Message to town leadership: Keep beaches open for residents

As a resident and taxpayer in Scarborough, I’m reaching out wondering the plan as summer approaches. I’m growing increasingly frustrated and scared as I see our town covered with out of state plates.

Mainers, such as myself, have sacrificed — as have all of you — to keep our communities healthy and cases at a minimum. But, as we enter the summer months — I worry that all of our sacrifice will be lost without some sound strategy by you — our town leadership. It is frustrating to see Higgins overrun by out-of-state plates — with nowhere to park, and no escape for our family. We pay taxes here, we send our kids to school here, we build a community here. It’s frustrating that Western Beach is closed — when it is easy to limit the number of cars that enter — we do it every summer.

I respect all of the work and decisions you have to make. It’s a difficult job. And, I’m glad that someone is willing to do it. That said, I’m worried that it’s less than two weeks before Memorial Day — and there is no plan for the summer. I’m worried that my family’s health and safety is not being prioritized. I’m saddened that ocean access is determined by your wealth and status in this community.

So, I must ask: what is the plan? It is not enough to say that you’ll follow the guidance of the State — are they going to determine how many people can park in the town lots? Or how many beach passes are distributed?

So — I suggest:
1.) All Scarborough residents get access to a beach pass. If you have a car registration in the town of Scarborough — you get a pass (with a fee).
2.) Beach passes for Maine residents are limited — and only for the season.
3.) Out-of-state registrations — no beach pass. Sorry — see you next year.
4.) Open the lots to half capacity now. If you have a beach pass — come on in.
5.) No cash transactions at the beaches.

I understand these decisions are hard. But, you need to understand that taxpayers and year round residents should be prioritized. Our safety and peace-of-mind should be your number 1 priority.

Andrew Kain

Letter to Scarborough Town Council and Scarborough Board of Education: Bring budget with no tax rate increase

I have lived in Scarborough for 41 years and have paid taxes, the bulk of which go to support the schools, for far longer than the 17 year span that my sons attended. I have supported the schools and teachers, in spite of the budgeting game that the BOE plays each year because I think that we have generally gotten a good result for the town and its students.

But times have changed in the blink of an eye, and I think that it is imperative that the BOE and teachers acknowledge this and work within the constraints that have been imposed on citizens of the town. To seek a pay and benefit increase during a period in which many of the people paying for that increase are retired, unemployed or underemployed, is insane. Relative to another post, the notion that benefits do not work into the total value of a teacher’s compensation is equally stupid. If you don’t think that is the case, ask someone who doesn’t have benefits equal to those of a teacher what they would be worth to them.

For me, it has come down to a simple requirement. The Town Council and Board of Education owe the taxpayers of Scarborough a budget with a 0 (that’s a ZERO) mil rate increase. That doesn’t necessarily mean that budgets won’t increase. But it does mean that after last year’s revaluation, in which everyone I know saw a tax increase in spite of the mil rate reduction, any increase won’t come from the pocket of existing residents.

I intend to vote NO for any budget that doesn’t meet that requirement. As much as it kills me to say it, if the teachers are unwilling to freeze their pay and benefits and work with the BOE and Town to deliver a budget with a zero mil rate increase, there needs to be a reduction in the teaching, administrative and support staffs, programs, and other expenses, to offset the increase.

Many businesses and residents (read taxpayers) have been forced to reduce expenses in light of reduced or non-existent revenues. The schools should be no different. The fact that school revenues are generated in large part from the unlimited power of taxation shouldn’t make them immune from having to face the real world every once in a while.

I don’t take a thing away from our teachers and their contribution to our students and community, but that can be said about a lot of things. It doesn’t mean they are unappreciated, undervalued, or anything else. But the days of the schools being a sacred cow, untouchable because it is all about the future of our children, have to end. The harsh reality of what we are facing demands it.

Additionally, even the consideration of a community center, expanded library or combined K-3 school, bonded projects or not, is so out of touch with reality that it is an embarrassment if they are still being discussed. Let’s be happy if we
can continue to make the payments on our current debt obligations, and save adding to the town’s debt load for another day.

Town Council and Board of Education do your job. Send to the voters a budget that reflects the world as it exists today, and the impact it has had on town residents. Unless you can find someone to loan against them, you can’t spend property tax liens.

Neal Gregoire

Support Anne Carney

To the editor,

I am writing in support of Anne Carney, candidate for Maine Senate District 29 (Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough, South Portland). Anne has represented Cape Elizabeth in the Maine House since 2018, distinguishing herself through her support for affordable health care and protecting the environment, while advocating for public education and promoting economic opportunity. She currently serves on the Labor and Housing Committee.

Anne will make an effective senator for District 29.

David D. Platt

Scarborough

Carney brings professionalism to her work

To the editor,

I encourage Scarborough Democrats in State Senate District 29 to vote for Anne Carney in the July 14 primary. Anne is presently serving in the Maine House of Representatives. Her efforts there demonstrate her dedication and commitment to the community she serves. She brings professionalism to her work as a lawyer and focuses on issues important to all of us. She is a strong advocate for promoting economic opportunities, protecting our environment, making health care affordable, and supporting quality public education.

We will be well served with Anne representing us in Augusta.

Bill Donovan

Scarborough

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