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Ganim Signs Budget, No Tax Increase

May 15th, 2018 · 2 Comments · City Budget, City Council, Education, Library, News and Events

Mayor Joe Ganim on Monday signed the City Council-approved $557.4 million spending plan for the budget year that begins July 1 with no tax increase. Ganim signed the budget surrounded by city officials. See video above.

“Due to prior year reductions in state funding, my administration knew it would be challenging to balance this FY2019 budget,” said Ganim in a prepared statement. “Public safety along with education and enrichment continue to be my priorities for our residents and wouldn’t be compromised. Through rigorous actions taken by the city council following their budget hearings and additional savings in operating costs developed by our administration we were able to fund the Library and Board of Education with an additional $2.7 million, all while holding the line on property taxes. Through the efforts of my administrative team and the council this budget finances the services and resources our residents and students need for improved quality of life.”

City Council President, Aidee Nieves added, “The Budget & Appropriation Committee, with the support of many council members that attended multiple budget hearings worked diligently throughout the budget process to produce a budget that was able to close the 6.7-Million-dollar gap, and provide $1 Million to the Board of Education without the risk of cutting constituent services.”

Still, education advocates contend the mayor and City Council have not done enough to support school spending.

Budget highlights, according to finance officials.

– Holds the line on property tax mil rate

– Fully funds public safety essentials with a new recruit class to join the police department after academy training

– Provides municipal appropriation increase to Board of Education budget of $1Million

– Achieves $5Million per year in savings from refinancing debt

– State proposed increase to Board of Education budget of $2-3Million

– Including alliance funds to support evacuee students from Puerto Rico

– Mayoral commitment to save $2.3Million per year in attrition and cost savings

– Funds to upgrade and modernize technology and communications that will increase public safety systems

– Eliminates over $2Million in non-essential budget lines as analyzed by City Council and City Administration

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    The Mayor crosses the fiscal finish line!! Another staged event?? Looking side to side rather than into the camera where taxpayers purportedly will be hanging on his every word? Not. Irrelevant in the main as years of padding positions allow him to leave them unfilled and claim budget skill that is a sham.

    Ben Barnes, present in Bridgeport last evening to explain to the Budget and Appropriations group what is involved for a City that otherwise qualifies for eligibility as a Tier 3 City financially in applying for attention of the Municipal Accountabiity Review Board commented that Bridgeport’s status with below our own standard “City fund balance” relative to our ever growing operating budget and annual turn to bond markets, along with bond rating is not as positive as City leaders would have it. Can we find 14 of 20 City Council persons to consider getting some advantage from this legislation for Bridgeport rather than having Hartford enjoy the majority of benefits? More than a balanced budget (which can be engineered in various ways) we need balanced access to all of the info that Finance and OPM hold and maintain. A conservative, experienced board from State MARB might be just the ticket to let some fresh air (and solid opinion) enter what passes for fiscal dialogue? Time will tell.

  • John Marshall Lee

    I re-viewed the You Tube above with the King in his Counting House reflecting on the budget total, how it compared to a previous year and getting the City Council to dial this one up for their next meeting where the Mayor declares that the City Council will set the Mil Rate? Does the Mayor believe that the Council sets the mil rate? What if they assembled without him for a brief meeting, properly noticed of course, and went into caucus. What if they came out proposed a mil rate of 25 (rather than current rate) got a second and voted 20-0 for a mil rate of 25?? Would anything happen on this account? The setting of the mil rate “ceremony” is unnecessary as no work is done there, no decision made, and nothing informative or useful happens for citizen taxpayers. The mil rate automatically flows from the size of the taxable grand list available in late winter from the Assessor compared to the Approved Budget which the Mayor just signed in his Counting House. Do the math? Bingo, your answer is there. The supposed voting of the Council seems like an exercise in power, but it is an exercise in illusion. Reality is called for but illusion is more diverting, isn’t it? By the way, perhaps that is the footnote to this YouTube, a dispirited Mayor, with energy flagging significantly, calls his fiscal braintrust together to let the public know what has been done to their interests, but he is too tired from campaigning to prepare, look the public square in the eye and speak with force and authority. Muttering is for those out of power not in leadership posts. When you convene your leadership team for a photo op, what is the expense of their lost time (as well as yours in recent months) born by the Bridgeport taxpayers? Time will tell.

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