SCARBOROUGH — Discussion about appropriate use for the town’s School Impact Fee during the Scarborough Finance Committee’s Feb. 26 meeting revolved around the Eight Corners modular project.

In April of 2019, the Town Council approved $260,000 to be used for the project, which provided new portable classroom space to accommodate for class sizes, according to a document Town Manager Tom Hall provided to the committee. The project has since gone over budget by about $50,000.

Councilor and Finance Committee Member John Cloutier said that he was concerned about using the School Impact Fee, an account that offsets the school development debt, for the project, as it might not be in line with the town’s Impact Fee Ordinance.

The ordinance states, “Impact fees collected pursuant to this ordinance shall be used exclusively for capital improvements, and shall not be used for operational expenses.”

“Trailers are personal property,” said Cloutier. “That’s where I have trouble trying to find funds for this purpose. The ordinance says you can only use fees for the projects that they’re collected for.”

Since 2001, the School Impact Fee has accumulated to $693,946, according to Hall.

“I feel fairly comfortable saying these are all qualified uses,” said Hall.

He added that if the town were using the funds to purchase a new fire truck, that would be a blatant misuse of the balance, but with approval from the town’s attorney, Hall thinks that the use would be approved.

Cloutier and Committee Chair and Town Councilor Peter Hayes agreed that the issue would need to go in front of the Ordinance Committee as well as the Town Council.

“I do feel that the request by the school’s for that particular project was a good use of these impact fees because a lot of the growth has been at that Eight Corners School,” said Committee Member and Councilor Betsy Gleysteen. “They needed them, and I agree with Mr. Hall that it meets the spirit, and I appreciate Mr. Cloutier saying that it may meet the spirit but it also needs to meet the letter that it’s allowed.”

Hall said that the town could learn from other communities and towns about impact fees, as Scarborough is the only one in the greater Portland area to have a School Impact Fee.

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