I can’t remember who said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. Goodness knows, I do not wish to write about death. I will, however, write about taxes — in particular, property taxes, the boogeyman for all of us who pay them.

Some folks think that the less taxes paid the better. Others speak of making sure the wealthy pay most of the tax. I think we all need to make sure we are each contributing towards the benefits that accrue to all of us. This levy must be equally applied according to valuation. In our case, as a municipality, the valuation is based on property owned. It is the ONLY taxation allowed to us by the state. It is the primary source of funding for all that we value in town — public safety, public works, and the education of our children being the primary focal points.

Personally, I am frustrated as heck by those who think reducing taxes is a good thing. Starting in 2013, when I was first elected to the Council, we were asking people to increase taxes by 7.0%. As a Council, we were making up for some prior minimal tax increases (1.59%, 0.0%) and poor planning on the part of some previous Councils. (Haigis Parkway comes to mind). It was a time of playing catch up and plugging holes. It was not a great time to be a decision maker in Scarborough.

Since 2013, the Town Council has worked diligently to stabilize taxes by keeping increases to as close to 3% as possible. We have been blessed by having members with financial backgrounds. Those councilors used their expertise to analyze data and use facts to assist all councilors develop budgets that have been the envy of neighboring municipalities. Scarborough has consistently been in the lowest quartile of mil rates in the county. (Median Maine >15 K population-2020 -19.95.- Scarborough -14,69) This has been a boon to Scarborough taxpayers, particularly as property values have skyrocketed.

Facts matter. The higher the total valuation of a town the better. The higher the commercial base of the town the better. It is up to the Town Council to keep putting forward budgets that balance providing quality services to our citizens and keeping taxes stable. I am proud of our work. I thank all the councilors with whom I have served over my terms for their hard work. We all win as taxpayers.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Scarborough Town Council.

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