Finch Moves Closer To Sewage Deal; Fabrizi, Testa Say It’s A Crappy Agreement

Talk about the shit hitting the fan. The three-town sewage deal that appears to be ironed out by the chief elected officials of Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe could face a showdown between Mayor Bill Finch and the City Council with Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa fanning the flames.

Discussions between Finch and Trumbull’s Ray Baldwin and Monroe’s Tom Buzi continued on Monday brokered by Paul Timpanelli, head of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Bridgeport will receive roughly $5 million in tax revenue front-loaded over a three-year period with no tax payments thereafter for allowing Monroe sewage access into Trumbull that’s hooked into the city’s sewage treatment system.

Developer extraordinaire Bob Scinto is building a new Jewish Home for the Elderly in Monroe that’s expected to pump some 85,000 gallons of wastewater a day. Both Monroe and Trumbull have asked for larger capacity flows that could attract additional commercial development to their towns.

This deal represents the first of its kind in the state, with Bridgeport serving as the recipient of the wastewater flow from suburban neighbors sharing tax revenue from the project. Trumbull and Monroe do not have sewage treatment plants. The city has systems in both the East End and West End.

Mayor Finch desperately wants the moolah to help close a deficit of more than $10 million nearly six months into the budget year with another major gap between revenues and expenses projected for the new budget year July 2009. But some business and political interests including former Mayor John Fabrizi and Testa who wields influence on the City Council (that must approve the pact) believe it’s a crappy deal for the city.

They cite the front-loaded deal that former Mayor Lenny Paoletta cut more than 20 years ago–allowing the entire region to dump in Bridgeport’s West End garbage facility–as an example of Bridgeport leaving tens of millions on the table.

It appears Finch will need to schmooze Testa, who’s already been working council members, about the necessity to pass this deal. Testa wants the suburbs to eat shit. He’s not crazy about the suburbs sending the city more of its crap.

And former Mayor Fabs is weighing in on a city issue for the first time since leaving office just over a year ago. (Initial discussions on this deal predate Finch’s mayoralty.) Fabs says the deal he had discussed with Scinto included a lifelong revenue stream.

See a statement Fabs released to the media below:

Don’t forget, OIB party at Two Boots, Wednesday at 5:30!

John Fabrizi Statement

You are in the driver’s seat, stay there!

Recently, there have been a number of newspaper articles regarding Bridgeport opening up its sewage capacity to both Trumbull and Monroe. Much has been going back and forth regarding the added capacity and its impact on our current filtering stations.

To my knowledge, Bridgeport can handle the added capacity, but the question lays to what extent? How much more can we handle? What is the maximum the current plants can handle? What do we handle today? How much more capacity can we add for out of towners before we feel the pinch? How much more development can we do in Bridgeport for the current plants to handle before we must upgrade our plants at Bridgeport taxpayers expense? The answers to these questions are as follows:

Bridgeport’s 2 sewage plants can handle a maximum capacity of 30 million gallons of sewage on a dry day. Currently, Bridgeport is processing a little over 22.5 million gallons of sewage on a dry day. One must take into consideration though that on rainy days the flow is greater and once you reach 85% capacity on a daily basis, you have to start the designing for the upgrade of a new plant.

For the record, the east-side plant would be the plant processing the development of Steelpointe, and currently the East Side plant can handle this potential development with capacity left to spare. The West Side plant is the plant that will be processing any additional sewage flow from Trumbull and Monroe. It’s been estimated that the new Monroe development would generate 85,000 gallons of sewage daily. Obviously, we can handle this but a request for any additional flow would have to come back to Bridgeport for additional approvals and rate structure. If Bridgeport grants additional flow capacity now, Bridgeport’s giving away its right to get its fair share for the future. Haven’t we learned from the garbage to energy contract 20 years ago?

Now, here’s where the driving comes in. Without Bridgeport’s approval to grant additional capacity to Trumbull, then Monroe, there is no new project of this magnitude in Monroe. Everything stays the same. The bottom line is, that Bridgeport is in the driver’s seat. What are the benefits to Trumbull and Monroe? For Trumbull, a new development in the future that will not need Bridgeport’s approval for additional capacity because the approval would have been given already.

For Monroe, a brand-new development worth $77 million, construction jobs, permit fees, and about $15 million annually in new property taxes. The ONLY way that a project of this magnitude can happen in Monroe is with Bridgeport’s agreement to accept Monroe’s sewage, and for that Bridgeport must play landlord and charge an annual fee … forever.

That fee should be based on a percentage of annual tax dollars collected by Monroe on this new development. One can argue about the percentage of newly generated tax dollars to be paid to Bridgeport; is 33% fair, how about 25%, or 20% or even 10%? At the very least Bridgeport should realize a minimum of 10% which would equate to approximately $1.5 million dollars annually paid to the City of Bridgeport … forever.

Now that’s truly in the spirit of regional cooperation. And being that taxes really do not go down, this annual user fee, and Monroe’s tax revenue would only rise in future years to come. Now, that’s fair, because without Bridgeport processing Monroe’s sewage from this new development, there is no new project of this magnitude, no new construction jobs, no new permanent jobs, no new personal property taxes that only Monroe would receive, no new $13.5 million dollars in real estate property taxes for Monroe (after Bridgeport receives its fair share of 10%), and no new boost in Monroe’s local economy by having all of these new workers, construction and permanent, visit Monroe’s gas stations, food establishments, retailers, etc. … Anything less would be a mistake. A mistake that we should have learned from in the garbage to energy contract that Bridgeport signed for $3 million up front which cost the City tens of millions of millions of dollars in the long run.

Bridgeport, stay in the driver’s seat, collect a user fee on an annual basis and don’t settle for anything less. By doing so, you’ll end up in the passenger’s seat and just be taken for a ride!

Do the math, weigh the benefits and keep driving!


John M. Fabrizi

News release from Mayor Finch

City Chooses Gaffney, Bennett as State Lobbying Firm

BRIDGEPORT, CT (December 15, 2008) – The City has selected the lobbying firm of Gaffney, Bennett and Associates to acts as its state legislative lobbyist–awarding a one-year contract for $55,000, subject to council approval.

The contract with Gaffney, Bennett and Associates will be discussed at the Contracts Committee this evening. If passed by the committee, it may be referred from the floor for a vote at tonight’s City Council meeting.

A request for proposals was initiated by the City Attorney’s office and the subsequent RFP was advertised on the city’s BidSync system for three weeks. A total of eight applicants responded and were interviewed by the RFP committee.

The group was narrowed down to three finalists, and of the three, Gaffney, Bennett was strongest bipartisan firm. The firm also has strong contacts with both Governor Rell and the legislative leadership in both Houses.

“We are confident that Gaffney, Bennett can provide us with the the kind of across-the-aisle lobbying efforts that we need at the State House,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Their bipartisan approach and track record of success will be key in helping Bridgeport to continue to secure funding and support in this volatile economic period we are encountering.”

Robinson and Cole Government Relations had previously acted as the City’s lobbying firm with a contract of $50,000.

Background on Gaffney, Bennett and Associates

Founded in 1984, Gaffney, Bennett and Associates is perennially rated one of the top political consulting, lobbying, government relations firms in Connecticut by officials in all three branches of government, on both sides of the aisle, and by industry peers. The lobbying firm, located in New Britain, CT , has excelled for over a decade in making the voices of its clients known to the decision makers in D.C. and CT. The Connecticut firm’s eight full-time lobbyists and lawyers bring to the table decades of experience in government and politics at the local, state and federal levels. It is this breadth of experience, combined with our command of the process, ability to forge alliances, reach decision makers, and manage crises, that is the underpinning of Gaffney, Bennett and Associates’ unsurpassed record of success.



  1. Scinto may be a developer extraordinaire for the suburbs but for Bridgeport he is a zero. He has not developed squat here and refuses to do so. Mr Timpanelli can go pound sand. Does he enjoy seeing water bubble up on Main street during a heavy rain?
    Fabrizi has a good idea but it should be carried 1 step further. Monroe and Trumbull should agree to help defray the costs associated with enlarging both treatment plants.

  2. I appreciate that John Fabrizi is taking the time to communicate the facts of the situation. Communicating clearly helps to gain support and gets the best input from people. I agree with Wondering’s suggestion of 1 step further. If we get an ongoing, sufficient revenue stream and a commitment to share in future upgrades so Bridgeport is not left holding the short end of the shit stick, I say go for it. If Bridgeport takes a bad deal to close a short-term budget problem and ends up selling away our growth capacity that would be pretty dumb.

  3. I definitely won’t be downwind from this stinkoid deal. I wonder what Warren All You Can Eat will say about this buffet beast? Will those wimps on the city council blow a fart in Finch’s general direction?

  4. Mayor,

    Here is a quick way to save $100 grand. Dump Panuzio and Gaffney Bennett and get Bridgeport’s elected representatives to do the job they were elected to do. Of course, that would require that they stop fighting with each other … or the Mayor … or Mario long enough to look out for the people who elected them.

    Not likely.

  5. The Scinto proposal is a no-brainer. Either they come up with annual payments and help with future costs or there is no deal. Period.

    Isn’t it time the BRBC stuck to business and not lobbying/fixing for special interests?

  6. BTW, If anyone here ever runs into “Mirar” tell her she is a whore. I finally got rid of Mirar after two weeks of fucking with me (well my pc to be exact) and forcing me to do a system recovery. Thanks to Rafman Azeez in New Jersey for his assistance and patience in helping me.
    I was reading a tech report wich stated that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Browser has major flaws and that Chinese hackers are taking advantage of the flaws. Explorer is no longer safe and Microsoft is having a difficult time coming up with a patch to fix the flaws. Azeez recommends that all computer owners download at least two (2) browsers. I am now using Mozilla Firefox and I highly recommend that OIB users do the same. Goodbye Explorer!

  7. I only know what I’ve read here and based on that Finch seems to be making a very bad deal for Bpt. I like what Fabrizi had to say and Wondering’s suggestion that Monroe and Trumbull help “defray the costs associated with enlarging both treatment plants” is a good one.

    Bpt appears to have a very strong bargaining position, yet Finch is going to cave in for some quick up front money. Can someone, anyone, make an argument for Finch’s position or failing that at least explain what his thinking is? Right now, this just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  8. JBR,

    I won’t defend Finch’s position, but will explain what his thinking is … which isn’t much to begin with …

    His priority is to close the budget deficit by any means necessary and replenish the Fund Balance asap … He wants to do this ONLY to avoid the Financial Review Board at any point during his term …

    If you haven’t noticed, the Finch Administration is NOT proactive at all …

  9. *** Does Finch still work part-time for BRBC, seems like it? Thinking in the short term is going to really come back to hurt Bpt. taxpayers in the future after Finch is no longer Mayor. Lets hope the council has enough sense to take their time to get all their questions answered, instead of Finch getting the council president to rally up votes for this budget fixer-upper that could slow down any future development due to city sewage capacity. This Finch, city admin. is in a complete panic & is going to be coming up with all types of quick-fix ideas, now ’til the new fiscal year July 1, 2009! *** OIB you havn’t seen anything yet! ***

  10. I think we should all contact our council people and express our displeasure with this sewer deal. Don’t look for McCarthy to lead the charge protecting our interests.
    There is one thing that Finch has not let out and for good reason. The city at the present time can not Bond for capital Funds. It is my understanding that our Bond rating has fallen below A-minus which means we can not borrow or Bond for funds.
    What this means is that if we needed to Bond for upgrades to the city sewage plants right now we Could Not do it. Thus we would be putting up with flooded streets and shit flowing into Long Island Sound everytime we had a heavy rain. What would Scinto, Monroe and Trumbull do when this happens? The answer is easy they would keep flushing and we would keep flooding and Finch and Company would be looking for something else to sell. BTW where is our Bond Council Stafstrom?

  11. Yahooy; You can bet there is a benefit to Timpanelli on this deal. Remember he is a Trumbullite. There is also a benefit coming when the city gives away the Mechanics & Farmers Building. This guy is like the teflon Don. He has been getting a huge salary for 20 years for doing nothing. Maybe decisions like this that are made by the downtown business district is why development downtown is dead.

  12. The Oracle of Omaha Steaks

    The Oracle predicts that Bridgeport will be shoveling the Shit against the Tide for many years to come with this deal.

    My blue eyes are turning brown-eyed with all the shit we’ve been force-fed over the years.

    I didn’t know that John Fabrizi taught Drivers Ed.

    Is the name Timpanelli or Pimpanelli?

  13. This is one of the few times that Bob Scinto might actually NEED to work with Bridgeport to complete a deal.

    Does anyone in the mayor’s office understand the significance of this? Has anyone developed a negotiating strategy around it?

    Nevermind, I know the answer!

  14. From my experiences with the City–here is their negotiating strategy:

    Cancel the first scheduled “negotiation”

    Show up late for the second
    Show up unprepared
    Make a bogus offer that makes no sense
    Agree to disagree and leave

    Come back for another session?
    Ok–Show up late again
    Show up unprepared
    Reiterate your demands from the first session that made no sense
    Make up lies and yell–try to look important
    Blame the “other guy” from the City who is not there
    Agree to disagree
    Leave and blame the other party for stonewalling or failing to negotiate in good faith.

    Go have steak and booze on the City expense card.

    Think you’ll get a good Sewage Deal? Don’t bet on it.

  15. Seems to me that Finch is more interested in getting a good deal for Timpanelli then he is ensuring that the interests of the City are protected. Does anyone else feel this way too?

  16. It’s official: ALL OIB Bloggers are urged to have a “COOL YULE”. ho, ho, ho

    Remember, Bridgeport is at the heart of the emerging Suburban Ponderosa where every computer becomes a factory-without-a-smokestack. Like The Joker (in Batman, the movie) says: “ya gotta think of the future”.

  17. Yahooy: You are right on the money and I mean right on the money. Finch worked for Timpanelli at a rate of $65K a year for a practically no-show job. Finch may be thinking 3 years down to road when we can finally get rid of him and the rest of his administration.

  18. Yahooy here is another deal these guys have working; put the Mechanics & Farmers building out to bid now, hold off on the new master plan until the Mechanics and Farmers is sold.
    When the new Master plan is passed downtown gets a Village Designation and qualifies for Federal money. You now re-sell Mechanics & Farmers for a healthy profit to a developer that wants to build a larger building with Federal help. Another pay to play deal. Watch how this develops (play on words) This is one of the reasons Finch is putting his people on Planning & Zoning.

  19. The M&F building was acquired through a tax delinquency of about $2 million. It is being offered at a minimum bid of $350,000. What do you bet the previous owner (D’Addario?) picks it up for a song and then makes a windfall after Wondering’s scenario? I realize the property has lain fallow for ten+ years and needs a lot of remediation, but it’s still a (st)deal for the successful bidder.
    Those suburbanites must think their shit don’t stink.

  20. Lennie, could you post the names and phone numbers or e-mail addresses of the City Council members or provide an easy link so we can weigh in on issues such as this Scinto deal?

  21. Yahooy, #29:

    If your definition of involved means access to and influence over the city’s top elected official, then I’d say he’s probably “involved”.

  22. Hey Lennie;
    Here’s an unholy trinity for you. Put me on the Fabrizi-Testa team on this sewage deal. The Finch plan stinks! We are going to give up a guaranteed lifetime revenue stream to pick up some front-loaded revenue. It make no sense whatsoever. With guaranteed taxes, we could creatively borrow against that and use that money to finance some operating expenses. So with some creativity we can cover current expenses and not surrender the long-term benefit. Joe Ganim and Jerry Barron could put this together in their sleep. But all of this assumes that the Fabulous one has his facts straight and is talk out of his

  23. Lennie: Check this out from the ctpost. It looks like we beat the ctpost in reporting something important to OIB members (See comment #9) who should start exploring for another web browser. I’m using Mozilla.

    BTW City Kitty, don’t confuse Mozilla with Mazola.
    Mazola is the latino’s most favorite cooking oil. Mozilla Firefox is a web browsing tool.


  24. I am still waiting for the pink slip over here at Lying Terrace.

    I have a solution and a good tradeoff. Even if the City takes a hit I would gladly take however many tons of shit from Monroe and Trumbull as long as the city of Bridgeport can send some shit back to those towns namely Andy None and Paul Pimpanelli.

  25. *** Oh Lennie, don’t forget to remind all OIB bloggers of the holiday pizza party @ Two Boots, coming soon! Maybe this time more will show & wear blog name tags so we’ll know who’s on first? Oh by the way, I like their clam pie or sausage & mushrooms. “Question”, do we also have to bring a toy for any children’s organizations for Xmas? ***


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