SCARBOROUGH — Officials say three bond proposals totaling $4.4 million may cost a lot upfront, but will benefit residents in the long term.

If approved at the Nov. 5 referendum, $2.5 million would go to the Scarborough Land Trust reserve fund, $1.2 million would be used to repair the turf field at the high school and $660,000 would replace a 31-year-old Fire Department pumper truck.

The land trust fund, which has a balance of just $270, was effectively emptied July 10 for the Blue Point Preserve Campaign, a conservation project to make land available for walking trails and access to the Scarborough Marsh. Councilors voted 5-2 to send the bond to voters.

Trust Executive Director Richard Bard said it’s the first time since 2000 that the town is without a source of funding for land preservation projects, so it’s important that money is made available if and when it is needed.

“Scarborough is one of the fastest-growing towns in this state and it’s important for the town to have funds to move quickly when an important piece of land comes for sale,” he said in an interview Oct. 15. “We don’t want to preserve everything, but want to preserve certain pieces that really matter.”

Including interest paid over the life of the proposed 20-year bond, estimated at just less than $569,375, debt service for the land trust fund could reach almost $1.6 million.

According to Rick Shinay, trust president, it took 18 years for the land trust to spend $5 million previously awarded to them through a referendum. Since 2004, the land trust has spent just over $3.4 million to acquire 725 acres of land. The July 17 Blue Point purchase adds to six public access preserves in town.

Director of Community Services Tom Souza asked the council Sept. 4 for $1.2 million to renovate the turf field at Scarborough High School. The field, already in need of repairs, was vandalized July 2 by a truck that caused almost $22,000 in damage.

The council approved the $1.2 million bond question 5-2.

On Aug. 27, councilors turned down his request for $1.6 million, $600,000 more than what was designated in the town budget. Souza said the initial estimate of $1 million to fix the field was inadequate, and several vendors had higher estimates after inspecting the site. He said FieldTurf USA submitted the winning proposal, although a contract hasn’t been finalized.

The timeline of the project, if approved, would depend on how much base work needs to be completed, Souza said. However, he explained, the work could take up to four months to complete, which would displace programs during the renovation. It’s more cost-effective, he said, to complete all the work at the same time.

“There’s been a growing safety concern due to repairs in the turf and the track surfacing, which is why it costs what it does,” Souza said. “We’re starting to get peeling, cracking and growth of organic matter and it needs some serious maintenance that shouldn’t be put off any longer.”

Including interest paid over the life of the proposed 15-year bond for the pumper truck purchase, estimated at just less than $283,250, debt service may reach almost $943,2500 if approved at the polls.

The council vote on the fire truck bond was unanimous.

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