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General Lee Reminds City Council To Take Inventory Of Budget Year

June 19th, 2017 · 12 Comments · City Budget, City Council

The City Council Monday night conducted its last official meeting for the budget year ending June 30. Citizen fiscal watchdog John Marshall Lee urged them to reflect.

Tonight is the last regular City Council meeting of the fiscal year. As we await State final deliberations on revenue to Bridgeport as a City and to Bridgeport as a BOE, it might be appropriate to review some other fiscal issues and problems of the year and to determine what you have done about them.

1.) When the last year closed on June 30, 2016 I fully expected that the Finance Department would deliver to the taxpayer an official 2015-16 final monthly report with all line items showing, both revenue and expense, subsequent to the external audit. The audit was complete by February, but this document was not published this year. Such a report is the only way the taxpaying public can see what actual results were: over spent, under spent or misprojected. I expect that you will let Finance know that you wish to see that same report for 2016-17 when the audit is complete in January 2018?

2.) What is your reaction to the revelation that the Print Shop is producing work for the public contrary to its Mission? Was this referred to a Council Committee for study? Has the Finance Director found where either the City Council or a former City administrator authorized this “private work” for a privileged few? I provided you with a chart showing purchase records for the Printing Plant for five consecutive years. The purchases indicated more than $800,000 of expenses, purchases, in that time more than the City reported. Is that irregular? Have you received an explanation? Which Committee is in charge of such an issue? By the way, why did you permit that department to increase their Salary and Fringe benefits by $105,000 for the 2017-18 FY with no increase in productivity or personnel?

3.) The Port Authority debt payoff of $900,000 with OPED funds in the last days of the Finch administration has never been addressed by the Mayor’s Office. Wasn’t that amount from bonds? Didn’t such a transfer require your approval? Doesn’t the public need an explanation? Even if you think that matters should just rest, how will this look to statewide voters when revealed in a run for statewide office in 2018? And what about a legal body like the Port Authority whose finances month in and month out are handled by City Finance, but they can produce no fiscal record since 2008? They are not even pursuing such an external audit? Their Board has been short two mayoral appointees for too long? Where is your oversight of City funds and property?

4.) Again and again Lighthouse has come to your attention this year and some of you to its defense. But where is the “special fund” that receives family fees of $850,000 per year? Where are those dollars spent? Do you get to see any report of it during your operating or capital budget review and votes? Did you never realize that Lighthouse was actually being subsidized by the Board of Education? When their own deep digging revealed the extent to which they were bearing an expense without compensation by the City, they asked you to be fair. A rental payment certainly is wise to include in a budget when you are not operating on your own property, isn’t it?

5.) That brings us back to the issue of 21,000 youths in public schools getting your support. You may have thought you were providing them with $3 Million, but when OPM claws back payments for services without mutual agreement between the two parties, the City and BOE, the funds that came from your funding was less than $400K. Taxpayers of this City have supported the BOE with 2015-$60.8M, 2016-$63.3M, 2017-$63.7M and in for July 1, 2017 $63.7M. Four years, less than 5% difference. But what have you done with the Police Department in that same time period? 2015-$87M, 2016-$100M, 2017-$102M, and for next year $105M. Almost 20% and growing? How do you defend the “serve and protect” increases for fewer than 500 employees while holding back local dollars for 21,000 youth?

. An annual report with all line items post audit?

. In Plant Printing exceeding authority and budgets?

. Port Authority operation with taxpayer assets of harbor property and without any fiscal info for 9 years?

. Lighthouse full revenue and expense reporting?

. Police Department v. Education of youth–funding?

Do you trust my numbers? If not, please challenge me with your questions. Time will tell.



12 Comments so far ↓

  • DC Faber

    I know a city like Bridgeport needs a strong police force but it strikes me that if we fully funded our education, we might not need to spend so much on our police.

    • John Marshall Lee

      Does the cat have your tongue? Suffering from a bout of digital laryngitis where words escape you? Perhaps you have a new contract with the cricket union to represent your exact sentiments?
      Care to share what is on YOUR MIND? Five topics that have been left untouched by the City Council…..summarized to essentials…..as a taxpayer any concerns?
      You wouldn’t be saying that none of this matters, would you, man? Cause if you had been there, you would have seen upwards of 75 people, six public speaking positions filled on a variety of topics, and the Mayor had to show up when all was said and done. Can’t hear you? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    John haven’t you learned by now that Mackie and Day can think independently. They will not address you because you are smarter than they are and they cannot find anything valid about you to bitch about/

  • Donald Day

    Let me reiterate what Ron has said Andy, ya boy thinks that he is the smartest person in any room that he is in and neither of us fits that designation. Having said that, let there be no doubt that you don’t fall into that category as the smartest person in any room that you are in, NONE.

    • Ron Mackey

      John Marshall Lee is one of those individual who needs a audience to show how smart he by always proposing questions. His main interest is to say, “I got you.” Is JML seeking answers to his questions? Not really, there are enough people on OIB who can answer JML questions or put him in right direction to get the answer to his questions. JML needs a platform to show off how smart he is.

    • Andrew C Fardy

      Don if the room contained you, Mackie and myself we know who the instructor would be,. Don you keep wanting to be like me. You are not smart enough

  • John Marshall Lee

    Ron, Andy, Don, and others who have read the comments I addressed to the Council and which Lennie Grimaldi sees fit to regularly post, I have never claimed and will never claim to be “the smartest person in the room”. That is what some of you choose to accuse me of instead of dealing with the issues I regularly raise to those in power and question.

    Each of you were firefighters back in the day and receive pensions from Plan A today as public safety retirees. As firefighters, it is often said, you had the guts and the training to run into burning buildings rather than run away from them as the rest of the citizenry does reasonably.

    Well, Bridgeport is burning today (through assets and cash)and yet rather than go into depth on the issues you choose to discuss personalities and opinions. When you fail to find fault with the administration and Council members who permit the “burning of taxpayer dollars” to continue, you no longer appear to be “firefighters”. You look like you have given up the fight. That’s a shame when the City administration seems to be at its own loss to explain what is going on.

    When the Mayor is in Hartford or misses high school graduations and attends a City Council meeting one hour late without explaining himself, is he ill? Phoning the job in? Disinterested in Bridgeport matters? Memory loss?

    Where does race or segregation enter the Bridgeport equation anyway? New book out, THE COLOR OF LAW by Dr. Richard Rothstein explains how Federal decisions of the past 100 years have come to define approaches to housing and keep “separate but unequal” the order of the day. Where are the partisans and activists for declaring HUD activities in the City a place of incendiary danger? Help to make the reality of danger on a variety of accounts a matter of public notice, why don’t you? Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    JML: The truth here is that both Day and Mackie are to lazy to do the research you have done. They don’t like you because you can back up what you say with evidence and fact. Mackie cant get his fat ass outside and Day wont leave the valley. When they are cornered they dazzle us with poetry or essays from the middle 1800′s dealing with slavery. BTW did you 2 zealots know that of the 12 million Africans taken for slaves 400,000 came to the usa and the rest went elsewhere in the hemisphere.

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