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Finch: Vallas A Godsend, Malloy’s Budget Whacks City To The Bone

March 4th, 2013 · 13 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council

Mayor Bill Finch, celebrating a birthday, has a busy schedule today that includes heading to Hartford to testify at a legislative hearing on a proposed budget by Governor Dan Malloy the mayor says “whacked” the city “to the bone.” Finch appeared Monday morning for his regularly scheduled monthly interview with WICC’s Mike Bellamy. The mayor reiterated his support for Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas whose evaluation comes up tonight at a Board of Education meeting for a possible contract extension.

The mayor said “Vallas has been a godsend for the city … a national star paying attention to kids” like they’ve never seen from a school chief. Finch said he hopes Vallas stays around another two or three years. Finch urged parents to come to support Vallas at tonight’s school board meeting at City Hall.

On the subject of Malloy’s budget making its way through the legislature Finch said the “governor’s proposal didn’t make it easier for us” as Finch prepares his budget for submission to the City Council in about four weeks. The city is at the mercy of the legislative process in Hartford because so much of what happens there impacts the city’s budget. Malloy’s budget calls for the elimination of taxes on motor vehicles and millions more historically sent to the city in revenues from the state’s share of slot take from the two tribal nation gaming facilities. Finch said the loss from car revenue alone is close to $17 million. Finch and other chief executives from around the state are urging legislative leaders to put the brakes on Malloy’s car tax elimination.

The state budget process won’t be known for a few more months; as a result Finch said he will submit three different budget scenarios to the council, from status quo, to bad to worse.

Finch also said he’s hoping the state legislature delays the state-mandated revaluation on property this year as home values expect to drop that would require an increase in the mil rate to make up revenue shortfall.

Parental choice, public school choice is good for parents.


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13 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    How many of you have read the Comprehensive Annual Financial Review-2012? Lots of good information about the City, trends, long-term liabilities, etc. (And just possibly you might know whether that year closed with a surplus or deficit.)


    “The City follows the procedures outlined below in establishing its General Fund budget:
    * The Mayor shall submit to the City Council, no later than 120 days before July 1, the proposed operating and capital budgets.”

    One hundred twenty days before July 1, 2013 occurred on Saturday March 2. Does that make him late? Will Mayor Finch present to the City Council tonight? (Is it on the AGENDA?) Have you seen a Capital Budget prepared and presented to a public meeting in years? Have you tried to secure a copy of the Monthly Financial (expenses, revenues, variances) on line? Or in the City Clerk office by the 4th Friday of the following month as the Charter calls for?

    So the Mayor will provide us with three prospective budgets just as New Haven mayor DeStefano did. Perhaps all of the ideas presented to Bridgeport taxpayers are from Hartford or New Haven. And will the City Council Budget and Appropriations committee change their rules and let public question and comment while the special hearings are ongoing? IF NOT WHY NOT? Bob Curwen is history as Co-Chair with a memory. Perhaps the whole Council needs to attend those hearing to understand what they will be voting on. The voters will have a report card for them this year at Council Hearings. Maybe by listening and responding to voices from the community rather than merely from the Annex, they can become prepared for decision day on the budget in early May. And election day in November? Time will tell.

  • Jim Callahan

    Gee JML. This sounds like the announcer at the end of a multi-part Batman TV show back in the day leaving everyone on the emotional cliff and edge of their chairs to tune in again next time for the next chapter. The only thing missing is “Same bat time, same bat channel.”

  • BlackRockGuy

    Thompson is being paid out of the ed budget … money that is supposed to go to the kids.

  • Mojo

    *** Seems like the old “too little, too late” city approach this admin. is used to, no? *** WHAT’S LEFT IN YOUR WALLETS? ***

  • yahooy

    Finch is confused about Vallas. Yes, the kids will have a lot of nice spanking-new schoolhouses to sit in. Lots of very lucrative contracts going to whom? Ask. I think you would be surprised to see who is at the core of building contract negotiations. Then there is the food and nutrition contract. When he has time, Vallas may do something about educating our children.

  • Mojo

    *** New school buildings money has been allocated by the state usually in advance on a timetable drawing board controlled by the school buildings committee and state. Other than the BOE picks who sit on the board and have a vote along with some city council members, etc. the Supt. has little input in the new schools projects for the most part. O&G has been for the last few years the main choice for construction managers and advisers to the new school’s board. Even the Mayor has a limited voice and power over the school building’s committee at times. The state usually will kick in about 90% to 95% of the cost and the city 5% to 10% depending on the school type (grammar, high school, tech. or magnet type schools). As far as the nutritional food contract choices is concerned for the schools, the state has some say and who else is involved I really don’t know. *** IT’S EITHER MOVE ON TO STEP TWO OR GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING ON A CHOICE FOR SCHOOL SUPT. ***

  • yahooy

    So according to you, all contracts for new BOE construction have absolutely nothing to do with the mayor or the superintendent. We’re not that stupid, Mojo. Think before you make such ridiculous statements. We’re talking about Bridgeport, no? Time will tell.

    • Mojo

      *** I do not see anywhere in my blog where I wrote “all” contracts for new BOE construction have absolutely nothing to do with the Mayor or Supt.! They obviously have some input but not what you would expect, unless they both have had a major say in who actually sits on the new school board committee and their overall control over them. Also, a new school board committee is “not” picked every time a new Mayor or Supt. is elected or hired. So maybe “you” should “think and read” correctly before blogging your usual ridiculous negative statements on OIB, no? ***

  • Steven Auerbach

    Happy Birthday, Mayor! I hope they hold off on the reval. We need some good news!!!

  • John Marshall Lee

    Mojo knows more than squat on a number of issues. We need to listen better to former members of the City Council for they have lived a reality we guess at much of the time.
    In a separate column today, I suggest you look at the School Building Committee nine members. Where and when do they meet? Where are their minutes posted? How many projects are in construction but not yet occupied? How many are waiting for breaking ground? How many are on the drawing boards and have the State and local funds been authorized, approved or allocated? Are there any other Education construction projects being talked about in general? Can you put these facts together? It would be a gift to the whole community. The Building Committee includes three persons from the City Council, three from the Board of Ed, and three appointed by the Mayor. Maybe you can identify all the members and the date, time and place for their next gathering. Time will tell.

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