Ganim Prepares Budget Rollout In Campaign Season

Ganim operates building demolition controls in West End. Get ready for more.

Is it good or bad karma to release the city budget on April Fools’ Day? Historically mayors submit budget proposals to the City Council the first Monday in April, or in this case April 1.

According to the City Charter “Not later than the first Tuesday in April of each year, the mayor shall present to the city council a proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year.”

On April 2, Ganim will deliver his annual address to the business community at the University of Bridgeport’s John Cox Center, 244 University Avenue. These tend to be feel-good sessions extolling city progress while providing a few budget highlights before a couple of hundred members of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.

It’s also fashionable to host a reelection fundraiser in the weeks after the business community address to leverage a built-in audience.

Four years ago during Ganim’s mayoral comeback, business community dollars overwhelmingly supported incumbent Bill Finch who lost the Democratic primary to Ganim despite outspending him 2-to-1. While Finch spent about $600K, Ganim, a relentless fundraiser, had plenty of dough to make his case. In these kinds of races it’s generally not what the incumbent spends it’s about what opponents spend. Do they have enough to compete?

Ganim has raised about $200K for his mayoral reelection without tapping the business community. That will come soon enough.

In a reelection year Ganim will not raise taxes. Will he cut them a bit?

This would be Ganim’s third straight year without raising taxes after his first budget upon returning to office included a revaluation of property that spiked taxes in some neighborhoods, particularly higher-assessed Black Rock. Finch had delayed revaluation to avoid the howling in an election year. In this election cycle Ganim will not live and die by Black Rock agitation. He did not have that vote four years ago; he did not have it in his gubernatorial primary against Ned Lamont when he carried the city despite a mauling by Black Rock voters; he won’t have it this year either where State Senator Marilyn Moore, his chief opponent, figures to run up a large number.

The larger question for Ganim is his standing in the rest of the city leveraging the power of incumbency that will rely on several factors from finances, to public safety, to development and education.

PSEG’s power station under construction in the South End makes it taxpayer number 2.

In early March, led by PSEG’s $500 million Bridgeport Harbor Station, Ganim announced a five percent increase in the city’s grand list of taxable property that provides extra dough to hold the line on taxes–See 3 4 19 GRAND LIST DATA ATTACHMENT–as well as showcasing quality of life public improvements. Get ready for a lot of street paving this spring and summer. And ribbon cuttings for this, that and the other thing.

Meanwhile Moore is raising money in advance of the first quarter finance period that ends March 31. It will provide a measurement of her fundraising strength for a presumed Democratic primary in September.

Moore files candidacy paperwork.

State Rep. Charlie Stallworth, a former Ganim staffer, is also an announced candidate.

So far both Moore and Stallworth have been largely quiet challenging Ganim’s veracity on the campaign trail. There’s still time for that but one area to pick apart is the budget. Sooner or later the case must be made why voters should fire the incumbent. Without that there’s no compelling contrast to take him out. Issue savvy is key in these races.

Once Ganim submits his budget proposal it will be referred to the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee where most spending plan alterations will take place. Budget committee members: Denese Taylor-Moye, Maria Viggiano, Jeanette Herron, Mary McBride-Lee, Michael DeFilippo, Christina Smith, Nessah Smith.

After committee review and budget vote the spending plan goes to the full council for a vote before returning to the mayor for possible veto action. The mil rate will be officially set in June in advance of the budget year that begins July 1.

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12 comments

  1. Is there any money allocated in the budget rollout for future defense of lawsuits both criminal and civil, buyouts, backpay, etc. or is the City going to float bonds to acquire that kind of needed cash?? Just asking…..
    More to come…….

    1. Rich, the cost that the City pays for lawsuits and grievances plus the cost of outside law firms has always been a big secret because the City Council doesn’t ask that question. The City Council vote on all these expe but they are placed on the City Council’s Consent Calendar, the “Consent Calendar” items are usually passed as one item with no discussion, no debate. These lawsuits are farm out to big time donors to Democrats.

      1. No shit!!!! You are right. That’s why I am always asking the question: Council members, the newer ones:
        ARE YOU LISTENING??????
        When will any of you stand up and do what’s right for the people? If any if you need lessons on how to get media attention I can help you. You have a platform as elected officials which you can easily use on any day and as many days as you want to. You have nothing to lose. If you do for the people they will take notice.
        More to come…..,,

  2. Rich,
    What do you think of that? For a few days the City Clerk had announced a Pre-Budget Retreat (with breakfast and public invited) at 999 Broad on Saturday March 30, 2019. Then earlier this afternoon that meeting was canceled but that announcement had nothing to say about a re-schedule. And for sure it is not a re-schedule because while on the same date on the morning of March 30, 2019 it is a Special Meeting. WHAT DOES THAT PORTEND??
    Want to have a cup of coffee and discuss? 203-521-1930 Time will tell.

  3. Joe Ganin has presented three controversial budget but Joe Ganim does not have the balls to go out and try to build support fdor his budgets. Ganin dumps it into the City Council/Budget Committee. Joe Ganim is a COWARD. Joe Ganim is a COWARD. Joe Ganim is a COWARD. Joe Ganim is afraid to meet the people of Bridgeport. Joe Ganim and the rest of the Testa cowards go around with their PR tent with fake groundbreakings,fake announcements. Joe Ganim is a fake and a phony. And Mario Testa and the BPT DTC is part of the lies and hoodwinking coming from Ganim/ Testa/ Weldon and the puppets on the City Council. And then we have ALL the employees of The City of Bridgeport who are now fanning out to support TestaGanim. Nauseous.

  4. Lennie made it pretty clear when he wrote, “On April 2, Ganim will deliver his annual address to the business community at the University of Bridgeport’s John Cox Center, 244 University Avenue. These tend to be feel-good sessions extolling city progress while providing a few budget highlights before a couple of hundred members of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council”.
    “It’s also fashionable to host a reelection fundraiser in the weeks after the business community address to leverage a built-in audience.”

    The Pre-Budget Retreat (with breakfast and public invited) at 999 Broad on Saturday March 30, 2019 and the April 2, where Ganim will deliver his annual address to the business community at the University of Bridgeport are just feel good meetings.

  5. Ron,
    The “Pre-budget Retreat (with breakfast and public invited” has apparently been cancelled and replaced (same time and place) by a “Special Meeting”. Does the difference have anything to do with breakfast? Or a public invitation? If there are handouts or exhibits, will there be enough for distribution to the public? Time will tell.

  6. The CT Post is reporting the BPD Overtime Budget is currently forecasted to exceed the $5,000,000 budget by $1,900,000. Yes, $1,900,000 million.

    That is outrageous. If that ever happened on the Bridgeport Board of Education I would be urging the Superintendent to terminate the head of that department.

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