Calling the delay to implement property revaluation a “scripted shell game solely designed to keep Bridgeport voters in the dark,” former Mayor Joe Ganim is asking the state Freedom of Information Commission to order the disclosure of property assessment information for the October 1, 2013 grand list of taxable property. Mary-Jane Foster, challenging Ganim and Mayor Bill Finch in the September 16 Democratic primary, says Ganim’s request is loaded with hypocrisy.
Ganim’s letter is a follow-up to an FOI request Ganim made to Mayor Bill Finch 10 days ago seeking data on values of all property in Bridgeport that was conducted by Vision Associates based on assessments for the October 1, 2013 grand list. The city paid Vision Associates roughly $300,000 for the reval effort.
Last year, at the request of the mayor, Governor Dan Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly delayed for two years implementation of revaluation. Ganim, as mayor, also requested reval delays.
City Attorney Mark Anastasi, who blocked numerous FOI requests when Ganim was mayor, has ruled in the past the information in question is not subject to public review because some of the information is incomplete and is now immaterial in light of an updated review underway. Former Mayor John Fabrizi had requested the information last year when he pondered a comeback. He did not pursue his request with the state Freedom of Information Commission when Anastasi blocked access. Fabrizi is supporting Finch’s reelection.
With less than four weeks to the September 16 Democratic primary, Ganim is stepping up rhetoric on taxes and finances including lawn signs saying “Stop Raising Taxes, Vote Joe Ganim.”
In his letter to the commission Ganim writes:
“It is anticipated that various parts of Bridgeport will see a substantial tax hike due to the budget and spending policies of this administration as applied to the revaluation … His requested postponement and refusal to provide citizens the 2013 revaluation information is a scripted shell game solely designed to keep Bridgeport voters in the dark regarding the overspending and failed management of his administration right when citizens and voters are most in need of the information to assess the performance of City Managers and Politicians. Simply stated, he is hiding a major tax increase he caused until right after the Election!”
Finch’s political operation counters the price of corruption when Ganim was mayor dwarfs any contrast Ganim is trying to make regarding his and Finch’s tax records.
State-mandated revaluation, a process to appraise all real property every five years, was implemented by both Ganim and Finch during their tenure. But have also requested and received delays.
Statement from Mary-Jane Foster:
“The most recent revaluation of property in Bridgeport is a perfect illustration of the Finch administration’s incompetence and lack of integrity. Not only was the revaluation not done in a timely and, therefore, relevant matter, when the results weren’t what the Finch administration wanted to be: they halted it all together. Finch then, in a move to salvage his reelection effort, went to the State Legislature and gained a reprieve by delaying the revaluation until after the election. When I am elected mayor, I will ask for a two-year delay in implementing the property revaluation. I will have a new revaluation of property conducted. Like phony police substations, assessment of property values are just another gimmick that doesn’t advance Bridgeport residents’ interests. Since when is Joe Ganim Mr. Transparency? Lest we forget the months and months he didn’t respond to the FOI on his phone records–more like Mr. Hypocrisy.”