The Scarborough Town Council is in the process of declaring an emergency. Have we experienced a flood? Has the Public Works building burned down? No, fortunately neither has occurred. What has happened is the refueling facility (gas station) for town and school trucks and buses needs replacing. Is it leaking gas and diesel into the Marsh? No.
A plan to replace it has been in the works for several years. It was approved by the council in last year’s budget. Contracts for equipment and installation have been signed. Work is to begin in May. The “emergency” is that the $687,000 cost is included in debt to be issued in May and the Town Charter requires voter approval for debt over $400,000. For the purpose of denying the public’s right to vote on June 13, the council is in the process of declaring this expenditure an emergency and exempt from a public vote. Their stated reason for declaring an emergency? Replacement is required by the state.
This reasoning does not pass the straight-face test. Some in town government have stated the Town Charter is “antiquated” and others have said this may be too complicated for the public to understand. I think we all know what’s an emergency and what is not. Contact the Town Council or Town Manager and ask them why they are not following the law. Attend the council meeting on May 3. Speak up and ask them why.