2017-04-21 / In the Know

An open letter to Scarborough residents

Dear Scarborough community member,

As we work to continue our One Town One Budget conversation with our community, we would like to take a moment to share our thoughts on what this motto means to us. In a nutshell, One Town One Budget means that we are committed to working collaboratively to accomplish common goals that best support our community. In essence, a budget is a reflection of priorities, and the discussion around these priorities needs to involve the entire community

On Wednesday, April 5, we collaboratively presented the fiscal year 2018 town budget to the town council for its first reading vote. The first reading vote is an essential step in starting the conversation. We believe that the proposed budget reflects our understanding of what the Scarborough community needs.

The next step is to broaden the conversation beyond the two of us and our staffs. We believe that it is important to engage a larger group in order to incorporate diverse thinking and voice. As we progress, the larger group will need to work to identify budget priorities.

As community leaders, we are very aware of each and every community member, in terms of both what this budget means for services and the community’s capacity to support this budget.

Finding that balance between services and costs is about identifying priorities. As a community, we are going to have tough decisions to make and we are confident that the relationships that the town council and school board have built will lead us to a successful conclusion. We are people with a shared goal, which is to advance Scarborough. We can get through this together.

With that being said, we believe that as a community, we are off to a positive start. The town council’s first reading on April 5, and the school board’s first reading on April 6, set the stage for some really good collaborative work. Both the town and school department staff are looking forward to helping the community understand the proposed budget.

In an effort to be transparent and clear, we have continued to improve the budget book experience for our community members again this year and hope that the new format helps more residents engage in this process.

Additionally, we look forward to hearing what our constituents want to know about the budget at our April 26 budget gorum.

We hope that many community members will submit their budget questions via the budget portal on the town’s website, www.scarboroughmaine.org/town-government/budget.

In addition to submitting questions for the budget forum, community members can access meeting schedules, minutes, agendas, previous informative presentations and recorded meetings.

If you are a community member who is not yet online, the Scarborough Public Library has a paper copy of the budget and can help you navigate and read the sections you are most interested in on a library computer.

We hope that the commitment put into designing a budget book that has each community member in mind is a helpful tool. We believe that whether you want to just read the town manager’s letter summarizing the budget, take a quick look at each department, or really dive down into individual departments line by line, we encourage all residents to engage in the budget process to their level of comfort and interest.

It is our pleasure and honor to serve the Scarborough community through the budget process and throughout the year. As community leaders and residents, we are personally and professionally committed to Scarborough and look forward to working with our town council, school board and residents to find the best for our community.

Thomas Hall, town manager
Julie R. Kukenberger, superintendent
of schools
Scarborough

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