Ganim, City Council Members Spar Over “Tax Relief” Dollars

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

Mayor Joe Ganim’s last-minute effort to give youths more to do this summer is embroiled in a battle over spending $2.1 million the City Council intended for tax relief.

The Council’s budget committee rejected the mayor’s proposal to draw $250,000 from that $2.1 million reserve to give to still-to-be-identified private programs for teenagers and young adults. Monday’s final vote was three to three, with Councilman Scott Burns, a committee chairman, breaking the initial tie and voting “no.”

Ganim’s staff argued the expense could be an indirect form of tax relief if getting more young people off of the streets during the warmer months reduced crime and police overtime. The money would either augment existing youth activities–including trips, counseling, job training and employment–or provide new ones.

Full story here.



  1. Really, he knows no shame. He is looking for this money but doesn’t have a plan or a clue as to what to do with it.
    Just using taxpayers dollars to fuel his Public Relations campaign. Steals from the poor and gives to the rich.

    1. The committee was correct to reject the mayor’s request. The new fiscal year hasn’t even begun and the administration is already proposing funding for new, unbudgeted, programs. That’s a great example of the lack of fiscal discipline that contributed to the fiscal mess Bridgeport is in.
      I’m sure the arm-twisting is already underway. Chances are by Monday the mayor will have the votes he needs to approve the transfer. It will be interesting to see how the Council votes and how the individual members explain their actions.

    1. To his credit, Mayor Ganim actually followed the city charter and sought council approval for the transfer, a legal requirement the last administration generally ignored.

  2. It’s a federal housing project and a community unto itself. It pays no property taxes or appreciable PiLOT and its residents are heavily dependent on entitlements. The City provides enough, including police services and education.
    Let Blumenthal and Murphy figure out how to address the problems and how to pay for activities, not the taxpayers of Bridgeport.

  3. This morning, Mayor Ganim’s office was contacted to confirm he was on his way to the first of four high school graduations today. His office stated “it isn’t on his calendar.”

    I was informed Gina Malheiro confirmed his attendance in February and there were supporting emails. Oops!

    He did show up at Bassick’s, Fairchild Wheeler’s and Harding’s. He had no prepared remarks and spoke off the cuff but his speeches were in no way profound or memorable.

    Minutes after he finished speaking at each ceremony he would quietly slither away while the presentations were being made.

    He just looked completely unenthused and annoyed. When he left Fairchild Wheeler’s graduation, he directed John Gomes to sit in his chair in the front row.

    How do these individuals have the audacity to sit in the front row and make their speeches after they have thrown the BPS into complete financial turmoil by flat-funding our schools and disregarding the needs of our over 21,000 students? How?

  4. By the way, Ben Walker attended Bassick’s, Fairchild Wheeler’s and Harding’s graduation. Sauda Baraka attended Fairchild Wheeler’s graduation as her last child walked the stage. Of course she spent the rest of the day with her son and family. I attended Fairchild Wheeler’s and Harding’s graduation. Dennis Bradley did not attend any of these.

    I know that Ben, Sauda and I did not attend Central’s graduation tonight, therefore I have no idea if he attended at least this one.

  5. I was able to confirm Dennis Bradley, the Chair of the Bridgeport Board of Education did not attend a single one of the four high school graduations. Not one.

    1. Len, please give the names of the 3 yes, 3 no votes. I’m more interested in the three who voted no, that’s the sign of how a council member should make decisions. I have hope. Please give the names.

  6. Lighthouse-Youth Services is the City program for after-school and summertime activities, isn’t it? They receive about $1.7 Million from the City each year PLUS another $850,000 estimated annually from families who face fees AND are beneficiaries in many years of another $2 Million annually from State Grants. (But City Council does not get to see all those numbers “officially” because Lighthouse maintains a separate account with the City for some poorly explained reason and that account is not revealed to the public (as far as I can see) in the monthly reports or in the CAFR as separate funds. And which body, if any, provides oversight on this “CITY” program that reached maybe 3,000 youth of 22,000? Where are the “watchdogs?”

    And where were youth programs even mentioned, much less a $250,000 summer 2016 priority in the Mayor’s comments to the BRBC, in his budget document to the CC, or in any manner until this last moment? Maybe, as he has done with public school financing, he would invite all those young people with “nothing to do this summer” to come to his office, as he did with a grammar school class recently. Maybe he can show them his FIVE-YEAR PLAN, because he hasn’t shown that to the taxpayers, has he? Plans? Priorities? Scheduling? Monitoring what is working and what isn’t? It is so busy the Mayor has no time for serious observers like ‘yours truly,’ who has never been favored with a meeting where serious discussion can occur about serious City issues. Time will tell.

  7. To re-post an earlier comment.

    The city needs to exploit its untapped resources in pursuit of adequate funding for summer and year-round youth recreation/education and employment programs. Here are some “untapped” resources:

    1. UI: The city hosts most of the region’s power supply infrastructure, to the detriment of our overall tax base (devaluation and crowding-out effects). In lieu of a “devaluation” surcharge that should be exacted by Bridgeport in this regard, UI should be asked to make a major contribution to the city for use toward youth recreation/education/employment needs. (Truly, the legal option of levying such a surcharge by the city should be a legislative priority of our GA delegation in any event, with part of the surcharge earmarked for these purposes.)

    2. PSEG, et al.: Ditto the above regarding PSEG, et al., which operate super-regional power generation plants on the Bridgeport WATERFRONT.

    3. SHU: SHU should be asked to pony up for their deleterious effects on Bridgeport’s quality of life and tax base, and especially for their theft of/stress upon city services. Their academic, manpower, and infrastructure resources should be availed to the city for assistance with youth needs in addition to $ provided for youth services funding.

    4. Wheel-a-brator, O & G, et al.: Surcharges should be levied on the regional trash-to-energy and other regional waste-storage/waste-recycling operations in the city in the same context as in 1 above.

    5. Miscellaneous non-profits hosted by the city: All the tax-exempt organizations hosted by the city, with the possible exceptions of the hospitals/health clinics, should be asked to contribute to the city’s fund for youth needs, in lieu of taxes. They should be able to contribute cash or in-kind services in state-licensed/approved youth programs to the extent where that would be appropriate.

    There are many unexplored/untapped sources of revenue for all city needs that can and should (MUST!) be developed and tapped through formal legislative measures. In the meantime, these sources should be identified and approached for contributions in meeting the city’s needs for summer youth programs/employment opportunities.

    Bridgeport cannot afford to be shy or timid in “shaking the tree” for short and long-term revenue needs. Any community that hosts businesses that are zoned out of surrounding towns has a “captive audience” that is ripe for exploitation, in the same context as they exploit the zoning vulnerability of their politically/economically compromised hosts.

    Determining what is needed for youth programs in Bridgeport, short- and long-term, and exploiting our resources for goodwill “contributions” in lieu of taxes that will be levied after economic impact studies and legislation can be accomplished pursuant to such levies, should be a no-brainer for a city in Bridgeport’s situation.


    1. But at least we have an airport. Can’t these kids just fly somewhere in their airplanes? OR is the airport infrastructure to the detriment of our overall tax base and theft of/stress upon city services.

  8. Kudos to the three NO’s.

    Dennis Bradley did not attend Central’s graduation. I believe not one of the BOE members attended Central’s graduation. I would say over two thousand people attended Central’s graduation. It was awesome!

    I did see Maria P at Harding’s. Excellent, touchy and memorable speeches by the students. Hooray for Harding, Hooray!


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