Former Mayor Joe Ganim accuses Mayor Bill Finch of concealing a “ticking tax hike” by not disclosing information from a revaluation of city property that was delayed last year. The revaluation company that conducted the initial work is now undergoing the exercise again for the budget year starting July 1, 2016. Ganim has issued a freedom of information request to the city. A Finch campaign spokesman says a “dishonest” Ganim is making up stories.
City officials argue there’s no logic to releasing property assessment information that was not implemented. In 2014 the state legislature and Governor Dan Malloy agreed to delay the state-mandated revaluation for two years including this election year, at the request of city officials.
“It is appalling that the Finch administration is proceeding with reassessment while it will not give out information available from the first reassessment analysis conducted by the same firm over a year ago,” says Ganim in a news release. “Mayor Finch is clearly hiding this information because he knows the 2016 reassessment is a ticking tax hike which could hit many homeowners hard and he does not want to disclose that information prior to the election.”
Statement from Finch Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest:
“It’s ironic that someone who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers, and whose corruption cost taxpayers millions more, would have the audacity to make this outlandish charge. This is just another desperate and dishonest charge from a desperate and dishonest candidate.”
Ganim said as mayor he would do the following:
• Release all available information to the City Council and the public.
• Review the reassessment as the first action item in a new term and work with state legislators to seek ways to smooth any projected tax increase from reassessment.
• Hold public budget sessions next year in neighborhoods around the city to explain both the budget and any mil rate change
“I will do everything in my power to keep taxes from rising, just like we kept property taxes from increasing for ten straight years when I was mayor,” said Ganim.
Ganim FOI to City Attorney’s Office:
Under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOI), please provide the following information regarding re-assessment and re-valuation of all residential property located in the City of Bridgeport:
1. All contracted Vision Appraisal real property residential home assessment information assembled for the City of Bridgeport by Vision Appraisal from 2012 to 2013 including a listing of all appraised home values by parcel, a listing of all residential assessment values derived off sales data, and a listing of all calculations regarding potential mill rates as a result of reassessment.
2. All emails and internal memorandum between City of Bridgeport and Vision appraisal regarding the proposed 2015 reassessment and the earlier proposed 2013 reassessment and all emails and memorandum between any member of the Mayors office to other parties regarding the proposed 2015 reassessment and the earlier proposed 2013 reassessment.
Please provide this information in readable electronic format within the required FOI timeline. Thank you.