Finance Director To Budget Committee: Fiscal Picture Solid And Stable

City Finance Director Ken Flatto Monday night blew a Valentine’s Day smooch to the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee citing a $9.1 million budget surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021.

“I’m not a person of hyperbole, or someone who overstates things … what I am letting you know tonight in my personal opinion is a pretty big deal … city of Bridgeport finances are solid and stable,” he told council members in a virtual presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report with audit representatives Nikoleta McTigue and Santo Carta of accounting firm CLA.

Why the surplus?

Flatto cited several items including leaner expenses during covid, bills that slowed down for miscellaneous costs, money from feds to cover unexpected expenses, tax collections higher by roughly $11 million and growth of taxable property.

Flatto contrasted city finances from 2015 when he says the Ganim administration inherited a $20 million deficit.

“Metrics have dramatically changed,” said Flatto including the financial picture of the Board of Education historically underfunded, according to school advocates. The local school district has received an infusion of federal funds from the impact of the health emergency.

City Councilman Matt McCarthy, an accountant by profession, raised a question about school spending moving forward, a nod to other council members whose constituents have pressed them for more education dollars in recent years.

McCarthy set up the question as the budget committee prepares to deliberate spending for the new fiscal year that begins July 1 after Mayor Joe Ganim presents his budget plan in April.

This is one of those things enjoy it while it lasts: more money from the feds, state budget coffers exploding with extra dough that benefits city finances.

From the audit:

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  1. Rumors get spread by word of mouth mostly. Nothing is seen, to be remembered, checked with older facts or knowledge, and compared for accuracy and common sense.
    And listening, alone, does not inform as does seeing and listening, but the apparent power point show for ZOOM guests was not what was open to the public. They are meant to be listeners and not lookers or seekers. And a Budget and Appropriations meeting is full of Exhibits but simultaneous awareness of what the folks in the meeting are seeing and hearing is missed when phone access is your only option.
    What will be done in this third year of COVID avoidance to allow the public to see, hear, and participate? Did enough questions get asked last night about how each of the departmental surpluses originated? The City has not previously reported on the scale of such and what that may mean for next year. Did the public get full service from each budget area? Time will tell.

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