Track and turf: Real need, but wrong price

Even though I am fully convinced that the track and artificial turf field at the High School need to be replaced, I am voting NO on the $1.9 million bond issue for the project. Why? Because the School Department’s own calculation strongly suggests that that price is overstated by more than $400,000.

Remember that voters turned down this very same project just two years ago. At the time, a bidding process produced a low bid of $1.6 million. But that project cost was reduced to $1.2 million through negotiation with the vendors. It was that reduced price tag that voters soundly rejected in the referendum.

The $1.9 million bond issue now before voters was calculated simply by taking the $1.6 million low bid, inflating it by 8% as an allowance for increased construction costs and adding a 10% contingency allowance.

The fatal flaw in this calculation is the starting point. The low bid $1.6 million project cost had been successfully negotiated down to $1.2 million. And that’s the amount that should have been the starting point for the calculation since presumably that was the real project cost two years ago. Starting with a real project cost of $1.2 million and increasing it by the same construction cost increase rate and contingency allowance produces an updated project cost of about $1,426,000. Using the School Department’s own assumptions, that’s the project cost we should be voting on – and it’s $474,000 less than we’re being asked to approve in the referendum.

(Please don’t be taken in if you are told “if the bids come in lower than $1.9 million, we’ll only spend the lower amount.” That would violate a cardinal rule of government spending at every level: “if you get it, spend it all.” If $1.9 million is approved, rest assured it will all be spent.)

In summary, this project went from a cost of $1.2 million to $1.9 million – a 58% increase – in two years with no plausible explanation.

Voting NO on the $1.9 million inflated price tag will allow the School Department to solicit competitive bids from vendors, negotiate the most favorable price for a well-defined project and bring a financially sound proposal back to the voters next June. That process will allow the Town to get the needed track and turf field while at the same time assuring that taxpayers get the best pricing possible.

Steve Hanly

Voters need to support field bond

To the editor,

As a member of Scarborough’s Community Services Advisory Committee, I have heard firsthand, of the extensive effort put forth by the town to extend the useful life of the High School Track and Turf Field. Unfortunately, the conditions of both are such that even the best maintenance strategies cannot ensure continued safe use. These facilities are used by people of all ages, for organized sporting events and individual exercise.

The recent pandemic has revealed the importance of health and well-being. Investing in community assets that make physical fitness safe and accessible makes a lot of sense. I hope you will join me in supporting he bond to renovate the turf field and track.

Patricia Brigham

Bless the unexpected

To the editor,

Two weeks ago, Senator Stacy Brenner opined about the new Texas heartbeat law, which protects the rights of the unborn child. She stated her two abortions gave her the ability to run a thriving business and serve her community in the legislature. She’s overlooked blessings that come from the unexpected, and painted unplanned children as an inconvenience. This is very sad. I count my blessings every day for the life of my husband, given up for adoption at birth, grateful his birth mother chose life for him. Ironically that edition, promoted Adopt a Shelter Dog Month on the front page.

Maine should pay attention to the unborn. Maine is the oldest state in the country with a median age of 45. Maine is one of only four states that has more deaths/year than births. And Maine aborts 2013 babies/year – that’s 5.5 unborn, voiceless, innocent lives/day. Maine goes to great lengths to protect the piping plovers, the nesting falcons, our fisheries, oceans and woodlands – so essential are these populations that state and federal dollars fund their viability. Yet, our declining human population, and the viability of the unborn child are cast aside and deemed non-essential. This should horrify all of us.

Abortion not only stops a beating heart, it breaks a woman’s heart. Thousands of post-abortive Maine women suffer spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally from the lies of the abortion industry. Abortion is not “women’s reproductive healthcare.” There’s nothing reproductive about it. Women finding themselves in unplanned pregnancies do have choices. Adoption is an option. There are unexpected joys in motherhood as well.

Karen Vachon

Vote Jenna Leong for School Board

To the editor,

On November 2, I will be voting for Jenna Leong for Scarborough School Board.

I appreciate that Jenna has teaching experience and a fresh perspective.

I’d like our next school board to prioritize overcoming pandemic learning loss and the social/emotional development needs of our students.

I support her goal to refocus attention on child development with input from families in the decision making process.

Matt Pine

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