of the property taxes paid by the project for 15 years.

In addition to the private rental apartments, the project will feature a common living area for social activities, a designated workspace for human and health service providers and an entrepreneurial center deemed the mobility and assistive technology hub (M.A.T.H.) with extensive educational opportunities for assistive technology invention.   

POAH expects to start construction in the first quarter of 2025 with an opening slated for the end of 2026.

Conservation Spotlight: What is a Conservation Commission?

Brought to you by the Scarborough Conservation Commission

A conservation commission is a group of individuals directed to carefully preserve and protect natural communities through natural resources management and to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect. Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Department of the Interior, states that conservation commissions exist “to identify conservation problems, to lay the issues before the people, to organize public support and then to take the initiative to solve the problem.”

The Maine Association of Conservation Commissions (MEACC) explains what conservation commissions are by showing what they accomplish: "Commissions build trails, work with school children, monitor development, protect their town’s special wild places, and generally work to keep Maine communities attractive places to live, work and raise our families. Commissions watchdog and maintain the natural resources of a community, working with town officials, planning boards and private organizations."

A conservation commission usually has its roots in either the municipality’s government or in a citizen’s initiative, and as MEACC states, it often serves as “the ‘environmental conscience of the community.’ In many municipalities this may be the role that provides commission members with their greatest sense of accomplishment.” MEACC helps municipalities create a commission, and also provides advice, education, networking and training opportunities for conservation commission members across the State of Maine. 

Our Conservation Commission is made up of seven members: Randi Hogan (Chair), Maggie Vishneau, Peter Slovinsky, Jessica Sargent, Cathleen Miller, Marla Zando, and Abel Plaud.


Stay tuned for more Conservation Spotlights in our newsletter this summer!

Check Out the New School Building Committee Website

Provided by the School Building Advisory Committee (SBAC)

The School building webpage is updated and live with latest materials, including the town-wide school survey results. Addressing our school needs is a high priority for many residents, and we are currently summarizing these survey results to ensure your insights inform this work moving forward. 

What's Happening

The SBAC held a community forum on Thursday evening—thank you to all who joined! Subcommittees have concluded their work of assessing needs and assumptions, and have begun concept development on new school solutions. New concepts are in very early stages and we want more public input.


Town Council Corner: A Budget Worth Voting For

By April Sither, Scarborough Town Council

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 FY25 budget marks my sixth as an elected official. In that time I have served on the School Board finance committee twice and the Town Council finance committee twice, once as a reluctant chair. In my “off years” I have remained diligent in attending most finance committee meetings, budget workshops, and community roundtables. For six years I have debated mil rate goals, net budget goals, geometric mean, bond rating, tax impact, “no till zero”, “no too low,” and everything in between. I have written articles, letters to the editor, made Facebook memes, and stood beside my husband dressed in a giant dog costume waving a “vote yes” sign on the side of Rt. 1 with a baby strapped to my chest.  

I have voted in favor of budgets that I didn’t like because I appreciated the compromise it took to get there. This year was no exception. The budget put forth by the Town and School Department will result in a projected 1.5% increase in the tax rate - half of our well established 3% goal. While many towns throughout southern and central Maine are seeing double digit increases, your elected officials have responded to inflationary pressures, as well as the impact of the town-wide revaluation, with a modest increase that I hope will pass at the polls by a wide margin. Do I agree with every priority or dollar spent? Of course not. But the calls for further reductions being made by some are not in the best interest of our community at large.

My biggest concern this budget cycle is that some of you reading this article will have recently opened a letter from the town assessor and have learned that you will be experiencing a significant increase to your tax bill as a result of the town-wide revaluation…and that your gut reaction will be to vote down the school budget. To those residents, I get it, and I can promise you that I had you in mind when I approved this year's net budget increase. What I hope to convey here is that just a small portion of your increase is related to this budget. If you were heavily impacted by the revaluation, voting down the school budget will only have a minimal impact on your overall tax bill should the council take action to reduce the net budget request for a second referendum. 

If I am being honest, this isn’t the budget I wanted for our community. I would love nothing more than to add critical positions to serve our residents, maintain our current level of service, and invest in our future. But I also recognize that for many residents, inflationary pressures, the loss of the senior tax stabilization program, and/or increased tax bills as a result of the revaluation make this a difficult year to make new investments. With that said, I genuinely believe this budget was built with the needs of our residents and students as a top priority, and for that I am very grateful. 

Early voting is taking place at Town Hall during business hours until June 6th. Election day is June 11th, and the polls will be open at Scarborough High School from 7am-8pm. My family and I will once again be waving signs on election day. According to my husband, it's my turn to wear the dog costume! See you out there voters! 

Scarborough Town Council

Nick McGee, Chair • April Sither, Vice Chair • Jonathan Anderson • Jean-Marie Caterina • Don Cushing • Don Hamill • Karin Shupe

Town Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month. Visit our Town Calendar for links to attend and view agendas.


School Budget Overview

By Shannon Lindstrom, Chair, Board of Education

The Scarborough Public Schools’ budget for the FY25 year has been thoughtfully crafted by the school leadership team in a months-long, multi-phase process. Throughout the budget process annually, the leadership team assesses the impact of past investments and analyzes current resources to arrive at a budget that is both fiscally responsible and aligned to our district priorities and goals.

The budget process starts with a level services budget, or the resources required to maintain the same programs and services we now provide, at a projected cost for the coming year. Analysis of the level services budget is carried out through multiple sessions, wherein educational programs, staff resources, instructional supplies and services and district-wide operational costs are all reviewed. Additionally, each budget line item is reviewed, which allows school leaders to identify areas of continued need, potential reduction and reallocation of resources. This allows the district to create the smallest possible increase in non-personnel accounts and offset contractual increases in salaries, wages and benefits. 

After the analysis has been completed, the leadership team looks forward. Investments in new staff, programs and services are proposed by school leaders to the full leadership team to ensure that only the most critical items are brought forward in the most cost effective way possible. This allows the district to consider investments that will meet the needs of an increasingly complex student population, while remaining mindful of the reality of any potential tax impact to the Scarborough community.  

The FY25 budget addresses the critical needs of our district, while acknowledging the capacity of our community to provide the necessary resources. Some of the proposed added funding includes: 

New Ed Tech positions: 11 new Ed Tech 3 positions will meet the legally mandated needs of incoming Special Education students. These positions will provide services to an unprecedented number of previously identified incoming kindergarten students with significant needs for support.

New Speech Therapist position: One new Speech Therapist position is added to the budget to address emerging needs in our K-2 student population. Preliminary enrollment numbers indicate a large number of incoming kindergarten students who will require education services under the disability category of speech/language impairment and additional students who receive speech and language services. 

New “WIN” (What I Need) Academy Teacher position: The WIN Teacher position will allow the Wentworth School to support students with unique learning needs as a supplement to regular classroom instruction. In our current model, students who are new to the district or have missed instruction time due to illness or school avoidance, often fall behind their peers and can ultimately end up being referred to Special Education. This position allows us to provide early intervention in a general education setting with the right level of instructional support to allow students to progress along with their classmates.

New Wentworth Classroom Teacher position: This teacher position at Wentworth will allow the district to maintain targeted class sizes for optimum learning while welcoming a very large fifth grade class for the 2024-25 school year. 

New K-2 Librarian position: The new Librarian position allows for a dedicated librarian for the K-2 schools and a dedicated librarian for the Wentworth School. For many years, one librarian has supported over 1,300 students in four schools across grades kindergarten through fifth. This is an unsustainable model that results in inadequate access to a certified Librarian for our youngest learners.

The great news is that, thanks to budget reductions made in other areas and increased state subsidy, we have been able to include these important resources for our students while still reaching the Town Council’s goal of the lowest possible tax increase in this revaluation year.

We hope this look into the budget helps you to better understand the budget process and some of the additional positions included in the FY25 budget. We hope you will support the schools and our youngest community members by voting YES for the School Budget now with absentee and early voting or at the June 11, 2024 referendum.

Today: Scarborough Land Trust Native Plant Sale


Scarborough Public Library: Upcoming Programs

Die Well Death Education: Creating an End of Life Plan

Friday, June 7



Join the daytime version of this popular program. In this first session of the series, we will discuss the importance of talking about and preparing for death - and what the preparation entails. We will review the creation of an End-of-Life Plan, the importance of legacy work, the benefits of writing your own obituary, hospice & palliative care, and funeral and body disposition options (there are more than you think!).

Community Baby Shower

Saturday, June 8

12:00-1:30pm (Drop-in)

Register (not required)

For ALL new & expectant parents, drop in anytime to start your home book library for your baby with free books, learn about resources for new parents, eat snacks, and hear a special lullaby set from KindKids Music!

You do not need a Scarborough Library card to attend this program.

"Gen Silent" Documentary Matinee & Discussion

Monday, June 10



The generation that fought hardest to come out of the closet is going back in to survive. What would you do if you were old, disabled or ill – and the person feeding you put down the spoon and said that you are going to hell unless you change your sexual preference? Sound absurd? Social workers around the world say it’s happening every day. Gen Silent is the critically acclaimed documentary from filmmaker Stu Maddux that asks six LGBT seniors if they will hide their friends, their spouses, their entire lives in order to survive in the care system.

Make Your Own Mystery

With Barbara Ross, Kate Flora, and Richard Cass

Thursday, June 13



Working collectively, the audience will build a mystery with three local crime writers. We'll decide the WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN WHY & HOW together!

Save the Date: Summer Learning Programs Kick-Off

Thursday, June 20


Get your Summer Learning Challenge sheet, eat a cold treat, and try the rock climbing wall! Find all of our Kids Summer Learning activities here.

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