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Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home: An ambitious & exciting year ahead!

By Jon Anderson, Town Council Chair

There is so much to look forward to in 2023! The Town Council will be approving our 2023 goals as part of our February 1 meeting. While we have set an ambitious agenda for the year, I have faith that this Council in partnership with our Town Manager, amazing Town Staff, dedicated Town Committee members and your support, can make it happen.

This year, the Council spent a lot of time thinking about the various areas we want to see progress. Areas we explored include:

  • Housing Choice and Homelessness
  • Sustainability, Conservation and Climate Change
  • Strategic Capital and Facilities Planning
  • Traffic & Transportation
  • Residential Growth Management
  • Financial Management
  • Public Engagement and Communications

This year we had the difficult challenge of addressing homelessness in Scarborough, particularly at the Comfort Inn. Unfortunately, homelessness is not going to go away anytime soon, so in 2023 we are looking to take a systematic approach to understand how we address the challenge here in Scarborough - assessing the scope of the problem and identifying solutions leaning heavily on regional, state and other agencies to provide resources and support to this state-wide epidemic. The Scarborough Housing Alliance will be critical in helping to advise us on the best approach.

Our forests, the marsh and our beaches are something we are all proud of and we need to do more to protect them. This year, we are looking to better understand how we can conserve more land in Scarborough and better incorporate sustainability and conservation principles into our planning and development process. I often hear concerns about the impact of growth and development on our natural resources. This year we are committed to several specific actions to tackle this with our Conservation Commission, Sustainability Committee and Planning Board.

This year we will be making progress on two major capital facility projects. The first and most important need is the system-wide school solution being developed by the School Building Committee. Our K-2 primary schools have been part of our community's character for over 65 years, however they are no longer meeting the needs of the community and a consolidated solution at a new TBD site is being proposed. You can learn more about the need at the School Project website. This will be the largest investment this community has ever seen, so I hope everyone will take the time to learn more over the coming months and participate in different community forums that will be held.  

We are also taking further action on a Community Center with an aquatics facility, establishing an ad hoc committee to advance site selection, design and develop cost estimates for the project. This is something that many have wanted in the community for a while and I’d like to see this become a reality in Scarborough.  

Traffic is one of the biggest concerns we hear about in the Town. This year, we will be conducting a Town-wide Transportation Study to better identify opportunities to increase mobility around Town. This will become the foundation for future traffic improvements needed to improve the flow of traffic in Scarborough, in addition to supporting other modes of transportation such as mass transit, walking, and biking around town. You can participate in Transportation Committee meetings to learn more as this advances. 

Residential Growth Management is always top of mind. We’ve spent too much time talking about the pace of growth and less time focused on necessary actions to manage the impacts of growth. While we plan to put together a rate of growth ordinance that provides greater predictability to growth, we also plan to review and update our zoning ordinance, particularly our impact fees. Impact fees ensure new developments cover their fair share of the impact of growth to a community so we can maintain the quality of life and services in Scarborough. As an example, traffic impact fees will help ensure that as the population grows, we have funds available for necessary infrastructure projects to absorb the new vehicles that will be introduced in town.  

The economic outlook in 2023 is still quite uncertain. This means we will need to be prudent in how we evaluate our investments and budget for 2023. Our Council Finance Committee is off to a great start and have set more refined budget goals for the Town this year to consider as budgets are evaluated and considered. Additionally, we will be reviewing and ensuring compliance with our Financial and Fiscal Policy with an eye for improvements that enhance our financial management in Scarborough.  

Lastly, the Council is committed to finding more and better ways to engage with you! We hope to see you at a future Councilor Corner Live or event where we can connect and work together to find solutions for the community's needs. You can view the details and specific actions of our goals in the Council Outlook session on the Town website after our February 1 meeting.

It’s time to go big or go home. If you have interest in any of these areas and would like to get involved to ensure its success - come to a Council Meeting, attend a town committee meeting, give the Council a call or send us an email.

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