For Town Council, Please vote for Mike Turek and Liam Somers for a balanced approach to town government!
To all my fellow citizens of Scarborough,
I have a different take on this year’s 2015 election for the Scarborough Town Council. I believe that this election is actually our first vote for next year’s budget, and we must be vigilant and careful as to whom we elect as the steward of our money.
It is no secret that the way that the current Town Council is comprised, that they have abdicated its fiduciary responsibility and avoided taking the utmost care of our tax dollars. Since Tom Hall has become the Town Manager, the Town Council, along with his guidance, and their blessing, has enabled them to more than double Scarborough’s debt which now stands at close to $ 100-millon; and within the next year or two, the Town will be looking to add another $20-30 million dollars in debt as it seeks your approval for a new public safety building and an upgrade to the primary and middle schools.
We, the citizens of Scarborough, need responsible leadership and a conservative approach to fiscal responsibility, and there is only one candidate running for office who fits that bill…. MIKE TUREK.
Mike is the independent voice that this town needs. He has no ties to any town sponsored organization, and he is not predisposed to any particular group or special interest group. He is the voice that this town needs as a guardian of our financial future, and the man you can count on to try and utilize our tax dollars wisely.
I urge you to vote for MIKE TUREK for Scarborough Town Council.
Two questions keep coming up in ‘listening sessions’ I have with people in town: “What would you do as a Councilor to change the contentious way we handle the school budget every year?” And, “ What would you do to stabilize the real estate taxes in Scarborough?” The two questions are linked by a three-pronged, common solution.
- We should change our fiscal year to match the State of Maine fiscal year, or on to three months thereafter.
- We should go to a two year budget cycle like the State of Maine.
- We should limit our municipal and school budget increases to 3% per year.
Changing our fiscal year to match the State of Maine fiscal year, or three months thereafter takes the guess work out of our budget formation process. Every year I hear of our proposed budget in terms of what the State might provide in general purpose aid. That question goes away if we have our fiscal year after the State’s.
Going to a two year budget cycle has huge benefits. It cuts the annual fight over the school budget in half. It allows the Town Manager and School Superintendent to make longer range plans than one 12-month period. They can spend more time managing their respective areas, and less time creating and fighting for a budget.
Limiting our municipal and school budgets to 3% per year will stabilize our tax rate. It will give the Town Manager and School Superintendent a number with which they can work without attempting to guess what the citizens may be willing to accept each year. Limiting the budgets will in turn stabilize the mil rate near 3% increases. Limiting the budgets will allow us to pay down our $100 million debt while putting money into our fund balance for future ‘emergency’ needs like the new fire truck last year.
Thank you for considering me as a candidate for Town Council.
An open letter to all Scarborough voters.
I am Michael Turek; and I am running for a seat on the Scarborough Town Council. My vision is of a Scarborough that enjoys sustainable, affordable growth. My priorities are:
–A quality education system that meets State standards while preparing future generations of Scarborough residents.
–Grow business investment. More businesses would provide more tax money to the town and relieve some of the burden off home owners.
–Reasonable taxes. If we limit our budget increases to 3% or less, we can grow our town and schools without huge tax increases each year.
–Decrease the town and school debt so more money is spent on services and education and less on servicing the debt.
If you watched the candidate’s night on Channel 3 Wednesday, 30 September 2015, you would see the distinct difference between my views and the other candidates. They had a smooth, polished presentation, but no concrete ideas or suggestions. I, on the other hand, offered three solutions to the problems in Scarborough:
–Keep all budget increases to 3%. This allows the Town Manager and School Superintendent to plan long range and set priorities year to year. There were detractors to this plan among the candidates. They said it couldn’t be done. The Manager and Superintendent are highly intelligent men capable of making this work, if only the Town Council demands it.
–Decrease the town and school debt so more money could be spent on services and education and less on servicing the debt. Our town is presently nearly $100,000,000 in debt! We spend almost $3,000,000 a year to service that debt! What could we do with $3,000,000 every year? A lot.
–Change the way we make budgets. Go to a two year budget cycle like the State has. Immediately we would cut the annual bickering in half. The Town Manager and School Superintendent could make longer range plans and operate freely without having to prepare annual budgets. This would take a Town Charter change.
–Change our fiscal year to match the State’s. We presently prepare budgets without knowing how much General Purpose Aid (GPA) the State will give us in the State budget. We must do this because our fiscal year begins 3 months before the State’s. If we realign our fiscal year to 1, 2, or 3 months after the State’s, we would know how much GPA the State is giving us. This would take a Town Charter change.
I can promise 3 things.
–If elected, I will stick to my vision, my priorities and my suggested ideas.
–If Mr. Caiazzo and Mr. Rowan are elected, your property taxes are going to climb at an alarming rate over the next 3 years. Both want more money for the schools. Mr. Ciazzo actually presented a school budget last year that was a 12.6% increase over the previous years; and he called it reasonable!
–If these men are elected, the town debt will almost double in the next 3 years. Both want new schools and have grand ideas, but it will take a huge increase in debt.
I am asking for your help in getting elected to the Town Council. Most critically, I need your vote in November. Secondly, I need money. This campaign is getting very expensive; and has drained all my personal money. Any campaign contribution can be sent to Turek for Town Council at 11 Bayberry Lane, Scarborough. I sincerely appreciate it.
Dear Fellow Scarborough Residents,
I am Michael Turek (Mike), and I am running for a seat on the Scarborough Town Council. I am asking for and would greatly appreciate your support and your vote on Election Day this November.
I am running because it is important to me to give back to the community in which one lives. Although there are many great things in Scarborough, there are several areas where improvement is needed, specifically:
- I envision a prosperous town that enjoys sustainable, affordable growth.
- I believe we presently carry too much debt, almost $100 million.
- I believe we are presently driving out long-time residents and young homeowners, by attempting to raise taxes that are unsustainable and unaffordable.
Although I have no previous experience as a publically elected official, I want to bring fresh ideas and positive solutions to the Town of Scarborough by serving on the Town Council. Now is not the time for business as usual which has resulted in divisive issues that have defined and been ignored by our Town Council in the past several years.
I have been a frequent attendee at Town Council and Board of Education meetings over the past few years often questioning the level of school spending. However I am not anti-school as some erroneously may infer. A strong school system as we have in Scarborough is important to the community in a variety of ways, and I support a balanced and reasonable approach to spending.
All campaigns are expensive and run on money. Money is something I have very little of these days. Most people are in the same situation. Still, I am asking for a donation to my campaign.
My brief write-in campaign for the School Board last year was my first foray into public office. Despite being added as a write-in candidate only weeks before the election, I was able to garner 1,284 write-in votes. One lesson I learned was how expensive these runs can be. To demonstrate, I give the following examples of planned expenses. There always seem to be more that pop up during the campaign:
- Campaign signs for road side: $500+shipping
- Candidate photos for newspapers: $100
- Local newspaper advertisements: $150 each. With only six Fridays available for advertising until Election Day, that totals $1,050 alone!
- Bulk mailing postcards: $0.39 each card (pays for card and postage). This would come to over $1000 to send a card to every household.
- Palm cards to hand out as I meet and greet people: Unknown at this time.
- “Robo” calls, if I decide to use them: Unknown at this time.
As you can see, this totals $2,050! Our goal is to raise $3,500 by October 1st. Your donation of $25, $50 or $100 will help me raise the funds needed to successfully launch this campaign. I humbly ask for your support in helping us rise to this great challenge. I hereby pledge to donate any unused funds or funds raised over my goal of $3,500 to the Parent Teacher Associations in Scarborough, to be spent as they deem most useful to the students and teachers.
I would appreciate any help you may give. Please make checks out to “Turek for Town Council” and mail to 11 Bayberry Lane, Scarborough
it was very interesting to see Council Chair Holbrook trying to justify the council’s actions at the last meeting when they gave back $ 180,000.00.
these dollars will be coming from the municipal side of the budget by having the town’s department heads cut their previously approved budgets, and then appropriate another $ 200.000.00 that will be coming from excise taxes that have not been collected.
Chair Holbrook wished the town’s finance committee “good luck” in trying to find the money from somewhere.
the current net result of all this “fiddling” with our money by the council leaves us, the taxpayers, with the school board having been granted a 5% increase over last year’s budget, and this is without any consideration being given to the $884,000.00 that the school has already received by the state.
by their actions this year, the council has set the town up for a tremendous increase next year… for next year we, the taxpayers, are already facing a budget increase of 4% and that’s even before the school board chimes in regarding their needs…. so at this point, before any conversation, before any haggling, before this year’s budget is finalized, we are behind the 8-ball even before we get started on next year’s budget.
keep in mind, that all of this is without the town wanting to discuss anything about the 13-million dollars for new public safety complex, and 20/25-million dollars the school board is looking for in order to upgrade the middle school and the primary schools.
the town of scarborough is already carrying 100-million dollars in debt.
Vote NO on August 4th (or earlier if you are voting early)….send a message to this town that they need to budget properly for all their citizens, and that they have a fiduciary responsibility to do so.
Letter to the editor: Facts support rejection of latest Scarborough school budget
The Scarborough Town Council removed the framework for positive school budget negotiations by allowing the town manager to submit a 2015-2016 budget that was 12-plus percent over last year’s.
The town charter required the school board budget to be the fallback if a budget wasn’t accepted by the voters by June 30, de-incentivizing the board to significantly reduce its budget. Results: A $43.8 million school budget, with an 8.1 percent spending increase, that was rejected by voters June 9.
Then the council learned that use of the 12-plus percent fallback budget was contrary to Maine law and communicated, without public discussions, that this year’s voter-rejected budget – as opposed to last year’s voter-approved budget – was to be used as the fallback budget.
Again, the incentive to negotiate was removed. The council requested reductions of $500,000 (a budget 6.8 percent above last year’s).
It failed at the polls July 7 because the school board, armed with a bigger fallback budget, embarked on the “Vote No, Too Low” campaign, instilling the idea that to vote otherwise would result in cuts in level services.
The council and school board couldn’t explain how a 6.8 percent spending increase over last year translated into a “cut” in “level” services. Why? The 6.8 percent was false. It was 3-plus percent, a fact the public was unaware of at the polls.
The council then added $250,000 back to the budget, resulting in a 5 percent increase in the latest budget.
The council’s executive-session decision not to address unethical tax assessment practices created the initial groundswell of discontent. Defending these practices, the council spent about $300,000, which could have gone toward our schools. Certainly more than the above $250,000 to try to make this embarrassment go away!
Please encourage positive change and responsible government. A 5 percent school budget increase is still too high. Vote “no” Aug. 4.
Please read the following letter to the Town Council from Don Petrin. Send an email to let the Town Council know how you feel about the budget vote by clicking on the link below:
Scarborough Town Council,
As disheartening as it was to witness the BOE’s complete disregard of the Council’s directive and wishes, their decision to embark on a counter-productive strategy, involving much mis-information, made it so much uglier.
Everyone saw firsthand, the information promulgated in the media, the deliberate strategy employed involving scare tactics and alarm related to bogus unnecessary reductions. Despite this inappropriate behavior, it was dwarfed by the sight of children, some elementary kids, recruited to hold up signs at the polling place!!!! That, coupled with many news articles, and one in particular, depicted that the children will “suffer” if a 6.8% increase is approved, was not only an insult to one’s intelligence, but it was repulsive. Council leadership can go a long ways to stymied this type of behavior going forward, otherwise, make no mistake, it will continue.
Please view this as an opportunity to stand up and express your discontent with the BOE’s approach. Let Scarborough know that this type of behavior is not acceptable, that this Council will not reward such behavior. Take steps to discourage it. Send a clear message to the BOE both in WORDS and DOLLARS that buck stops with the Council, not the BOE. Thank you.
Dear Active Friends,
As you have probably heard, the proposed school budget was overwhelmingly rejected yesterday as expected (Yes: 496, No: 3,584). The all-important advisory question results were:
Budget too high…1,838
Budget too low…2,047
The purpose of the advisory question was to help the Town Council decide where to set the next budget to be voted on in Referendum #3. So what do those numbers show? Pretty much a dead heat, especially if you combine the too highs and the acceptables (2,005). In any event, there are enough folks on both sides of the current budget proposal to suggest that it’s in the ballpark, and any fiddling with it should be fairly minimal.
We faced some heavy odds in yesterday’s vote:
* a well-funded opposition that wasn’t afraid to spend significant amounts,
* a school administration/School Board that blatantly used private student/parent information for their own purposes, and
* some of the most cynical scare tactics we have seen in a long time.
Despite those challenges, we fought them to nearly a dead heat. Thanks to everyone who pitched in!
Rather than be gracious winners, however, the blank-check-for-the-schools crowd has already launched an email campaign to the Town Council pleading to restore school funding due to a supposedly clear mandate from yesterday’s vote. Huh? The only mandate from the vote was that we’re currently in the right ballpark with the budget. The blank-checkers seem to have adopted an aggressive, all-or-nothing strategy… they seem unwilling to concede that all taxpayers need to get some consideration when the school budget gets set. And that the school budget needs to be affordable for all Scarborough residents.
It’s been a long few weeks, so I hesitate to ask yet another favor… but I will. Please take 4-5 minutes and send off an email now to the Town Council members reminding them that the closeness of the vote indicates that the proposed budget was pretty darned close to being where it should be. Please urge them not to make substantial changes to the $500,000 reduction that was included in yesterday’s school budget. That email address to get to all Council members is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for supporting reasonable taxes for all Scarborough residents, as well as a strong (cynicism-free) school system! We remain hopeful that Referendum #3 will be accompanied by some real changes in the way we create and approve the school budget in the future.