Town should provide fiscal impact

To the editor,

I attended the Town Council’s 9/7/22 meeting, at which the $12.9M Library bond referendum was placed on the November ballot. During the meeting, the TC 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 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 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.”

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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
Scarborough

Frequent user voting No on current library expansion

To the editor,

I appreciate the Scarborough Public library and I am a frequent user. So I am saddened that I must vote no on the proposed expansion. Like many, if not most, residents, I do all my borrowing electronically. As a result, I have only physically visited the Library once in the 15 years I have lived here.

I understand that the Library may have some need for additional space and I would support an expansion – but not this expansion. Considering that the Scarborough Public Library has some of the lowest usage rates compared to most other towns in Maine, in my view, expanding the Library to 35,000 square feet is unnecessary and extravagant. The expanded Library would be almost three times its current size and more than 9,000 square feet larger than Scarborough Town Hall.

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I am disappointed that the Library has chosen to be so unrestrained with this expansion, and I truly regret that I have to vote no on it.

Brian Kanode
Scarborough

Vote yes for library expansion

To the editor,

Susan Hammill wrote in the Sept. 16 edition regarding the town library expansion. She got the facts wrong, not only about the library but about what Scarborough is as a town.

Ms. Hammill wants to compare Scarborough to smaller towns in the area, probably like Kennebunk or Falmouth. These towns all enjoy libraries with much more space per resident than our current library, and in some cases – like Cape Elizabeth – with larger libraries on an absolute basis. These libraries all serve as centrepieces for community life and as anchors for both children’s and adult education.

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Her bigger error, though, is her desire to ignore Maine’s cities from her comparison. Surely she is aware that Scarborough is the largest town in the state, and that it is larger than all but five or six of Maine’s cities based on Census Department estimates for 2022 which places our population at close to 23,000. And because it is such a great place to live, that growth isn’t going to reverse any time soon.

Thinking that we can continue to resource for the town’s population in 1991, and look to Hollis or Buxton as “comparable” towns, is simply ridiculous. I have no doubt that the town’s voters – nearly all of which use the library and can see the inadequacy of the current space – will see through her poor use of statistics and false comparisons, and vote Yes for the library.

Peter Freilinger
Scarborough

To the editor,

This is in response to Susan Hamill’s letter in which she gives all the dimensions of libraries throughout the state of Maine. Too bad she failed to give the statistics on what ignorance in the state of Maine would look like without a good library system. The public library presently coordinates its efforts with the school libraries to assist students with advanced technology and research materials. It is bursting at the seams and Scarborough is going from a large town to a small city, we need to expand our facilities to reflect that. Please vote yes on the bond issue.

Tom DiPasqua
Scarborough