Black Rock City Councilman: Ganim’s Strong Fiscal Record Deserves Another Term

Black Rock City Councilman Matt McCarthy, a CPA, writes in this commentary “If the independent professionals on Wall Street are recognizing the positive impact that Mayor Ganim’s strong fiscal management is having for our city, then that is something that we need to take into serious consideration when we go to the polls this Tuesday.”

From McCarthy:

Bridgeport’s finances have been one of my top priorities as a member of the Bridgeport City Council.

My interest in this is not only as a CPA, but also as a taxpayer. In fact, my constituents and I have some of the highest assessments, and therefore some of the highest property tax bills, in the entire city.

As we head into the special primary for Mayor this Tuesday, I need to know that the mayoral candidate that I am supporting will continue the progress that I and others on the Council have been working towards in recent years.

After years of strong fiscal management and his commitment to not raising taxes, Joe Ganim has earned my vote this Tuesday, January 23rd. I want to be clear, I don’t have anything personal against John Gomes and I do not agree with Mayor Ganim on everything. In fact, we have had some big disagreements during my tenure on the City Council. But those policy debates aside, I know that it has been a challenge to get our city’s financial house in order, and I know that it doesn’t take much to screw it all up again.

I understand that fiscal stability may not be top of mind for most voters, but it’s not something that should be taken for granted either. Just a few years ago when Hartford’s finances were a mess, the state spent over $500 million bailing out Hartford’s pension system. And when New Haven and some of our neighboring suburbs also experienced financial issues in recent years, they simply raised taxes. Thankfully, this has not been our experience here in Bridgeport.

Under Joe Ganim, the city’s financial status has improved significantly. Every single budget over the last eight years has ended with a modest budget surplus. Our rainy day fund, which was nearly depleted when the Mayor took office, has tripled.

For the first time in years, the rating agencies on Wall Street upgraded the city’s bond rating, saving the city money when we bond for infrastructure projects, schools, and other needs.

And, all of this was accomplished without a mill rate increase on the backs of the taxpayer. Just read this snapshot from the Moody’s ratings report last year which caught my attention:

“The city’s financial position has improved materially over the last five years. The city has solid prospects for continued stability. Overall financial improvement is due to the city’s consistently conservative budgeting, strict expenditure controls and we expect management will continue to produce solid operations.”

If the independent professionals on Wall Street are recognizing the positive impact that Mayor Ganim’s strong fiscal management is having for our city, then that is something that we need to take into serious consideration when we go to the polls this Tuesday. Furthermore, I firmly believe that sound municipal finances are essential to attracting developers, investors, and businesses to our city.

I am pleased to say that Bridgeport’s best days are ahead. Bridgeport is a better today than it has been in a long time with Joe Ganim as our Mayor.



    1. Business skills? Like his embezzling skills he demonstrated from 2006-2014 while serving as Treasurer for Friends of Andre’s Ayala and later Andre’s Ayala for State Senate committees?

      Why is it that John Gomes has never mentioned his tenure as Campaign Treasurer for Ayala during an 8 year period? During those years John Gomes embezzled in excess of $25,000 from Ayala’s campaign committees. One noticeable way was by billing Ayala’s committe for food and drink. Who he made the payments to? The Red Rooster Restaurant/Deli/Cafe.

      Gomes wasn’t fired 2 times but at least 3. By the end of 2013, Andre’s Ayala Removed/ Fired John Gomes as Treasurer. I was the one who caught John Gomes with his hands in the Cookie Jar and filed serious of SEEC complaint. His activities continued in 2014 when the new Treasurer (Pilar Gonzalez) for Andre’s for Senate, issued a Check for $3,200 to the Red Rooster for more food. My 2014 complaint took over 5 years for SEEC to take action and in 2019, Pilar Gonzalez was the only person held accountable. SEEC found 37 instances of violations and fined Pilar Gonzalez just $2000. That’s about $54 dollars per violation. It important to note that SEEC started to act on my complaint as soon as the feds announced their probe of Denis Bradley.

  1. what this article gets wrong is that it is not that increasing taxes is inherently wrong. the issue is what is the return on investment? so what good is it if taxes do not increase and the schools deteriorate and I have to place my child in private school. so I’m just paying in another way. and the sidewalk is front of my house is a disaster and now my property is devalued, another money loss for me. or the police department is understaffed, ok we save money there but police don’t show up to address illegal motor cycles up and down the street. so not increasing taxes is not the entire story, its about being smart with our tax money and it’s seeing the benefits. and sorry seeing new housing at Steele Pointe does not cut it for me when it takes an election year to pave the street two blocks down from me and then see the street improvement skip my street. and I supposed to say great job Mayo

    1. I’ll differ on the education, considering the Port has made/received significant investments in education like new schools including two brand new high schools. To be fair you can bring into question the quality of education between private and public schools, even charters schools

      Your property is your business, sidewalks included. I believe. The quality of your property is the quality you provide.

      Fair point on the police, based on how long it takes them to respond to calls. As for the illegal motor cycles thing, that is more of a tactic to address it than any staffing issues.

      As for being smart with money, I believe that’s what Matt McCarthy was trying to convey. But let’s face it, nothing will cut it for you under G2 Thus goes Port Politics.

      However, I will concede to the Port/government tents to give more they they should in some of these deals. Privates love to get as much from the government as possible, perhaps they are not alone in in that regard, wanting more from other people’s money/taxpayers. Though a balance has to be structed, I would assume. JS

  2. Matt,
    You are my Council person, a CPA, and have been accessible and communicative during your term in office. But I am unhappy with your argument as a taxpayer, someone who tries to understand municipal finances by asking questions, and for that community acttivity was termed by the CT Post as Bridgeport’s “financial watchdog”.
    A City like Bridgeport spends the working lives of its employees, as well as money. the employees who are hired, and those who remain to retire need feedback and guidance at all levels, routinely, as to how they do their job, how to do it better, and results. Yes, the City funds things like fire engines and motor vehicles, building maintenance, insurance (though we have no risk manager for the self-insurance we have proclaimed), outside services, funding long term benefits, and land and buildings, among them. But those employee working lives are a valuable resource, not necessarily on a balance sheet, and when not considered in a commentary, are equally critical to the forward movement of the City.

    In a recent period of no tax-increases, and increasing balance sheet strength, you find a reason to support Ganim2. However, if failure to follow basic employment practices at multiple employee levels in the City when by totally ignoring the important annual evaluation process in too many Departments for too many years, then Ganim2’s leadership outomes must be questioned. Following standard process and municipal practice with employees can be acknowledged as a costly expense that taxpayers must ultimately bear, when legal actions are filed, finished, and those expenses are approved by City Council vote. That story is withheld in substance from the public. Not for the first time do I note that an ACTING Civil Service director for about 11 years was charged, found guilty, and is today suffering the financial consequences personally. Was he supervised by Mayor Finch or Ganim2, or did they have an “understanding about maintaining the status quo?” That makes the City uncompetitive and causes employee dissatisfaction and the filing of grievances.

    The funds necessary to have all the youth of our community reach goals similar to surrounding communities with the BOE budget was not advanced as a Mayoral purpose that included specific necessary goals for a four year, eight year, or long-term period of time in the past. The position of Ganim2 relative to the youth of the City was that he cared more about budget balancing, and complex financial narratives, always hopeful, than he has about education of youth that cost upwards of 50% of City budgets these days with out of date ECS funds from the State of CT.

    Money or kids. Too simple an observation. Too late. (Remember February 27) At least a public discussion rather than a Mayor lack of caring is credible, if he really understood the family situations in the City. Something to consider? Time will tell.

    1. I’m sure you and the Spains in Black Rock would have been doing Cartwheels until the end of the primary had Matt endorsed Gomes instead.

      Tripled rainy day fund. What does it take to pass through your stubbornness?

  3. John, “financial watchdog” play nice. 🙂

    Can a question be raised that the city’s bond rating is a direct relation to some of the financial things you aforementioned, such as its long-term liability to its employees?

    I do recall a few financial reshuffling to better strengthen Port’s financial position.

    Perhaps you can question G2’s employment practices at multiple employee levels in city hall. But I can’t in recent memory remember you injecting “white supremacy” regarding G2 hiring practices.

    As you stated, 20,000 of the Port youth out of 150,000 total residents receive upwards of 50% of the total city budget that mostly comes from the state, but is it accrue to not count the investment of 100’s of millions invested like new schools on the youth’s behalf?

    I think a more balanced approach is Money, kids, and adult residents. Just an observation, unless you think Port is Children of the Corn. 1776 the end,

  4. Robert Teixeira:

    Schools: Taxpayer’s main hope, particularly those with children attending Bridgeport schools, is that their children will receive a good education that will prepare them for college or the workforce. This is more important to them than new building. New buildings do not prepare children, teachers do. In the 90’s Bridgeport was ranked as one of the lowest school districts in CT. In 2024 Bridgeport ranks as one of the lowest in CT. Ganim was mayor for 20 years and much of this falls on him. Maybe he should have increased taxes to invest in education and not a Chipotle as Steelpointe.

    Property: Side walk responsibility rests on property owners and the city. If the city was proactive with tax payer money sidewalks and streets would be addressed earlier than later. Also problematic is the city’s unpredictable zoning. A homeowner purchases a home in the Northend to then have a Stop and Shop built in a residential area and now it is abandoned. Which happened under Ganim 1. And then you get Testos, another example of unpredictable zoning with elevated apartments next to homes, which will devalue homes.

    Police: The biker issue is not just a tactical issue it is also a staffing issue. Police cannot prioritize this issue because they are understaffed and they also do not prioritize rowdy sacred heart parties that go to 3am. Again, which devalues quality of life and homeowner’s property.

    At the end of the day a homeowner would not mind a $100 or more in taxes if it could guarantee a better education, home value appreciation, responsive police, and predicable zoning. As tax payers we want to see our money used wisely. Ganim has been so focused on SteelPointe to build a Chipotle while the North End of Bridgeport has simply crumbled and deteriorated. Ganim has been Mayor for 20 years and this mainly all falls on him.


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