SCARBOROUGH — Modular classrooms and a firetruck are among items to be funded by a $4.2 million municipal and capital improvements bond approved by the Scarborough Town Council on July 21.

The bond order will fund a variety of projects that were previously approved in voter referendums or by the Town Council. The projects span back from a variety of fiscal years, FY10, FY17, and FY19 through FY21.

To prevent bonding more than needed, the town, when able to, tries to complete projects beforehand, said Ruth Porter, finance director, during the council’s June 2 meeting.

“These are projects, some are little bit old, some not so much, but it’s items we have already approved either through a budget process or voter approval and we are now at a point where we have spent some of the funds, completed some of the projects, and so we need council action to approve a bond order, which is a little separate additional process that the state requires of us because we’re essentially going into debt.”

When the finance committee examined the bond order proposal during its July 14 meeting, John Cloutier, councilor and committee member, said that each year through the budget, the town authorizes a number of projects, each getting put into a queue.

“That doesn’t mean they’re actually going to happen in the next year,” he said. “They might happen over the next three-to-five years. They may never happen. Situations might change, but they sit in the queue until they’re either completed or we take them out … ”

Some of the projects are funded through the taxpayer, the town or other means, Cloutier said.

“(B)ut then we need to pay ourselves back or fund for future projects and that’s why we issue bonds,” he said.

This process is part of the town’s annual borrowing, said Town Manager Tom Hall on July 21.

“Essentially, what we’re coming forward with are projects that have already received certainly budget approval and through that process, we indicate what method of finance is,” he said. “Some items in the capital budget are appropriated. Many others are bonded or some other method of finance.”

A project included in the bond order is a new firetruck built for the town that voters had approved a bond for $660,000 in FY20, Hall said. The town received the engine earlier this year.

“That project budget approval was at $660,000,” he said. “Because of the nature of that item, it takes about 14 to 16 months to actually build. These are all custom-built from the tires-up, and we actually had a very big financial incentive for a prepayment upfront, and then there’s progress payments and a final payment. So for that project approved in FY20, this council gave us authority to bond $465,000 of that $660,000, and what’s before you this evening is that remainder, $186,760.”

Many capital projects are not completed during a fiscal period, Hall said.

“The nature of capital projects, many times, they don’t respect a fiscal year for all sorts of reasons, the scope and the magnitude of project, other external factors causing delays, and so it’s not surprising that we are looking back to prior budget authorizations and then finally doing a project at some later date, much later in some cases,” he said. “In almost all parts of this proposal, these are projects or items that we’ve actually already bought and paid for, and so we’re looking to reimburse the town.”

The total for the bond order was $4.2 million, but the town is bonding $4.3 million in total due to a previous bond order of $54,000 being approved in 2017, said the town council’s meeting information.

In addition to the firetruck, other items to be paid for through the bond order include modular classrooms for the primary schools, the purchase of new school busses and a plow truck.

Hall said the town of Scarborough will work with bond agencies and go to market in late August or early September.

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