Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth end shared assessor arrangement

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough are each looking to hire full-time tax assessors after sharing the service for more than a year.

The towns shared Matt Sturgis’ services before he was hired as Cape Elizabeth’s new town manager last month.

Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough agreed to share a tax assessor in April 2015. Following the collaboration, Sturgis, who worked for Cape Elizabeth first, spent 60 percent of his time in Cape Elizabeth and the remaining 40 percent in Scarborough.

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council met Feb. 15 for a workshop to discuss the hiring process for a new tax assessor, and Scarborough is already midway through the process.

Scarborough Town Manager Tom Hall said the town has “agreed to go its own way.”

The application window for the Scarborough position closed Sunday, and Hall said the town received five applicants.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised,” he said. “Assessors, particularly good ones, are hard to find.”

Hall said he’s been reviewing the applications and will begin interviewing candidates next week. He said he expects the Town Council to appoint someone by April 5.

Sharing the service is still a possibility, Hall said.

“I haven’t ruled that option out,” he said. “I’m still open to a conversation.”

Sturgis agreed, and said it could be possible in the future, although for now Cape Elizabeth is planning to hire its own full-time assessor. 

“We’d be open to sharing if the opportunity arises,” Sturgis said.

Hall and Sturgis said they’ve also explored the possibility of contracting with Cumberland County for assessing needs.

After Sturgis was hired as the Cape Elizabeth town manager, Hall said Sturgis told him that Scarborough would benefit from the attention a full-time assessor would provide. Sturgis on Wednesday said Cape Elizabeth could also use someone who could dedicate all of their time to the job.

Sturgis said the Cape Elizabeth Town Council will finalize the job posting for the position next week, and hopes to have the council appoint someone by the end of April.

Sharing a tax assessor saved both towns money; Cape Elizabeth saved $34,000 and Scarborough saved $50,000. Consequently, Sturgis said the fiscal year 2018 budget will see an increase in the assessing department allocation.

“We won’t be saving the full $34,000,” he said. “We’ll definitely be spending more in the upcoming budget.”

The agreement to share a tax assessor two years ago led to other shared services between Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough that are still in effect.

In June 2015 the towns agreed to share school food services, and in March 2016 they began sharing a harbormaster.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.


I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.