Forum To Flush Out Issues, Plus: Amann Speaks For $120K

What’s going on with the controversial proposal to tie a sewer line from Monroe to Trumbull that’s hooked into Bridgeport? An effort is at hand to build public support for this thorny issue.

Quick background: Shelton-based developer Robert Scinto has a plan to relocate the Jewish Home for the Elderly from Fairfield to property he owns in Monroe. In order for the construction deal to work with all three towns sharing the property tax revenue, Monroe must tie into the Trumbull/Bridgeport system. Monroe does not have a wastewater treatment system.

Proponents say this is regionalization at its best with the city reaping several million in tax revenue.

Hold on a minute say opponents. The money’s not enough and the city’s already stretched sewage treatment system cannot stand the extra load. A public forum will take place Jan. 29 to thrash over the various issues. Panel members include OIB friend George Estrada, former director of Public Facilities for Bridgeport. I’m interested to hear George’s take on this. Downtown developer Phil Kuchma, who’s done wonders with his Bijou Square project, says it’s a crappy deal. He will definitely be there to express his opposition. See details below:

The Downtown Task Force presents:

The Impact of Regional Development on Downtown Bridgeport

January 29 – 4:00-5:30 pm

Golden Hill United Methodist Church

Enter from Golden Hill Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

This event will focus on whether a proposed project in a neighboring community is a good example of a comprehensive regional planning approach.

This event will feature presentations that consider both sides of this important issue, a panel discussion followed by Q&A from the audience.

Paul S. Timpanelli, President and CEO of the BRBC
Bridgeport, CT

George Estrada, Associate Vice President for Facilities,
University of Bridgeport

Robert D. Scinto, Chairman of R.D. Scinto, Inc.
Shelton, CT

Michael E. Feeney, CFO City of Bridgeport, Chairman WPCA
Bridgeport, CT

Anne Pappas-Phillips, Moderator

January 29, 2009 4:00-5:30pm Golden Hill United Methodist Church

Located at the top of Golden Hill Street St. across from City Hall

To register for the presentation please email

There is no charge to attend. Accessibility for handicapped individuals is available from the parking lot on Golden Hill Street adjacent to the Church

‘I Speak For Moolah’

I thought the point of Bridgeport native Jim Amann bailing out of the State House to run for governor was to avoid being saddled with this budget mess. The former House Speaker has cut himself a sweetie pie of a deal with new Speaker Chris Donovan. He will serve as a special adviser to Donovan for $120k.

That means every time Donovan screws up we can blame Jimmy. So when Jimmy’s on the stump (he’ll soon be announcing his guber candidacy in Bridgeport) reminding us about all the wonderful things he did in the legislature we can remind him of all the crappy advice he’s giving Don Speaker. Say hello to the new consiglieri.

Hey, look what I did

Yeah, yeah; there goes Lennie hawking his book again. I’ll be at The Bookworm, 968 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford at 11 a.m. on Saturday for a signing. Come see us. Click here to view my appearance with David Carson on the FOX affiliate in Hartford.



  1. Who is the Downtown Task Force?

    Timpanelli lives in Trumbull. Scinto in Milford. Estrada lives in the North End and U.B. is in the South End. Feeney? I don’t know where he lives. Typical Bridgeport Circle Jerk without a Pivot Person. Only good thing about this event is that it is being held at Golden Hill United Methodist Church. The only church located in DOWNTOWN!!!

  2. Hey Ripper, get out of the way and give me a rip at this.
    Feeney lives in Stratford and Anne Phillips in the North End.
    Phillips is a favorite of Finch and he has tried appointing her to various land-use boards over the objections of the Ethics Commission.
    Scinto built one building downtown and then took a hike for the suburbs.
    And Estrada isn’t going to make waves so if anything he at most will be a voice of caution. His old boss Fabrizi is in favor of this if the numbers make any better sense so he is not going over the deep end on this.
    It looks like the deck is stacked so much in one direction that it would be like shoveling shit against the tide!
    I am hearing rumors that the deal is teetering already because the economy is making it more and more difficult to make sense out of the numbers.
    And who exactly do they expect to attend this meeting at four o’clock in the afternoon?
    They are going to open the floodgates with businesses from out of town interested in short-term gains and long-term losses.

  3. This sewer deal is nothing more than a screwing for Bridgeport. This effort is being led by Timpanelli, a man who in 20 years of heading the downtown effort has produced nothing.
    This is more about opening the route 25 corridor in Monroe to futher development using our sewer system.
    I have consulted an engineer who informed me that Scinto can build a stand-alone sewage processing operation for the elderly home that will process the waste and leech it off as groundwater. All he needs is a DEP permit.
    Finch had better wake up or we will be getting screwed again. Is Finch aware that the downtown businesses cannot use their bathrooms during a heavy rain? Is he aware that water bubbles up out of the manhole covers during heavy rains and high tide? Of course he is aware but he is more concerned with getting his suburban friends what they want. Where the hell is the council?

  4. A crappy deal indeed. Why is it that regionalization always is a good idea only when Bridgeport gets the dirty end of the stick? Wondering–if Scinto can indeed build a waste-treatment station on the property, then let him do that. I’ve been of the opinion for some time the whole sewage treatment issue is a federal issue (since the effluent runs into Long Island Sound) and the federal gov’t should provide the funding for these facilities.

  5. It looks like this event on the 29th is to air the issues of regional development and the impact on Bridgeport. Those impacts can be positive and negative.

    I read the Downtown Master Plan and Action Strategy Report that created the Downtown Task Force.
    It seems they only have one mission … help make the Downtown a strong, vibrant transit-oriented city center. All of the downtown’s major stakeholders are on that Task Force; stakeholders including businesses, property owners, residents of the downtown and government officials. There are two co-chairs. Paul Antinozzi moved his architectural business from Stratford to the Downtown. Estrada lives in Bridgeport and works at UB.

    So show up on the 29th in the late afternoon and see what happens. We all might learn something. Better yet, we might find that there is something we can all do to help Bridgeport become that strong, vibrant transit-oriented city center.

    I am watching the pre-inauguration activities. Obama and now Joe Biden are talking about a new spirit of cooperation, collaboration and success. I am sure Tuesday January 20th at noon will be the first ‘new’ day of the rest of our lives.

    Maybe the 29th we can all figure out how we can strengthen Bridgeport together.

  6. You can count on countdown to be down with any scam that the BRBC is running. Talk about carrying the water for Pimpanelli and Finch!
    What does relocating the Jewish home for the elderly to Monroe from Fairfield have to do with the mission of “help make the Downtown a strong, vibrant transit-oriented city center” unless you think it is a positive to have more CNA’s taking more buses to get to work at low-paying non-union jobs further from Bridgeport!
    Or maybe it has everything to do with countdown sucking up to the BRBC in an effort to get herself one good-paying job with the DSSD.
    10-9-8-7-6-5- …

  7. Bottom line … we need the factories back and the businesses booming … 15 years ago how many thriving factories were in Bpt … how many Carpenter Steels and Raybestoses were there … UConn should buy out UB and we’d have a real college here and the kids would be flocking downtown looking for some nightlife … remember when UB was a real school and you couldn’t get into Barnaby’s on the weekend??? Got all these renovated condo projects and who is gonna live in them???

  8. Bpts Finest as long as the US has a 38% tax rate for business there will never be any large-scale manufacturing in the US let alone Bridgeport. Our televisions for the most part are not made here; neither are our small appliances. Cars are made here but the companies are foreign born. Most of the clothes we wear are made outside the USA. The toys our kids play with are made in China and the list goes on.
    The stimulus package is not going to bring back jobs in manufacturing. This package may help the retail industry but that’s it. What we need to get manufacturing back is a business tax that can compete with foreign countries and that is not scheduled to happen.
    Let me ask one and all, if you own a manufacturing business and the tax rate in Ireland is 10% there compared to 38% here where are you going to set up your business?

  9. They dropped the tax rate to make movies and the stars were out in Bpt. … let’s figure out a way to make it more attractive for the factories to set up shop here again.

  10. Finest we could do that but we can’t get rid of the Federal Business tax. The biggest drawback here in Connecticut is the cost of doing business. One of the major stumbling blocks is the local utility costs which are out of sight when you compare them to the costs down South. The other factor is this damned state taxes everything but that could be worked out if we ever got a major manufacturer interested. Pleasure discussing it with you.

  11. The sewer deal is a win-win for all three municipalities. All this talk of the sewage plant at capacity is overkill from what I hear.

    Also- I wonder what kind of backroom deal was made between Amman and Donovan. I can just see the conversation between the two where if Jim steps aside and hails Donovan as the speaker that in return Jim would get a no-show Hartford job at $120k as he runs for governor.

    It is really sickening. In these economic times, can we afford to give Jim this b/s job while he is obviously busy running for the state’s top job?

  12. *** Just maybe due to the stimulus “$” that may trickle down towards Fairfield County in the possible future? The State of CT, Monroe, Trumbul, Bpt. and any other nearby town that would benefit & might be interested could all chip in a certain “%” towards large new state-of-the-art (thinking green) sewage waste treatment & transfer plants that could service all involved with room for future developments too! Split the DoDo-pie in #4 pieces @ cost, topped with (Fed. Grants) that would apply towards things like energy conservation from the structure of the plants themselves (solar power, breakdown of waste gases into energy for lights, EPA, etc.). A state-of-the-art facility that can be used as a future model for others to follow & improve on as this world moves further towards conservation in general! That to me would be one of the far & few reasons for maybe thinking of going ahead with a plan concerning the future of Bpt’s entire sewage waste system. Unfortunatly what’s on the table for review @ this time is a shitty deal for Bpt. that’s being pushed by Mayor Finch for a quick “$” fix for nothing more than a big P/R gimmick for the next fiscal budget come July 1st ’09. With the final upcoming layoffs, projected savings so far on both city & BOE side, as well as a few more city property sales and the upcoming increases on the city citizens’ real-estate properties by 30% due to the re-val. The city’s heavy “$” bleeding has slowed down considerably, if some type of “$” help does come down the pike from the state by way of the Feds. Chances are the new mil rate come July 1st ’09 could stay the same or be reduced somewhat, depending on what type of “$” cushion the Mayor & city council may be looking for? Remember, you can’t put “all” of your savings eggs alone in just the ’09 budget basket! Food for thought, Mayor would love to lower prop. taxes by $300. even if it’s for #1 budget year & City Council elections are this coming Nov. ’09! *** What’s going to be in your wallet & will it help you to forget the just past? ***

  13. Mr. Wondering … I’ve always felt that if we can somehow bring a car maker, or a motorcycle maker … hell even a moped maker with gas prices so crazy at times and give them the breaks they need through feds, state and city … then we would have a thriving business that would put our people to work … we all thought the casino would have done this but of course we now see that the northern casinos are running into troubles with cutbacks and layoffs … and of course if only UB were a real college the downtown would be alive with students and their parents at the local establishments … nice chatting with you sir.

  14. Amann … seriously … really? Kiss the Governor’s parking space goodbye. This is the personification of the rancid backroom deal. Donavan you have just tainted yourself for the foreseeable future. Trust me, you can’t get appointed to a position or run as Lieutenant Governor if your buddy just painted himself as a sleazy, opportunistic Hartford insider. He could have gotten re-elected as a legislator and remained speaker, but apparently there’s not enough money in public service for him I guess. He and his staff did not leave Hartford, he figured out a way to bilk taxpayers out of more money. Amann is not smart enough to be an advisor, he needed many advisors to be Speaker. I am shocked that Donavan traded his integrity for this. It is really disheartening that we are finally getting the hope and change we need in Washington and Hartford is just the same old cesspool it was.

    Speaking of cesspool, countdown I agree with most of what you said. I also see some of Wondering’s points. My point is that if we are going to be an example of how regionalism works, we are not going about it in the right way. Regionalism is one of the only hopes that Cities have right now. Don’t prove the critics wrong by showing that there can never be any cooperation or a win-win situation. Smarten the hell up. Stop pitting suburb against City or we will all go to hell in a handbasket. The goal is to make it work, not blow it up. Paraphrasing, don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.

  15. I am hoping that this 29th forum will air the major issues, pro and con. I am also hoping that concerned folks will attend and learn. I intend to be there to listen and learn.

    As I walk around downtown I see the manhole covers bob up and down after a downpour. It is just plain wrong. That is a sewer/storm separation issue. New infrastructure has to be put in place to separate the sewage from the storm water. If a regional development can provide the annual revenue to pay off the WPCA bonds it will take to fix that problem once and for all, I am all for it. That would be a win/win. The ‘burbs get a development, their multi-year revenue guarantees the bonds that the WPCA would have to float, and the properties south of Route 1 have a shot at normalcy.

    Now to grow Bridgeport’s tax base means major development in the downtown and along its major transit corridors. I am not sure if both sewage treatment plants can handle that projected growth. I just think the issue of storm/sewer separation is different than whether the Bridgeport treatment facilities have the room to grow Bridgeport’s grand list.

    If the Planning and Zoning Commission finally finishes that new zoning map and regs, some smart engineering wizard could run the calculations on a full build-out for Bridgeport’s downtown and major transit corridors. Then we will know what we don’t know right now.

    I am looking forward to the 29th and am going to be listening hard to what the presenters say.

    This isn’t a one-shot revenue issue. It isn’t even a five-year revenue issue. This is finding a way to guarantee the bond financing to do Bridgeport’s infrastructure improvements.

  16. Question … how come Shelton can have a main strip with chain restaurants and businesses … Milford the same … Rte 111 in Monroe is building a nice revenue stream from a road of the same … and BPT … I wouldn’t call Boston Ave. a revenue-stream road … how ’bout the Post Rd in Fairfield? … and so on and so forth.

  17. countdown should change their name to Meltdown.

    How can you have a T.O.D. when you have an intermodal that is an extermodal taking people out of town? So much for the M & F building being our Grand Central.

    Looks like you want to be the new Downtown Gunga Din.

    Word to the wise is don’t let Paul pimp you out on the corner of Main and John. He’s no Mac Daddy.

  18. Countdown, regionalization will never work. The ‘burbs especially Trumbull are used to screwing Bridgeport on a regular basis. They now get their sewage treated at a lower price than the residents of Bridgeport do. Here is what we have gotten from Trumbull:
    1. Trumbull Shopping Park and its traffic and crime
    2. Healthsouth Surgery Center at Main & Old Town
    3. The new Education Center whose back wall faces Old Town Rd
    4. The industrial center on Old Town & Chopsey Hill
    5. The apartment complex on Old Town Rd
    6. The multiplex movies and Sikorsky plant on Quarry Rd
    7. The senior apartments on Huntington Tpke that contribute to the flooding in the Hooker School area
    and that’s just off the top of my head.
    We have been getting screwed regularly by Trumbull and by Mr. “do nothing for 20 years” Paul Timpanelli.
    Regionalization of the sewer plants here in Bridgeport; do you honestly think the 2 towns you mention are going to help finance expanding the sewer plants here? They don’t need to they have Finch and Timpanelli in their corner.

  19. In my opinion, Bridgeport let their regional neighbors stomp all over it over the years. Past administrations let the ‘burbs accomplish that impressive list of developments that Wondering ticked off. However I think the City is on the verge of changing that dynamic. At least I think it’s on the five-yard line.

    Bridgeport had to put is land-use policy house in order. That is what the Urban Land Institute effort showed all of us in 2005. Basically, our land use policies and regs sucked big time. It’s in that report. Go read it. Again.

    The “let’s make a deal” real estate development mentality instead of real solid planning and solid regulations made this City weak and the ‘burbs strong.

    So the land-use policy overhaul, albeit way too slow for my likings, needs to come to a conclusion. The Planning and Zoning Commissioners need to put that new Zoning Map and regs in place and then stick to it. The ZBA can’t allow stupid things to happen through the ‘back door.’ Then the build-out infrastructure analysis can be done and the engineering calculations made.

    In my opinion, the region will continue to stomp all over Bridgeport until its land-use house is in order and the City proclaims what infrastructure is needed to satisfy its own growth needs. Then there needs to be room for growth in the region because our residents need jobs, lots of good-paying jobs.

    Connecticut gets caught in its own shorts way too often. The entire state of Connecticut is equivalent in land mass to Los Angeles County and a little of Alameida County. For all practical purposes, this whole state is equivalent to an urban county. In other parts of the country, Monroe and Trumbull would be neighborhoods of a central city with a couple of seats on the City Council. So instead of thinking small, Bridgeport has to think strong, put its land-use policies in place and then play a real game of regional poker through a different regional structure. The Greater Bridgeport Regional Planning Agency needs to morph into something much more effective, like what has been done in the Hartford Region and the New Haven Region. They are light-years ahead of the Bridgeport Region in infrastructure planning and development and they get much more financial help from Hartford to make their plans a reality.

  20. The problem is we are on the wrong five-yard line.

    We have the infrastructure in many ways. However we have leaders and managers who do not know how to structure deals. Eg: Steal Point, Canyon-Johnson, Downtown North and the Litany of Aint’s continues. The much-ballyhooed ULI never taught us how to do that. They borrowed our watch and told us what time it was.

    Check out the BRBC website and see how out of date it is. It’s like Timpanelli’s singing group. Yester Year!!!

  21. Well the state democrats are at it again. There is a deficit and what is the first thing they do? They create a new job for ex-speaker Amann at $120K per year. These politicians local, state and federal are of the mind screw the taxpayer and let’s keep spending their money.
    The state creates jobs for their friends during a deficit.
    The city creates jobs for friends during a deficit.
    The Feds just print more money, blow smoke up everybody’s skirt and tell us they will create jobs. To date the bailout has cost over 50,000 jobs due to layoffs. The stimulus package is BS it has not worked in the past and it will not work in the future.
    The Feds are going to create 3 million jobs with infrastructure monies. That may be but most of those jobs will be union construction jobs. The laid-off factory worker will still be laid off after all is said and done.


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