City Awaits, Holding Breath, As State’s Budget Calamity Plays Out

Caution and concern fills the local budget process that relies heavily on funds from the state budget that’s one gigantic mess. What happens in Hartford influences the flow of dollars to Bridgeport’s municipal budget as the City Council prepares to vote on a spending plan next week proposed by Mayor Joe Ganim that calls for no tax increase. It’s a leap of faith.

Governor Dan Malloy is threatening layoffs without a concession deal with state labor unions worth at least $700 million to close a mega budget gap.

Meanwhile the State House branch of government is headed by Speaker Joe Aresimowicz who works for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the bargaining unit that represents most state employees.

The council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee will likely vote on the budget this weekend or Monday. It then goes to the full City Council that serves both as a legislative branch and budget-making body relying on the timeline of the City Charter to pass a spending plan to begin July 1. Based on the state’s budget confusion it could be forced to approve a municipal budget in the dark that goes back to Ganim for possible veto action.


So is everyone else in the process.



    1. Flatto
      “The City has taken many financial belt-tightening strides this year to seek to ensure we end the FY17 year with a healthy solid surplus, and we are committed to that. But this decision by the Governor obviously makes this task more difficult.”

      If we wind up with a surplus, that just means you over Tax us again!

  1. With all due respect to your opinions, Lennie, I disagree with your calling our City Council a “budget making body”. No doubt they approve of a bunch of numbers every year by adding or subtracting revenue projections or adding or subtracting expense projections to come to a Fiscal Year plan. Then they vote as is their legislative duty or power derived from the City Charter.

    For the most part in recent years they do it without professional help (and it seems are rather proud of that for they continue to repeat that behavior). And they form their vote “in the dark” because they must decide, per our Charter, before State revenues for each activity are decided by the State legislature. They are hopeful people, who do not process the numbers each year to observe the many departments, or line items, that fail to spend their allocations. But they do not CUT!! And when it comes to Print Shops, Transfer Stations and other budget sacred cows, they fail to look at alternatives from privatizing. Can any of this really be called “budget making”? Time will tell.

  2. As JML pointed out and Lennie recognizes, the city council did not create the budget. It could be argued that the final product has their fingerprints on it, but they are using State funding assumptions that City staff are making.

    Whether they have a clue as to what they are doing is another story.

  3. We are more than nine months into the current FY 2017 but those results ending March 31 are available.

    The monthly financial report continues to show areas of large discrepancy. (N.B. Budget formation is not an exact science and depends on assumptions and projections, but golly, gee things change!!)
    1) Almost $7.7 Million beyond the level of the adopted FY17 City budget ($9.8 Million) was from sales tax revenues paid out by the State. Did our tax increase need to be so big last year?
    2)Office of Mayor, Central Grants, Purchasing, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, City Attorney, Health Benefit Admin., Labor Relations, CAO, Info Technology, Minority Business Resource, and OPED show Flatto adjustments in projected full time employment in those departments totaling over:$1.6 Million.
    3)Police, Fire and Emergency Operations were full time over budgeted for $5.5 Million.
    4) And Other Financing Uses a most transparent department title,that showed a negative cost in 2017 but was budgeted for $4.7 expense appropriation, after adjustment is projected to come in at below $2 Million.

    None of that deals with looking at the other non full time compensation accounts to see what was overbudgeted? underspent? CAUSED OVERTAXATION LAST YEAR?

    Was B&A conscious of recent trends as they looked at department budgets? Were 2014, 2015 as well as 2016 expense results provided as background to Council? To public? Was the FINAL JUNE 30, 2016 budget based on audited numbers made available to the public? I inquired at the City Clerk office today, and it was not found. Is everyone happy with the info provided, the data covered, and the results found? Time will tell.

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