No means no

To the editor,

The referendum for a consolidated school at a cost of $160 million was soundly defeated on Tuesday when almost 2/3 of the voters said no. The Town Council held a meeting last night to discuss expanding the TIF areas, possibly re-zoning areas requested by Crossroads as part of the School Project, and obligations the Town has under the Land Purchase Agreement. In a workshop, they decided they should table items about the TIF and zoning questions until their next meeting.

Under obligations, they discussed the fact that they have to begin paying Crossroads $25,000 per month beginning Dec. 1, and continue paying them monthly until Dec. 31, 2024 or until the land is actually purchased. That is $325,000 in “good faith” money for a deal that the taxpayers said NO to. The Council feels that Scarborough is running out of land and they should hold onto it in case the voters change their mind about the school, or a community center, or library expansion.

Council member Don Hamill made it clear that the vote simply said there is no money for this project. Impact fees can apparently cover these payments. I wonder how many people are aware that a resounding rejection of this proposal seems to have not sunk into the collective mind of the Council, except for Don Hamill and Nick McKee who want to find out the reasons the voters said NO.

Next week’s meeting and future meetings should be attended by as many people as possible.


Jack Fay

To the editor,

Since 65% of the turnout voted “No” to the school project, there obviously were many things wrong with the council’s proposal. The council and its partisan manager can hardly view this result as a mandate to cook up another sweetheart deal for the Downs. A number of factors should be looked at.

An honest study without preordained bias should be done to examine a program to keep the town’s geographic integrity and improve the schools where they now are. Many voters favor this, if not in fact a majority, especially if it can be done economically.

John Scully

Down’s Tax Impact Clarification


To the editor,

Recently it was reported taxpayers avoided a 1.7% tax increase over time the past 5 years, resulting in a home valued at $400,000 avoiding an additional estimated $528. Many figures were being presented by the Town in the Downs Annual CEA update. I requested the Town try to articulate a metric to aid taxpayers in understanding what those numbers mean to their taxes. This metric states how much higher tax bills could have increased if this new source of taxable value was spread out among other property owners in Scarborough if the Down’s properties were removed from taxation. It kept the tax levy of our budgets the same.

This estimate only considers the new taxable value collected from the new Down’s properties and is not stating the total net impact to a taxpayer for the Down’s Project. It does not include costs such as CEA payments to the developer or the cost to serve the new development. It also excludes new excise tax revenues collected, impact fees collected, tax shift benefit from being located in a Tax increment financing district, and any tax benefits resulting from shifting our tax base to more commercial.

Calculating a precise net impact of the development on an individual taxpayer is complex. The Town plans to refine our modeling for future estimations and will make assumptions readily available so the information being conveyed is clear. Public input is always welcome!

The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the position of the Town Council.

Jon Anderson
Town Council member

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