Letter: Why the rush for Scarborough Downs TIF?

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I have spent many hours lamenting the fact that Scarborough simply does not have a viable downtown. If someone were to build a downtown, I would gladly trust the Risbara Bros. to do the work. But that’s not the point.

The town recently held its first public workshop regarding the development of Scarborough Downs. In order for the development to be fully realized, the developers are asking for a “Downtown TIF.” Boiled down, this would result in a portion of the property tax going to the developer, leading to a reduction in future revenue for the town. Whether this is a smart decision, or not, cannot be appropriately discussed and debated because the town and the developer have yet to agree on the terms of the contract.

But still, Town Manager Tom Hall, Town Council Chairman Bill Donovon, and company are pushing forward. They have set a deadline of Oct. 10 to make a final decision on whether to extend this special type of financing to the developer. So, once again, the town moves forward at breakneck speed while the residents plead with them to slow down.

Hall has called this a once-in-a-career chance. Although they desperately want to push this through before the complexion of the council changes, I would respectfully suggest a good career is not defined by community centers and competing with Portland. A good career is defined by how you serve the people of the town you were hired to manage, which may or may not include this deal.

Paul Johnson