Scarborough voters must weigh $1M in bonds

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SCARBOROUGH — Two referendum questions on the Nov. 4 ballot will ask voters to approve over $1 million in bonds.

Residents will be asked to authorize borrowing up to $585,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck, and approximately $439,500 to conduct a town-wide property revaluation.

The Town Council approved both initiatives for inclusion on the ballot in early September. Purchases that cost over $400,000 require voter approval per the Town Charter, according to Finance Director Ruth Porter.

The $585,000 will be used to replace Engine 3, which is kept at the Pleasant Hill Fire Station and has served the town for 25 years. According to the sample ballot financial breakdown, with an estimated interest rate of 3.5 percent, the total debt service for the truck will amount to $718,000.

According to Porter, Fire Chief Mike Thurlow said that “the cost of new vehicles has increased significantly, in part due to the new federal emission standards,” which are “requiring the vendors to revamp the exhaust and engine systems.”

The revaluation would consist of the inspection of all properties and the updating of land and building assessments.

“This allows the community to ensure that the assessments on the land and buildings are as close to market as possible,” Porter said.  

The last revaluation of the town, which Porter said was not a full revaluation, was conducted in 2005. The state recommends that revaluations be performed at least once every 10 years, Porter said.

“It is important to audit our inventory and to maintain equity across the community,” Porter said.

The updated town values would take effect in 2016. 

Lily O’Gara can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or logara@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @lilyog28.

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