April 18, 2024

Budget Newsletter

It is budget season in the Town of Scarborough, and we want you to be a part of it. The proposed Fiscal Year 2025 municipal budget is outlined in a 344-page document, but we'll show you a few of the highlights here, along with resources to keep you involved. There are several ways to participate in the shaping of our town budget, from tuning into meetings to joining a Budget Roundtable discussion and emailing the Town Council. Be sure to follow along over the next couple of months as it continues to take shape.

We respect the responsibility that residents have placed with the Town Council and staff to be the stewards of your tax dollars and deliver high-quality public services. Read on for an insight into the process, budget details, and how to stay engaged over the next few months.


Municipal Budget at a Glance

Getting Started

On Wednesday, March 27, Town Manager Tom Hall and Superintendent Geoff Bruno presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget to the Town Council. This was the first time the Town Council viewed the budget, which was put together over months of preparation with individual town departments, Scarborough Schools, and the Board of Education. View the full presentation here.


Town Manager Tom Hall gives a brief introduction to how this budget was developed. Watch the 5-minute video to learn more. Click Here to view the full budget document, which gives a high-level summary followed by the detailed line items by department.

A "Level Services" Budget: Continuing What We Do Well

Given the current economic reality, this budget seeks mainly to provide “level services” with no request for additional staff or programs. A “level services” budget means we’re keeping what we have, with any new investments selectively limited to improvements that our community has requested, like sidewalks and road work. It invests in the services that residents expect, like police protection, ambulance services, the cleanliness of our streets, maintenance of public buildings and facilities, and more. This approach is intended to balance some of the factors that will affect us this budget year, with inflation, the town-wide revaluation, and changes to state funding. Read on for details on these factors.


Town Manager Tom Hall tells us more about the "level services" budget approach in this 2-minute video.

Factors Affecting Us this Budget Year

While the budget usually incorporates some level of advancing council objectives and newer investments, this year is limited because there are other factors that will affect the tax rate. It is a goal for the Council each year to maintain a relatively consistent tax rate for taxpayers, bearing in mind inflation as a predictable factor. Here are some factors outside of Town control that are expected to have an impact on tax bills:

Town-Wide Revaluation

The Assessing department is conducting a town-wide revaluation to ensure greater assessment equity for all of its taxpayers. A revaluation is the process of updating real property values to reflect their current market value (i.e., to maintain reasonable estimates of what each property could sell for on the open market).


→To remain in compliance with State law

→To ensure everyone is paying their fair share of property taxes (redistributing it)

Learn more

While revaluations, in a vacuum, are not universally impacted by the adjustments to property values, this year’s revaluation anticipates a shift of the tax burden from commercial to residential properties; residential home values appreciated in value at a higher rate than commercial properties. As a result, we expect property tax bills to increase by this effect alone, irrespective of any increase in the net budget.

Elimination of 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. With the elimination of this State program, these households will see tax bills reflecting last year’s budget increase as well as any increase that may result from budget decisions this year.

How We're Addressing Locally

Council increased the eligible benefit for the Scarborough Property Tax Assistance program from $750 to $1,000.

Council has changed the eligibility requirement (maximum Adjusted Gross Income) in an effort to make more Scarborough property tax payers and renters eligible. 

While not all property owners in the State program will be eligible for the local benefit, we expect this increase will effectively mitigate some of the impact to Scarborough’s most vulnerable seniors. 

Other Budget Drivers: What Influences the Total Budget Amount?

There are a number of drivers that affect the total budget amount. The Town of Scarborough anticipates a decrease in its total revenue from previous years, due to a few factors outside of our control. There will also be increased expenses both within local control and others an impact of factors at the State level.

Revenue Decreases (Less Being Received)

• State Revenue Sharing: Revenue sharing is distributed by the State of Maine to each municipality based on a formula. Variables include municipal populations, state valuations and tax assessments. Scarborough will receive a significantly reduced share for FY2025 ($394k). This is partially attributable to the effect of Scarborough's increase in municipal revaluation in the revenue sharing formula.

Homestead Reimbursement: The revaluation will also cause a reduction in the homestead exemption reimbursement ($395k). This is a result of the anticipated tax rate decrease following the completion of the property revaluation. 

Expense Increases (Spending More)

• Anticipated increases for General Assistance (providing residents with assistance for basic needs)

County Tax, anticipated to increase 4.7%

Paid Family Leave Law, a payroll tax intended to fund the State's new law

Solid waste removal, with tipping fee increases of $70k for solid waste and recycling

Other Expenses

Staff retention and Collective Bargaining Agreements

• Facility, infrastructure, and equipment

• Traffic & sidewalk improvements

Let's go into the details...

Investment Highlights: Maintaining What We Have

Staff Retention & Collective Bargaining Agreements

The Scarborough community has come to expect fundamental services like quick emergency response, snow removal, and police keeping our streets safe. Behind these services are people. The FY2025 budget is designed to invest in our most valuable commodity - our staff. Hear from our Police Chief, Fire Chief, and Public Works Director about the investments we're making in our staff to ensure that we maintain a high level of service for our community.


These three departments not only provide significant services to our community, but they are also the ones that face the biggest staffing challenges. They need to remain competitive with nearby agencies. For Police and Fire, staying fully staffed is critical in order to adequately handle the volume of calls they receive. The Police department has 10 retirement-eligible officers and are strategizing to be competitive in the job market when the need arises.

At Public Works, sufficient staffing is also a priority. Scarborough’s growth and nearly 50 miles of new public roads has heightened the demand, but staffing has remained static. Consequently, there has been a growing reliance on contracted work and seasonal employees to prevent service declines. There are also some long term vacancies that are posing a challenge as we manage our capacity to accomplish year-round work. Learn more

New Fire Engine

One of the larger capital investments included in the FY2025 budget is a replacement fire engine for $1,000,000. Each of our six neighborhood stations is equipped with a fire engine, and all of Scarborough’s fire engines are designed to respond to fire, rescue, and emergency medical calls. The purchase of a new fire engine would provide the community with a modern, highly maneuverable unit with updated safety and operational features, and replaces the 20-year old fire engine currently in front-line use. Due to the cost for the vehicle, if approved in the budget the request would be required to go to referendum for voter approval on the November ballot. Learn more

Facility Maintenance

Urgent repairs are needed at the Town Hall building, which is now over thirty years old. There are three air handling units that need to be replaced ($280k). All 16 units at Town Hall have outlived their projected lifespan, but the budget includes the three that have required the most attention. The new units would be relocated to the ground level, adding to the ease of service and repair, as well as reducing the cost of installation. The chillers also need to be replaced, as they've reached their life expectancy ($190k). These are repairs due to the general maintenance of an aging building.

Investment Highlights: New Additions

Environmental Project

"The Greening of Route 1" is a water quality project that has been years in the making. It is for the stretch of Route 1 from Milbrook Road to Scarborough Downs Road and proposes to retrofit an existing center median. The project is mainly intended to address the runoff that discharges into Mill Brook, a stream listed as threatened by the Maine DEP and that runs into the marsh. This is a highly traveled road surface with significant runoff that discharges untreated into Mill Brook. While addressing this, it will also revamp the area of Route 1 into a more aesthetically pleasing corridor.

Traffic Project

In a collaborative effort between the Town, Maine Department of Transportation, and the Downs developers, the Town has included in its budget the funding for a Payne Road upgrade. The project is to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Payne Road and Mussey Road, an area frequently noted for this opportunity to improve traffic flow and driver safety. It is anticipated to begin in the 2025 construction season under the Scarborough Downs Development offsite improvement project.

Sidewalk Rehabilitation

The Town of Scarborough has approximately 50 miles of sidewalk. A majority of these sidewalks

were constructed in the 1990s and are in need of repairs or upgrades, which will also address accessibility improvements. The Town conducted a survey in 2021 that indicated the condition of the sidewalks throughout the town was a concern amongst the residents of Scarborough. This will be Year 3 of a ten-year plan to make improvements to the conditions of the sidewalks.

Police Body & Cruiser Cameras

The police department is requesting nearly $1,000,000 for a lease agreement for cruiser and body worn video and audio recording equipment. The equipment will be used by sworn officers to record certain interactions while on duty. The cameras would bring the Scarborough Police department up to industry standards; Scarborough is one of only a few departments in Southern Maine who do not possess either camera system. The camera implementation will be used for risk management and officer safety, courtroom proceedings, increased transparency, employee performance, evaluations and training. An investment of this amount would require voter approval in the November election. Read more

Budget Review & Next Steps

After first reading, the Finance Committee completes a comprehensive, department-by-department review of the proposed budget throughout the months of April and May. Community engagement is highly encouraged at our committee meetings. View meeting schedule (dates subject to change).

Links to participate in Finance Committee Budget Review meetings are available on the Town Calendar a few days prior to each meeting.

Town Council Budget Meetings

  • Wednesday, May 1: Joint Town Council/School Board budget workshop and first reading
  • Wednesday, May 15: Town Council second reading and adoption
  • Tuesday, June 11: School budget validation vote

Election Day is June 11, 2024

Election Day is Tuesday, June 11, 2024 and includes the School Budget Validation Referendum Election. 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 stop into the Clerk's office at Town Hall. Ballots will be mailed to you when they become available. All absentee ballots must be received no later than 8:00pm on Election Day. For further information on Absentee Voting and Voter Registration, contact the Scarborough Town Clerk's Office at 730‑4020.

Stay Engaged

Attend a Budget Roundtable

The Finance Committee relies on sentiment from the full Council to guide their work. We also invite and encourage resident participation by attending meetings and an upcoming Budget Roundtable discussion:

Saturday, April 20, 10:00-11:00am (Public Safety Building)

Monday, April 22, 5:00-6:00pm (Council Chambers at Town Hall)

Wednesday, April 24, 5:00-6:00pm (Council Chambers at Town Hall)

The Town Council and Board of Education want to talk with you at a budget roundtable! Watch their video plug.

Submit a Question

The budget document is actively being reviewed. Now that you've read about the "level services" approach, highlighted investments, and some unique factors we face in the coming budget year, do you have any questions? We have a new form to collect any questions to pass along to staff and councilors. You can also give feedback to the Council at towncouncil@scarboroughmaine.org.


Scarborough School Budget

A Message from Superintendent Geoff Bruno

Thank you for your continued involvement and investment in our schools! I continue to be struck by the resilience of our kids, families, and staff as we work to collectively strengthen our school community, deepen a sense of connection to one another, and cultivate a shared vision for the future. Our Board of Education, leadership team, and staff continue to refine and shape our shared vision of continually strengthening our learning organization and impacting the development of all our learners K-12. The Scarborough Schools mission is to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment where each and every student is empowered to be a resilient, lifelong learner who is prepared to engage as a contributing member of society. 

Building Resiliency & Strategic Goals

We will continue to develop the unique abilities and interests of all our students through continued focus on our strategic plan and Board of Education goals. This includes:

  • Strengthening an inclusive environment and a sense of belonging in our classrooms and schools among all our students and families.
  • Building a strong academic foundation at all phase levels. 
  • Meeting the individual learning needs of all students through embedding an effective multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). 
  • Incorporating social emotional learning through all developmental stages by implementing aligned curricula, providing aligned staff professional development, meeting the social and emotional needs of our students in proactive ways, responding to those and recognizing the importance of social and emotional health to overall well-being and success in school.
  • Collaborating with town leadership, the Board of Education, and Town Council to meet our facilities needs through an active investigation into a K-8 strategic building project.

Fiscally Responsible Budget Proposal

Our Leadership Council meets regularly, starting in December, to put together a fiscally responsible budget proposal with the positions and programs necessary to provide improved instructional support, strengthen student learning, and enhance social emotional learning to foster whole-child wellness. With respect to expenditures for next fiscal year, we are projecting a total net General Fund expenditure increase of 4.67% that includes new position and programming requests, maintains current staffing & services, meets contractual staff compensation obligations, addresses projected insurance cost increases, and ensures effective operation of our schools given current and projected enrollment. I encourage the public to head to our website and find our proposed FY25 budget documents that will outline our priorities and specific requests needed to best educate all our students in Scarborough. We have diligently weighed building and district-wide priorities to craft a budget that puts the needs of our students, faculty, and community first, respects the fiscal challenges we continue to face responsibly, and invests in the resources necessary to continuously improve learning for all. We look forward to the Board of Education’s review and ask for the community’s support. 

Geoff Bruno

Superintendent of Schools


The School Budget Validation Referendum Election will be held on Tuesday, June 11. Vote in-person at the High School or request your absentee ballot. Details here.

The outcome of this year’s Leadership Council budget development process is a proposal that we believe will address the critical needs of our district while acknowledging the capacity of our community to provide the necessary resources. 

The FY25 school operating budget reduces FY24 funding:

  • $366,000 for personnel turnover & reallocation of positions
  • $355,000 for debt service payments
  • $34,000 for vehicle fuel due to new contract pricing
  • $15,000 for software subscriptions in Curriculum and Health Services
  • $92,000 in multiple line items per Leadership Council review

The FY25 school operating budget proposes added funding to:

  • Meet the needs of incoming Special Education students - 11.0 additional Special Services Ed Tech 3 positions
  • Maintain targeted class sizes for optimum learning - 1.0 Teacher position at Wentworth
  • Enhance K-5 Learning Commons services - 1.0 Librarian position at K-2 (currently shared K-5)
  • Support inclusivity with adaptive communication strategies - 0.5 AAC/Assistive Technology Specialist position K-12
  • Increase early intervention for Kindergarten students - 2.0 Student Support Teacher positions at Eight Corners & Pleasant Hill
  • Provide specialized academic support & address learning gaps - 1.0 Special Education Reading Teacher position at Wentworth; 1.0 Bridge/WIN Teacher position at Wentworth; 0.3 Student Support Lead Teacher at Middle School
  • Expand opportunities for student enrichment - 0.25 Chorus Teacher at Middle School; Develop E-Sports Team at High School

Follow Along & Stay Connected

There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in the budget review process. Here are some of the ways you can stay connected this spring:

Town E-Newsletter: We'll continue to keep you informed in our twice monthly newsletters.

Website: Visit the budget materials made accessible from our website homepage.

Attend Public Meetings: All accessible virtually; find links on the website Town


Attend a Budget Roundtable: Your Town Councilors and School Board members want to hear from you.

Share Your Feedback: Email the Town Council at towncouncil@scarboroughmaine.org to express your questions or concerns.


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