Yes, after much deliberation, we have an official name — SMARTaxes. Short for: Scarborough Maine Advocates for Reasonable Taxes. And, conveniently, our name is also our mission.
We plan to dig into the details of the Town and School budgets, analyze what we find and present those findings to our members and the public at large. In addition, we will monitor all Town and School public meetings that have financial implications and share concise and timely summaries of those meetings with the taxpaying public. With these two strategies, we hope to help the voters to better understand Town and School finances and become part of the decision-making process.
Steering Committee formed
For this group to make an impact, we needed to assemble a core group of individuals who could address policy issues, adopt guiding principles and oversee our activities. We have assembled a group of seven Scarborough residents with diverse backgrounds but a common interest in assuring that our real estate taxes are arrived at in a well-understood, common-sense and reasonable manner.
The initial SMARTaxes Steering Committee members and their responsibilities are:
Bob Rovner, Co-Chair
Mike Turek, Co-Chair
Joanne Mahoney, Public Meetings Coordinator
Annalee Rosenblatt, School Budget Coordinator
Jonathan Tudor, Technical Coordinator
The Steering Committee’s first priority is to prepare a charter that will lay out the group’s mission, guiding principles and strategic direction.
working group formed
In addition to the Steering Committee, nearly 30 individuals have volunteered to join our “Working Group.” The members of the Working Group will join specific Task Groups that will review and analyze budgets, attend Town and School public meetings, and otherwise help us achieve our mission. We hope that several of the Task Groups will be up and running by the end of July.
It’s not too late to join the Working Group! If you have an interest in rolling up your sleeves and getting involved, please contact us at ScarboroughTaxes@yahoo.com. We have lots to do!
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We read of your group in the July 11, Leader. Since we have lived here in town for 16 year as in most towns the cost of the schools is over 61% or more usually. If we ever had a reduction in taxes I did not notice it. We are two of the over 65 (a lot more), retired on fixed income of course. What has always baffled us is how the school dept. can add on new positions or have a considerable increase in the budget year after year. I thought if money was tight obviously the costs should be peeled back in order to keep the budget as low as possible. We out here have to adjust to any cuts in income and live with lousy increases in S.S. etc. but as we all know inflation is doing a job on everyone. Towns, cities and especially the federal government seem oblivious to it’s effect on our our budgets. I do not think any town should pitch in more money each and every year thinking it will benefit the “children.” We are not the federal government where they just funnel more and more of our hard earned bucks down a rat hole year after year. It seems as though towns and cities are doing exactly that with the notion it will get our pupils a better education. I don’t think so. I can’t volunteer as my wife is not able to be left alone. Prior to her illness I have in many cases helped on various projects but now age and sickness has overtaken us. But I applaud your work and hope you do not get snowed under, keep going. Ruth & Sumner Thompson.
Thank you for your comments. Some of the Town Council members and most of the School Board members appear to be unaware of the impact that hefty annual real estate tax increases have on those Scarborough residents who live on fixed incomes. Yes, we appreciate the importance of excellent schools and public services, but we need to realize that the taxes need to be affordable to all — long-time residents, the retired on fixed income, families with limited resources, as well as those earning comfortable salaries. In short, the level of real estate taxes needs to strike a balance between what we as a Town want and what we can afford. SMARTaxes aims to make the affordability aspect of Town and School budget decisions a top priority.
Thanks for meeting with Friends of Scarborough Hockey last night. We enjoyed our conversation and we hope you did too. Any of your members are welcome to call any of our board members for further discussion. We sincerely hope that you can see that our only motive is to support our town and children by redefining how “special interest” projects are funded.
As a strong conservative, I do not believe it is the town’s job to provide everything on the taxpayers backs but I do believe that it is the town’s job to support concepts (In a variety of ways) that are consistent with the long term vision if an organization is willing to fund a specific project and have a long term strategy for viability. (Not dump it on the town later)
That is what we are about, please call me so that I can share the concept and how this could change how projects in not only Scarborough, but Maine get built while not being a burden on the people that pay taxes. Me included!
Our website: http://www.scarboroughice.org
My best, Mark Maroon
Thank you, Mark, for your comment. We appreciated the opportunity to meet with you and gain a better understanding of FOSH’s proposed ice arena. We also appreciate your willingness to foster a genuine public dialogue about the proposed arena and its relationship with the Town.