May 1, 2024

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

We're looking ahead... to summer, to the next fiscal year, and to planning for the future. The Town Council is in the process of reviewing next year's budget and revaluation notices will be mailed this month. There have been some advancements for land conservation in Scarborough, as well as plans for the future of our schools and the possibility of a community center. Meanwhile, our helpful staff is here to serve you at Town Hall—it's beach pass season, after all! Read on for more.


There is a Town Council meeting tonight at 7:00pm. It will be preceded by a Town Council Joint Workshop with the School regarding the proposed FY2025 budgets, from 5:30-7:00pm. View agendas and get links on our Town Calendar.

Gearing Up for Beach Season

Parking Passes Available Now

Beach passes, used for parking in Town-operated lots during the summer season, are now available for purchase in our Clerk's office (sales begin in May each year). All beach passes must be obtained in person. Please bring your vehicle registration as it is required for the purchase of a beach pass. Cash or check payment is recommended; cards are accepted with an additional convenience fee.

Beach passes cover parking at the following Town beaches:

• Higgins

• Ferry

• Pine Point (Hurd Park)

Passes do not apply to Scarborough Beach State Park.

The season for beach parking passes runs from the start of Memorial Day weekend (May) to the end of Labor Day weekend (September).

Dog Rules Change May 15

Beginning on May 15 through Labor Day, dogs are restricted from beaches from 9:00am-5:00pm. They are allowed off-leash from dawn to 9:00 a.m. They are allowed on leash from 5:00 p.m. to dusk. Please respect these rules for the courtesy of fellow beachgoers.

Please also note, there are some restricted areas on our town beaches where dogs aren't allowed (Higgins and Ferry/Western) or need to be leashed (Pine Point), which went into effect on April 1. Please pay attention to the signs that mark restricted areas. View the maps of restricted areas on all of Scarborough's town beaches on this page of our website.

Be Mindful of Plovers

Plovers are busy making their nests! Please keep them protected by staying a distance away if you see them and respecting the restricted areas if you have a dog.

Budget: Council to Review & Approve in May

We sent out a budget overview newsletter a couple of weeks ago to give you a quick glance at the starting point for the proposed FY2025 budget and the process that's currently underway. Here are the upcoming Town Council budget-related important dates:

Wednesday, May 1: Joint Town Council/School Board budget workshop and first reading (5:30-7:00pm; Agenda)

Thursday, May 2: School Board Meeting - second reading and budget vote

Wednesday, May 15: Town Council second reading and adoption

Tuesday, June 11: School budget validation vote

The newsletter also featured some helpful 2-4 minute videos explaining elements of the budget, and a look at some of the environmental, traffic, and sidewalk investments that are included. Give it a read!

View the budget overview newsletter


All budget details, meeting dates, and the full budget document are available on our website. It also includes a form to submit any questions you may have.

Let's Talk Taxes

First, Budget

The proposed FY2025 municipal budget is currently being reviewed by the Finance Committee before Town Council approval in May. At its starting point, the proposed budget was a 6.44% net increase from the previous year. The finance committee is making edits to try to get this closer to the Council goal of a 5% increase. The starting point increase would equate to a 3.77% tax rate in a typical year (2.25% if lowered to the Council goal). However, this year the tax rate will also be impacted by two factors: the town-wide revaluation and the elimination of the State's Senior Property Tax Stabilization Program. The budget takes this into account by not adding in major new investments, staff, or programs.

Next, Town-wide Revaluation

Revaluation property tax outcomes won’t be finalized until the municipal and school budgets are approved (May/June) and the annual tax commitment is made (August). The combination of these will inform FY25 Tax Bills (Fall ’24 and Spring ’25); therefore, the determination of new values for taxation purposes is largely uncertain at this time. Early estimates suggest that the majority of Residential property owners (excluding households that participated in the State’s “Property Tax Stabilization” Program last year) will, on average, experience a 7% increase in their tax bill amount from last year. For reference, last year’s tax rate increase in a non-revaluation year was 3.77%. It is important to note that many taxpayers will experience tax changes that are either higher or lower than the estimated average, based on the market value of their property, and their resulting new assessment. (Read more about the Revaluation below)

Determining the Tax Rate

The tax rate is determined by taking the total Tax Levy (combined municipal, school, and county budgets minus all non-property tax revenues) and dividing it by the total Taxable Valuation. In short, Tax Levy/Taxable Valuation = Tax Rate. The annual tax bill for each property is calculated by multiplying the taxable value by the tax rate. 

Shouldn't Growth Make My Taxes Go Down?

Theoretically, growth in isolation would lower the tax rate. This is because the Town's net budget (the gross budget less non-property tax revenues, otherwise known as the amount to be raised through property taxes) would be dispersed among a wider tax base (more homes and businesses). However, the net budget increases each year for two primary reasons:

• Increasing operational expenses (utilities, supplies, contracted services, salaries, benefits, fuel, and other costs that are impacted by inflation)

Capital investments (maintenance of facilities, roads, vehicles, schools and other public infrastructure)

The Town receives non-property tax revenue that offsets these costs, but these revenues, such as State revenue sharing or general purpose aid to education, can fluctuate from year to year. For these reasons, even with an expanded tax base there is more often than not a tax rate increase.

That said, if there were no expansion in the tax base through residential and commercial growth, the tax rate would be higher because the net budget would be increasing year over year while the tax base stays the same. The best illustration of growth's impact on the tax rate is looking back at the net budget increase against the tax rate over the last four years. During this period, the net budget increased 4.45% on average, while the tax rate increased 2.1% on average. Without this tax base expansion through residential and commercial growth, the tax rate increase would more closely match that of the net budget increase. 

June 11 is Election Day

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Primary Elections determine each qualified party's nomination of candidates for federal offices and State and County offices. Party candidates who are elected at the Primary qualify to appear on the November General Election ballot. June Elections are also held to elect members to the Board of Education and to vote 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.

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.


January Storm Damage: Contact FEMA for Assistance

A Major Disaster Declaration was issued for the State of Maine regarding the severe storms and flooding that occurred January 10-13, 2024. Cumberland County was included in this declaration and is eligible to receive federal funding. "Pop-Up" Disaster Recovery Center sessions with FEMA specialists were held at the Scarborough Public Safety building in April. May sessions have been canceled due to an emergency FEMA need out west for the tornadoes. If you are in need of assistance regarding the January storms, call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. A video of their first session was recorded and is available on our website.


Infrastructure Repair at Higgins Beach Now Complete

Shaw Brothers Construction was contracted to do the repairs to public infrastructure within the Higgins Beach area. The damages are a result of the two coastal storms that took place in January. Work is now complete, ready in time for beach season. It covers sections on Bayview Avenue, Champion Street, Vesper Street, and Morning Avenue.

Spurwink Road Paving Next Week

Surface paving of Spurwink Road from Ocean Avenue to Pleasant Hill Road will occur later next week. Weather and equipment permitting, this should take about two days to complete. Expect traffic delays, and seek an alternate route if possible. Timing subject to change; thank you for your patience.

Questions? Contact us at or 207.730.4400.


Coming Soon: Revised Flood Maps Effective June 20

The Town of Scarborough will be adopting an updated set of digital flood insurance rate maps (DFIRMs) and floodplain management ordinance, effective June 20, 2024. It is required for the Town to remain in good standing as a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). With the new FEMA flood maps going into effect, Scarborough must adopt an updated Floodplain Management Ordinance which references the new map date on or before June 20, 2024 in order to avoid being suspended from the NFIP. A public hearing and second reading on this is scheduled for this evening's Town Council meeting.

Pending FEMA flood maps are available to view on our website—use it to identify properties in the flood zones (access from this page).


May 13: Flood Map Open House for Cumberland County

Monday, May 13, 3:00-7:00pm (Drop in anytime)

South Portland City Hall, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor

25 Cottage Rd, South Portland

The Maine Floodplain Management Program and FEMA will jointly host a public open house in Cumberland County about the new FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). No formal presentations will be made and no appointment is necessary. Learn how you may be affected and if you're in a flood zone. Representatives from FEMA, the State, mapping partners, and grants staff will be available to answer flood risk, insurance, and grant questions. Staff can also help property owners identify and understand how their risk may be changing. Property owners are encouraged to bring their elevation certificates and/or flood insurance policies to the event in order to get the best information about how their flood insurance rates may change as a result of the new mapping and legislative insurance reforms.

If you are unable to attend an open house and need assistance, please contact your local code official or the Floodplain Management Program at the Dept. of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry: Sue Baker, State Coordinator (207) 287-8063 or and Janet Parker, Planner, (207) 287-9981 or

Scarborough Land Trust Receives $1.4 Million NOAA Grant

On Earth Day (April 22) we welcomed officials from the White House and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as local State of Maine officials, to Scarborough for a special grant announcement ceremony. NOAA announced several national grant recipients, including the Scarborough Land Trust, which received a $1.4 million NOAA Coastal Zone Management Grant.

Scarborough Land Trust says, "We are thrilled to be awarded $1.4 million from NOAA for Scarborough Marsh resiliency and restoration planning. We are proud to lead a partnership of 15 government and non-profit organizations in a 3-year project aimed at improving and restoring habitats for fish and wildlife, increasing public access to trails and waterways, and mitigating flooding along roads surrounding the Marsh."

The grant aims to develop a pipeline of restoration projects and management interventions to restore the natural hydrological functions in Scarborough Marsh. It will be managed by the Scarborough Land Trust in partnership with the Dept. of Marine Resources, Maine Geological Survey, Maine DEP, MaineDOT, Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Town of Scarborough

Town Councilor Karin Shupe gave the opening remarks at the ceremony.


Congratulations to Retiring Marine Resource Officer

Officer Gene O'Neill Retires After 36 Years with Scarborough Police

Marine Resource Officer Gene O'Neill is retiring this Friday after 36 years with the Scarborough Police Department! O'Neill joined the department in 1988 as a Patrol Officer, followed by five years as a detective. He went on to become a Patrol Sergeant in 1994, a position he kept until just a few years ago. In June 2021, he filled the role of MRO, which he saw as an opportunity to utilize his strengths while working with the waterfront community.

As the Marine Resource Officer/Harbormaster, Officer O'Neill oversaw the harbors in Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth, which are actively used by shellfish harvesters. He was responsible for conservation management and marine safety for boaters and surfers.

Officer O'Neill has no set plans for retirement, but looks forward to spending more time with his wife and daughter. He has also been a Mason and a Shriner for years, walking in parades with fellow members and fundraising for organization efforts. Happy retirement!

Register for Summer Programs

Scarborough Community Services has a diverse lineup of programs for kids, teens, and adults. Some featured summer programs include:

Pet Portraits, June 11 (Adults 21+)

Senior Lunches, Wednesdays (Adults 55+)

Wicky Ralph's Ice Cream & Mini Golf, June 5 (Grades 6-8)

Paddleboarding Portland Harbor, July 18 (Grades 7-8)

Seacoast Soccer Camp, Jul 29-Aug 1 (Ages 3-14)

Musical Theater Camp, Jul 8-12 (Grades 2-6)

Beginner Guitar & Songwriting, Jul 11-Aug 15 (Ages 8-17)

& more!

See the full brochure. For a print copy, stop by the Scarborough Public Library or Community Services Hub at 418 Payne Road.


Last Chance! Spring Fling Family Formal Dance on May 4

Saturday, May 4, 5:30-8:30pm

Wentworth School

$8 per person

Buy Tickets

Community Services is coming back with a popular event from last year! You are cordially invited to our annual Spring Fling Family Formal Dance. Come dressed to impress for this year’s “Glow Ball” theme as we transform the Wentworth School cafeteria into a dance to remember. Light, bright, or neon dress clothes are encouraged. Professional photography offered on site, as well as a selfie station for those fun and silly poses. Music provided by local radio DJs Joe Lerman and Rob Steele. Light refreshments and snacks provided.


Revaluation: Early Tax Impact Estimates

The Assessor presented early estimates of Revaluation outcomes in a Town Council workshop on April 17. Workshop estimates were based on reasonable assumptions for various figures that aren’t yet finalized, but are intended to provide taxpayers with advanced notice of likely tax impacts that can be expected. The timing was intended to align with the FY2025 budget process in order to inform the work of the Town Council and School Board as they undergo budget reviews. That said, the final stages of the Revaluation are not yet complete and the FY25 Budget process is still underway. Here are key takeaways from the presentation:

Estimated Assess Value Changes: Early estimates suggest that Residential property owners will, on average, experience a 53% increase in their assessed value to reflect current market value. For example, a home currently assessed at $400,000 may increase to $612,000 to more accurately reflect current market value of a probable sale price (for resulting tax impact, see #3). This will bring Scarborough’s assessments back into compliance with State law.

Commercial vs. Residential Value Changes: Preliminary estimates are indicating that, overall, residential property values have increased at a higher pace (53%) than commercial property values (43%). This is not an intentional decision, but a result of market dynamics that inform the revaluation to ensure equity and fairness in tax contribution based on current market value of all properties, per State law. If this holds true, residential owners may see a higher increase in taxes compared to commercial properties.  

Estimated Tax Bill Changes: The determination of new values for taxation purposes is largely uncertain at this time, however, early estimates suggest that the majority of Residential property owners (excluding households that participated in the State’s “Property Tax Stabilization” Program last year) will, on average, experience a 7% increase in their tax bill amount from last year. For reference, last year’s tax rate increase in a non-revaluation year was 3.77%. It is important to note that many taxpayers will experience tax changes that are either higher or lower than the estimated average, based on the market value of their property, and their resulting new assessment.

Elimination of State’s Senior Property Tax Stabilization Program: Over 1,800 Scarborough households benefited from the State’s former Property Tax Stabilization program, which provided some relief on the 2023-2024 tax bills for eligible Senior taxpayers. The program has been eliminated, and the tax savings experienced last year will once again be the responsibility of the owner. Even if there were not a revaluation occurring this year, these households would experience two years’ worth of budget increases in one year. The State’s repeal of this tax relief program equates to roughly an additional 4% tax increase (beyond the aforementioned 7%), or an estimated 11% increase from last year’s “stabilized” tax bill amount.


Contact the Assessing office with any questions at (207) 730-4060 or Visit the Revaluation webpage for more information.

May 11: Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Saturday, May 11, 8:00am-Noon

Scarborough Public Works, 20 Washington Avenue

Scarborough Public Works has scheduled 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 for all three events (proof of residency is required).

The dates for the 2024 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days are:

• Saturday, May 11 (8am-Noon), Scarborough (20 Washington Ave)

• Saturday, July 27 (8am-Noon), Saco (15 Philips Spring Road)

• Saturday, September 14 (8am-Noon), Biddeford (371 Hill Street)

These are a collaborative cross-town events: Disposal is free for residents of Scarborough, Saco, and Biddeford at all three events. Please reference the flyer for a list of accepted materials and paints.


Questions? Contact us at or 207.730.4400.

School Building Advisory Committee Updates

Thank you to all participants of the town-wide school survey! Our consultant ETC Institute is currently analyzing the results, which will be shared in the coming weeks. These results will be critical to informing SBAC work and recommendations. 

SBAC subcommittees have presented on initial findings (see 4/15 and 4/22 SBAC meetings). The groups are working to summarize this content for the public and a final report due June 13. Stay tuned for community forum opportunities to be scheduled shortly, and save the date for the final presentation to the Town Council and School Board on June 26


Parks & Conservation Land Board Survey Conducted

Jessica Sargent, Chair of the Parks and Conservation Land Board

Scarborough has been conserving lands that provide public benefits through the Land Acquisition Reserve Fund since it was created in 2000. The fund has relied on four Conservation Land Bonds, passed by Scarborough voters, to acquire lands to conserve water quality, maintain public access for outdoor recreation, protect natural areas and wildlife habitat, preserve farms, protect sites that are part of the character of the community, and expand existing conservation and public areas. Past Conservation Land Bonds have contributed to the protection of important places like Broadturn Farm, Blue Point Preserve, Higgins Beach, Frith Farm, Warren Woods Preserve, Comstock Farm, Pleasant Hill Preserve, Beech Ridge Schoolhouse, Silver Brook Preserve, among others. Several of these properties offer a wide variety of public access, supporting tens of thousands of visitors a year. 

The last Conservation Land Bond was passed in 2019 and is nearly exhausted. Earlier this year, the Parks and Conservation Land Board (PCLB), a citizen advisory board to the Town Council, recommended that the Town Council consider placing a referendum question on the November 2024 ballot to renew the Conservation Land Bond. This measure would allow voters to continue the legacy of land conservation by protecting additional properties that would remain undeveloped and preserve the character of the Town. The PCLB is tasked with making recommendations to the Town Council on the need for additional Land Conservation Bonds and the amount to put forward to the voters.

To provide the best available data to the Town Council, PCLB determined a statistically valid survey was needed to determine voter priorities, attitudes, and supported funding levels. Scarborough was fortunate to receive support from the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national leader in helping local communities gauge public support for conservation. TPL partnered with the Scarborough Land Trust to help fund a survey carried out by a third-party professional polling company. The survey is now complete the results will be presented to the PCLB, helping them to make an informed recommendation to the Town Council. 

Past surveys have demonstrated that a large majority of residents are interested in slowing the pace of growth in the Town. The Conservation Land Bonds have helped protect over 1,000 acres in Scarborough, protecting drinking water, supporting public access, forests, wildlife habitat, and historic preservation. New bonding capacity for land conservation is necessary to balance growth in Town and fulfill the resolution recently unanimously approved by the Town Council supporting the concept of 30x30 campaign to protect at least 30 percent of the Town’s land by 2030. 


Community Center Open House Held Last Week

Last week, the Scarborough Ad-Hoc Community Center Advisory Committee and their consulting team held an Open House for the public to learn more about the community center development process and provide feedback. The Advisory Committee has been meeting since September 2023 reviewing past data, survey information, and community feedback in an effort to design a facility that best meets the needs of our community, is financially sustainable, and creates a place to bring the entire community together.


No Mow May—It's All the Buzz

Scarborough encourages residents to practice “No Mow May”, a grassroots effort that encourages people to delay mowing for the benefit of pollinators. When bees emerge in the early spring, it can be difficult for them to find food. The flowers in our lawns are often the bees’ only sources of pollen and nectar. Allowing lawns to grow longer and flowers to bloom provides early-season food that bees thrive. 

Not sure if you can live with a meadow for a month? Consider these options that will still benefit bees and other pollinators:

Practice “Low Mow May” by mowing only once or twice in the month. Mowing less should still allow flowers to bloom. 

Designate a “No Mow May” section of your lawn. Keep the portion of your lawn close to your home trimmed for play areas and pest control while allowing other areas to grow up.

Let your friends and neighbors know that you’re planning to participate in No Mow May! We have a limited number of free yard signs available. Stop by the Planning Department in the basement of Town Hall during business hours to pick up your sign. One sign per person is available on a first-come-first-served basis while supplies last. 

Landscaping to Feed Us All

By Cathleen Miller, Scarborough Conservation Commission

As the days become longer and warmer, many of us turn our attention to our yards and gardens to prepare for the upcoming seasons of growth. We prune, cut back decay, and rake leaves that fell in the fall. Though the norm for many neighborhoods is a tightly manicured lawn with defined beds for annual plants, there is a growing interest in creating habitat for wildlife in our yards and gardens. From the tiniest insects to the birds that visit our feeders, all creatures who live in this area depend on us to create habitat where they can thrive, especially as wilder areas are developed, and as the warming climate shifts the seasons. Even the smallest of yards can include features that support other species, in addition to feeding our own bodies and spirits.

The addition of water (like a small birdbath) can offer a respite for bees, butterflies, and other insects. Consider creating wildlife hedges that offer beneficial cover and food for bird and insect populations. Depending on your local conditions, consider native perennials like Blueberry or Elderberry, which feed a wide variety of species (including humans). Find species that bloom early in the spring (like Bloodroot or Trout Lily) and late into the fall (like New England Aster and Spotted Joe Pye Weed) to offer more food for our native bees. Native plants are important for our landscapes because they are more attractive to pollinators than other plant species, and they are well-adapted to our climate so you will have fewer losses to the cold. 

Perhaps you have space to incorporate wild areas into your landscape—buffer zones that allow for insects and other animals to build their homes and find adequate food. These spaces offer benefits to us as well. Wild areas reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere that comes from tilling the soil for gardens and mowing lawns. They offer a place where we can pay attention to what happens when nature’s processes are less influenced by our desires. They remind us of our wild nature and our interconnection with all other species with whom we share the land. 

You can find native plants at many local nurseries, and at upcoming plant sales through Scarborough Land Trust (June 1 at Broadturn Farm) and Maine Audubon (June 8 at Gilsland Farm, Falmouth). Maine Audubon has a native plant finder tool on their website that will help you find plants suitable for your location and soil conditions. The Wild Seed Project has native plant lists and native seeds for sale. The Maine Cooperative Extension has many resources on native plants and other landscaping topics. This year, try out a new way of seeing your yard or garden by experimenting with ecological landscaping practices. The birds and bees will thank you. 

To learn more about native plants and ecological landscaping options for your yard, the Scarborough Land Trust is hosting “The Importance of Native Plants to Bird Diversity,” a talk by Claudia Thompson on May 9 (Learn more).


May 30: Senior Citizen Appreciation Dinner

Hosted by Scarborough Public Schools

Scarborough Public Schools is hosting a Senior Citizen Appreciation Dinner. Get together and get a peek inside what the school district has been up to! Enjoy a dinner prepared by the Nutrition Department and served by students. Watch some live performances from various school clubs, admire work and achievements on display, and enter to win some raffles!

Event Details:

Thursday, May 30th

4:00-6:30pm, Dinner will be served at 4:30pm

Held at Scarborough High School

Registration deadline: May 19

Sign up by online or contact Community Services via in-person or over the phone

(207) 730-4150 to assist with registration.


Scarborough Unified Basketball Nationally Recognized

By Jack Murnane and Calvin Venegoni-Ranger, Scarborough High School

On Friday March 8th the Scarborough Unified Basketball teams were presented with a banner representing their honorable recognition as a National Unified Champion School from ESPN Special Olympics. In addition to a night full of joyous celebration of unity and pride, members of the unified sports teams competed in special games against the Scarborough Police Department (pictured below), Scarborough Fire Department, parents, and staff members at Scarborough Middle and High School. Special Olympics defines Unified Champion schools as those that promote inclusivity and the breaking down of barriers between students with and without intellectual disabilities in a safe and accepting school environment.

Unified Sports have been spreading throughout the country, and made their landfall at Scarborough High School in 2019. Unified Sports pair athletes with developmental disabilities with partners who don’t have developmental disabilities. The athletes bring the passion and the energy, and the partners bring the guidance and the spirit. In an interview with Coach Albert McCormack, he gave an inside look at Unified Sports at Scarborough High School. Coach McCormack repeatedly emphasized that: “It’s not about winning or losing, but having a good time with your friends”. He also stressed the most important quality in a unified athlete as: “Wanting to be part of a team”. Going further, he stated that; “Scoring the basket or hitting the perfect shot is exciting, but making that amazing bounce pass or setting up that play is next level”. Unified Sports has expanded in recent years, with McCormack leading the charge for more sports to be included in Scarborough. Most recently Bocce Ball has joined the mix, and there is hope for an expansion into a Unified Robotics Team. 

Unified Bocce Ball has attracted new students to the program, among them is unified helper Emerson Johnson. Emerson had the following to say about Unified Bocce Ball: “Oftentimes in school, students find themselves around the same small group of students; unified sports are a great opportunity to meet new classmates who many don’t have the chance to interact with otherwise. Unified sports offer such a welcoming environment and provide great new experiences and memories.” 

The designation of Scarborough High School and Middle School as National Unified Champion Schools is a high honor representing Scarborough’s dedication to the promotion of equity in schools. When prompted for any final thoughts on Unified Sports at Scarborough, Coach McCormack stated: “I think there's a lot of intangibles with Unified, and one of the amazing things about it is that it has ripple effects in the community”. He also emphasized that “when you start talking about inclusion, you start talking about embracing people’s differences…[it] allows you to see the beauty in other people that perhaps you wouldn’t interact with and that’s something the world needs more of”.

Town Council Corner: Finance Committee Budget Reviews

By Karin Shupe, Scarborough Town Council

One of the tasks of the Town Council Finance Committee is to take a detailed review of the proposed budget every year and recommend line item appropriation amendments. The Finance Committee this year is composed of Councilors Jon Anderson, Don Cushing, and myself. In the month of April, between meetings and roundtables, the Finance Committee members have spent approximately 20 hours meeting and making ourselves available to the public to discuss this year's proposed budget.  

Top of residents' minds this year is the revaluation. This certainly will play a role in some residents' taxes increasing. The Finance Committee is committed to working with the Town and School to keep this year's budget increase at a minimum to lighten the impact of this year's revaluations. What I struggle with as a councilor is, how do we do this when we are already not meeting the current needs of our residents? How can we keep up with growth and continue to provide the level of services residents demand and deserve?

In April, each department came before the Finance Committee to share their budget. Department Heads shared the needs of their department and the challenges they are facing. Each department is feeling the strain of our rapid growth but have done an excellent job managing the increasing needs. But how much longer can that continue?

Currently the Town has four union contracts under negotiation. This includes the Fire department, Police department, Dispatch, and Public Works department. Each of these departments has struggled with filling open positions. This is not a problem exclusive to Scarborough; other towns are experiencing the same difficulties finding police officers, firefighters, plow truck drivers, and dispatchers. While Scarborough has always had competitive wages for these positions, other towns are now being very aggressive with wage increases, creating a very different environment this year.


Some Town departments have gotten creative when it comes to meeting the demands of our growing town. This budget season, I learned the IT industry standard in a complex environment, such as our town, for the help desk to end-user ratio is 1:45. The ratio in Scarborough’s IT department, which manages all of the town department, including the School, has a ratio of 1:350. To be able to process the 4,500+ help desk requests the IT department receives annually they created a program at the high school recruiting students to assist at the help desk and also work toward receiving their A+ certification. And with our growing population the IT department is looking to expand this program to the middle school. 

The school department makes up —70% of our Town's budget. If you live in Scarborough it's hard to miss the recent headlines discussing the struggles our schools and other schools throughout the state are facing. With increasing enrollment and demanding student needs, the School does its best to provide the high level of education many residents move here for. One addition the school is asking for this year is a librarian to service the three primary schools and Wentworth school. There are 1,296 students between these four schools and my son is one of them. When I asked my son this week how often he goes to the library he told me he’s only been once in the last month! Don't you think our students deserve better?

We are fortunate enough to live in such a beautiful thriving town, but the secret is out. As our population increases we will continue to be faced with tough decisions every budget season.  

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.


Scarborough Public Library: Upcoming Programs

Lunch & Learn: Employee Retention Strategies

Thursday, May 2



Join Betsy St. Pierre and Wendy Glaude from Town & Country Federal Credit Union for a Lunch & Learn session about attracting, hiring, and retaining employees. This program is part of Small Business Week with the Scarborough Chamber of Commerce. Lunch will be provided by Town & Country Federal Credit Union. Please register to reserve your seat.

Depression: Moving from Darkness to Light

Thursday, May 2



Author Emmy Kavanagh discusses her new book of poetry and photos. She says, "Depression…..I have experienced and battled it for most of my life. I have fought hard, done many things, talked to countless Doctors and prayed many nights to overcome this disease. This book is a written and pictorial look into my journey of moving from Darkness to Light. The writings in this book are the real thoughts and feelings that lived inside of me during my struggle. If just one person finds strength and hope from this book, all of my suffering will have been worth it."

Pelvic Health: For People in Pregnancy, Post-Partum, Perimenopause, or Menopausal Stages of Life

Tuesday, May 7



Join this program led by Jessica Clark, PT and pelvic floor specialist from Hurt&Co Physical Therapy in Scarborough. Gain the confidence, comfort and control that comes from a healthy pelvic floor! Take a moment to learn about common issues related to pelvic floor muscles, like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and more, as well as how these muscles function to help your body. Leave with a better idea of healthy habits for pelvic health and a better understanding of what can help when things are not going well. Jessica will be talking about pelvic floor basics and available for questions.

Charity Lunch at Nonesuch River Brewing: Come have lunch at Nonesuch River Brewing to support Scarborough Public Library! Wednesday, May 8 from 11:30am-4:00pm.

Author Talk: Debra Spark

Thursday, May 9



Debra Spark has published six books of fiction, two collections of essays about fiction writing, and two anthologies, the most recent to raise money for a hunger organization. Her novels and short stories have variously addressed romantic love, marriage, the mysteries of identity, art and deception, and contemporary anti-Semitism. Her most recent novel, Discipline, uses a narrative line about three stolen paintings to explore the haves and have nots of Maine, where she now lives. 


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

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