City Council Weighs Upgrades To Wastewater Treatment System

The City Council Monday night will consider a Budget and Appropriations Committee report “Approving Financing for the Design, Rehabilitation, Upgrading and Construction of Various Renovations and Improvements to the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plants.”

The agenda item has spurred email exchanges from some council members including Maria Pereira who is urging her colleagues to vote no arguing the improvements will spike sewer user fees.

The issue involves a consent order with the state to modernize facilities addressing environmental concerns such as combined sewer overflows and discharges into Long Island Sound. Thirty percentage of the improvements, according to information presented to the council, will be funded by a state environmental grant.

See below excerpted information provided to the budget committee. For additional background on upgrades see here.

Several speakers have signed up to address the council on the matter, including George Estrada, former director of Public Facilities who now has the same role in Trumbull which is connected to Bridgeport’s sewer system.

See full agenda here.

This meeting will be conducted by teleconference. The public may listen  by calling the following conference line and then entering the conference code:
Dial-In Number: (929) 436-2866
Meeting ID: 381 083 245



  1. This affects those NOT Only In Bridgeport as Trumbull water uses pay WPCA fees for waste water treatment. Bridgeport conveniently ignored/violated consent decrees to fix the plants and their illegal discharges into the Long Island Sound.
    The Bpt WPCA did not post on its website notices of PUBLIC HEARINGS for these proposed huge expenditures and rate increases. Why follow the law? It’s Bridgeport and we do whatever we want. So what of this will cause a myriad of lawsuits and our attorneys get richer.
    Important information that WPCA and many rubber stamping City Council members prefer the public not know:
    The last page of the WPCA packet shows that the average WPCA bill will go from $490 annually to $816 annually or an increase of 66% by 2027 which equates to 11% annually for the next six years. This is after the WPCA raised rates by 3% last year which we are all paying currently. By 2033, the average annual WPCA bill will go from $490 today to $1,064 or a 117% increase.

    Any Council Member who votes for this on Monday is voting to increase your constituents rates by 66% by 2027 and 117% by 2033. Let’s remember that all of Trumbull’s property owners also utilize our WPCA. In addition, state law requires the WPCA to hold a Public Hearing with ten days notice regarding a rate increase. They have made it clear there will be MASSIVE WPCA increases which rate payers will pay until at least 2048 once these massive bonds are approved. We know this right now.

    The public hearings will be pointless for the next 27 years because the WPCA will have no choice to raise rates to pay back these massive loans, therefore no matter how much rate payers oppose; the rates will be increased. The City Council should hold its own hearings for Bridgeport and Trumbull residents BEFORE these massive bonds are approved.

    And here’s a breakdown of why these rate increases are guaranteed to occur:

    West Side Plant (70%) $267,500,000 (2% Interest) $59,204,181

    East Side Plant (70%) $150,500,000 (2% Interest) $32,225,061

    TOTAL (70%) $418,000,000 (2% Interest) $91,429,242 Grant Total $509,429,242
    Bond Counsel John Stafstrom stands to make 1% of the bonds or approximately $4,000,000.

    Bridgeport already has the highest foreclosure and unemployment rate in CT. We have the highest eviction rate in New England. This will drive a significant increase in WPCA foreclosures and evictions as rents will be increased.

    EVERY single cooperative & condominium will have to increase their common charges to pay for these massive WPCA increases. Every apartment building, senior building and even Park City Communities will have to raise their tenants rents to offset these massive WPCA increases. Multi-family landlords will raise the rent on their tenants to offset these WPCA increases.

    Due to reevaluation, even if we reduce the mill rate from 53.99 to 42.0 mills; the East End, lower East Side, JFK Precinct, Aquaculture Precinct, Geraldine Johnson Precinct & Cesar Batalla Precinct are going to experience significant property tax increases effective July 1st, and yet we are going to exasperate the problem even further with massive WPCA tax increases.

    Although the attached WPCA Packet states on the bottom of Page 1 that the West Side Plant will cost $395,000,000 with 30% funded by grants, that leaves $276,500,000 that will be bonded via the DEEP Clean Water Fund at 2% interest over 20 years. However, the resolution the Budget & Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve on Monday specifically states that $395,000,000 will be bonded, not $267,500,000. Which one is it?

    In addition, on Page 4 of the WPCA Packet you can see that we will be asked to approve another massive bond for $215,000,000 for the East Side Plant. If there are grants funding 30% of these costs that still leaves another $150,500, 000 to be bonded at 2% interest over 20 years.

    The City already has $700,000,000 in bonded debt. These two projects will put Bridgeport at well over a BILLION dollars in bonded debt.

    For now, just utilizing an amortization schedule for a $276,500,000 Bond at 2% over 20 years for the West Side Plant would result in $59,204,181 paid in interest alone with WPCA rate payers in Bridgeport & Trumbull paying back $335,707,181 with interest.

    The East Side Plant, utilizing an amortization schedule for a $150,500,000 Bond at 2% over 20 years would result in $32,225,061 paid in interest alone with WPCA rate payers in Bridgeport & Trumbull paying back $182,725,061 with interest.

    If the total amount bonded is ONLY 70% of the total cost of these two projects combined, this is the combined result give or take a few million based on whether they bond all in one, or break it into smaller bonds as needed.

    This does NOT have to be approved Monday night. It should be tabled until meetings have been held with the State and Federal delegations to see what assistance may be had, The WOCA must clarify how much is to be bonded since the amount in the packet and the amount passes in Council Committee are different. The requisite PUBLIC HEARINGS must be legally noticed and held,

    Why rush, when it was convenient to ignore consent decrees fior years??????????????

    1. Trumbull’s contract with Bridgeport ends in a few years, we can leave with two years’ notice and Bridgeport is REQUIRED to assist with our connection to another system (such as Fairfield or Stratford, to help in obtaining all state and federal permits.

      BTW>>>>Trumbullites are entitled to speak at the Bpt City Council meetings on this matter. Some of us also own property and pay taxes in Bpt, and all taxpayers can speak on budget related items in all CT municipalities without being a resident.

  2. So Marshall, what do you propose?
    Keep on putting it off until it is forced on the city? And then what?
    Trumbull-lites don’t give a damn about Bridgeport and it’s taxes until they impact Trumbull and only then do they scream.

    1. What do I propose?
      First, hold a meeting with the other municipality using the system and see if you can sign a contract that runs with the bonding (so Bpt rate and taxpayers don’t get stuck paying off a facility that may be larger than what is needed),
      Second, hold meetings with our state legislators to discuss what state money may be available (State Senator Moore D22 chairs the Senate Bonding Committee),
      Third hold meetings with Congressman Himes, Senators Murphy and Blumenthal to see what Federal dollars may be available to help. This discharges into a interstate waterway, affects fisheries, and navigation. The President is pushing for a HUGE Infrastructure bill and this is the type of thing that should be included. There might even be some part of the 1.9TRILLION Pandemic money to tap for the health and welfare of residents
      Fourth, send it back to WPCA (Bpt) and DEMAND they do all of the above PLUS properly notice a Public Hearing in their website and hold the hearing. Have the inept WPCA submit a binding request that reduces the project cost by the 30% of state funding. Why should the City Council approve borrowing money not needed for this and why should the Bond Counsel make a big commission on the money the state is funding?

      Start with those four items…………………….otherwise: Let the lawsuits begin

  3. And I am no fan of John Stafstrom and bonding but sometimes you have no choice.
    We entered into a consent decree and we have to abide by it.
    You have some suggestions, I’m all ears. But don’t suggest do nothing and maybe the state will forget.

    1. Bridgeport conveniently violated the previous consent decrees about WPCA. so much for your reasoning. Bridgeport has thumbed their nose at the decrees and NOT abided by them,

  4. The reasonable limitations placed on government gatherings has left many folks out of the flow of necessary actions and their expenses. But we have to rely on City Council Liaison representatives to keep us up to date. Isn’t that what Liaison positions are meant to address?
    I have attended WPCA meetings with Jack Banta, former South End Council person in the past. Has Ernie Newton replaced him and seen the development of this package? Why has no word come from him until the 11th hour? Perhaps he can comment and ask for a timeout and public hearings? Before we authorize bonding once again, perhaps the CC will wish to have a REGULAR REPORT ABOUT BONDED FUNDS RECEIVED when they arrive, and when they depart to pay for projects, and what happens in the meantime?? Isn’t it too late to ask what happens in a two month period to funds approved for school construction, and bonded, but plans changed with little public notice or comment, and no minutes available to the public or listing on City website for SCHOOL BUILDING COMMITTEE?? Again, lots of public obligation being loaded on shoulders of the people for years into the future with out any current or complete explanation by folks being paid for their “expertise”. Why are we allowing Ganim2 and his administrators to handle matters in this way? Time will tell.;

  5. Marshall
    Why don’t you and JML sit down for a cup of coffee. Better make it a pot. JML has a doctors degree in Think-Cology. Better bring along Maria too. Whatever you’re thinking of I’m sure she thought of it first.
    Today or tomorrow. You don’t have much time. Meeting is Monday night.

  6. Jimfox says:
    March 1, 2021 at 10:00 am
    So it will take the (Municipal Energy Security Authority) to fix the dis-functioning 100 year old sewage system we so desperately need ???
    Don’t hold your breath B-port!


  7. Don’t hold your breath B-port. Hold your nose.
    We have a 100 year storm every year. The flooding throughout the city is just getting worse.
    But once Marshall finds out that there will be a rate increase, just ignore the descent degree. Maybe something will happen over the next ten to twenty years and all of this will fix itself. Maybe. Maybe not.


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