I attended the Scarborough Town Council’s Sept. 7 meeting, at which the $12.9 million library bond referendum was placed on the November ballot. During the meeting, the Town Council Chair and Town Manager illustrated a lack of concern for their responsibility to taxpayers and an utter disregard of town fiscal policies.The Council’s Finance Committee chair asked, “When concerned constituents email the council and say, ‘can you tell me the impact to my tax bill,’ whose responsibility is it to have done that calculation and to answer to that constituent?”Council Chair (John) Cloutier answered, “It’s the voters’ responsibility to make sure they’re informed to make a decision. From my perspective, the only thing they need to be informed about is whether they want to expand the library or not.”Town Manager (Tom) Hall responded, “In any event, I don’t see it being my primary responsibility to educate, certainly on this matter.” And, he added, “I would expect the library trustees and staff will be interested in preparing all sorts of collateral information, for which, myself and staff I suspect will be involved to help supply factual information.”If the Town Council is not elected to provide, by their hiring the town manager and his/her hiring of appropriate staff, the necessary financial information to the town’s residents for the latter to make educated decisions about the costs to them of proposed referendums, what are they elected to do? Where’s the accountability? And, in its absence, how can there be public trust?

Debbie Gates

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