Grand In Shelton, Plus: $600 To Cover Your Tax Hike!

I wonder if this year’s Barnum Festival, with Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti serving as ringmaster, will experience some added fireworks.

Apparently there’s something grand going on regarding Shelton beyond its grand list. Federal investigators have impaneled a grand jury to look into development improprieties in that booming construction city. Couldn’t Lauretti share just a bit of his city’s mighty grand list with Bridgeport?

Federal investigations are hyper stressful for those stuck in the crosshairs. Boy, don’t I know that. Hopefully, Lauretti’s not involved in any of this stuff but he’d be wise to get a lawyer sooner than later, just in case. Grand juries are conducted in secret, but know this about them, if you’re called as a witness, once you’re done you can walk out of the room and tell everybody what you talked about. A grand juror cannot, a prosecutor conducting the proceedings cannot. But you as a witness can tell all. So that’s how word can get out about them.

If indictments are coming they tend to occur about six months after subpoenas for records go out. Maybe as ringmaster, Lauretti can call up the ghost of fellow Republican P.T. Barnum and make it all disappear.

Speaking of disappearing acts, Mayor Bill Finch is hoping he can vanish some of the upcoming tax hit in his first budget due out next week. Word trickling out of city hall is that the city’s looking at an initial five-mil tax increase. That can change as the proposed budget bends its way through the city council and the city gets a better handle on state money expected to come its way.

Of course, it’s better to project the worse possible scenario out of the box. Better to lower expectations. That way city officials look better when the mil rate is finally set, and hopefully lower than initially submitted.

What’s a five-mil tax hike for a home in the North End, Black Rock, Brooklawn and Upper East Side? Yikes!

Taxes are going up in Bridgeport. The good news is you’ll get some money from the feds to cover the hike. When the Bird Man was talking about giving back $600 to every taxpayer during his election campaign, I guess he meant it would come from the feds, not the city. How prescient!

News release from Congressman Chris Shays

Economic Stimulus Payments to Bring $1.3 Billion to Connecticut
Bridgeport, CT – In conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Congressman Christopher Shays, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia noted today that starting in May, economic stimulus payments of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples will be issued by the IRS based on 2007 tax returns. The IRS estimates that 230,000 Connecticut residents who do not typically file a tax return could qualify for the rebate, so encouraged those people to file.

“I am pleased the Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to get this relief to Americans as quickly as possible, and acted in a responsible way to stimulate the economy and try to head off a recession,” said Shays. “This funding is a good step toward helping residents of the Fourth Congressional District meeting mounting economic challenges.”

“The federal government’s economic stimulus package will be helpful to Bridgeport’s economy and will help continue the major revitalization going on in Bridgeport right now,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “It will also help mitigate the high cost of living and property tax burden facing Bridgeport residents. Property tax reform continues to be one my administration’s top priorities at the state level.”

“This initiative will help many local families,” said Mayor Richard Moccia. “I wish to thank Congressman Shays for his support and urge Norwalk residents to take advantage of the Taxpayer Assistance Centers where they can get their questions answered.”

To receive the payments this year, residents must file a 2007 tax return. The IRS will determine eligibility, calculate the amount and send the payment, which will be in addition to taxpayers’ refunds.

Many people are eligible for the payments but may not know it, however, and so may not file a tax return because their income is too low or their benefits are nontaxable. If they don’t file a tax return, the IRS will not know the name or address to which the payment should be sent.

Residents who do not normally file a tax return but who have at least $3,000 in qualified income may be eligible for a minimum payment of $300 for individuals or $600 for married couples.  Qualifying income may include earnings from wages or self-employment, or be received as benefits such as Social Security retirement, Railroad Retirement or Veterans Affairs payments to disabled veterans or veterans’ survivors. It also can be from a combination of wages and these benefits.

There are some restrictions. People must have valid Social Security numbers for themselves and children. Those who are claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, or who are eligible to be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return, do not qualify.

Those who already file a tax return each year need do nothing more to file their tax return. The IRS will do the rest. Those who normally don’t file a return can use Form 1040A with just a little information, and taxpayer assistance centers in Bridgeport, Norwalk, and Stamford will be opened extended weekend hours on March 29th and April 12th to help residents file for their rebate. In addition, free tax preparation sites or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and AARP tax sites are open in each city for appointments to fill out the appropriate tax rebate forms. Those interested in this service can call 2-1-1 for locations.

For more information, and to calculate the amount of your rebate, go to the IRS Web site at



  1. The latest out of the budget committee — it is really 5.5 mils. This is before they start cutting. It is my understanding that they were to cut 40 jobs but moonbeam and his merry band of dumbass advisors led by Adam Wood added 10 new jobs to the list thus the cuts will actually only mean 30 layoffs.
    Finch is still in his anti-town-committee mode after his embarrasement at the TC elections. He did not show up at the TC meeting last night to welcome the new TC members and also to mend fences. Rumor has it that he went instead to a fund raiser for Auden (I don’t have a clue) Grogins.
    Since when does a mayor attend a fund raiser for a person that has yet to be and probably won’t be nominated by the party? Moonbeam just does not get it still.
    He will have a difficult time getting his budget and its increases thru the common council.
    May I offer a suggestion that can only help moonbeam and get him on the right track?
    1. Fire Tyrone & Rubin. Nice guys but clueless
    2. Fire Adam Wood. Everything goes thru him and to date he has made moonbeam totally ineffective and makes him appear as someone with terminal dumbass.
    3. Hire people that know the city and its players and are not afraid to give hard answers to hard questions.
    4. Like it or not you have to work with the party or all of your programs will not get thru the council no threat here just a fact.
    If you do not change you approach and the above-listed people I would start sending out my resume asap.

  2. Is this Administration Serious? They are going to CUT jobs of The workers who have been serving the city for years to CREATE new jobs for their friends and relatives? The Council seems to go along with this because many of them have city jobs too. Such as the greeter of city hall who is rumored to be getting a huge raise. So they sit back and let this go on. What about the UNIONS in City Hall? They are supposed to be for the workers, but instead they Fight for what the Administration wants so that they can keep their jobs and get huge raises. There is supposed to be a hiring freeze and the union is allowing union job positions to get filled with mayors friends.Did you see the article about the greeter and admin asst who will “only” work pt at 26 hours a week. guess what that will include full benefits. why are union positions being treated as unaffilliated ones? And what about these small city offices that have more than one director or manager who sometimes only have one person under them? The Benefits office has two managers that get paid over 80 grand a year with a staff of about 5. The IT computer division has a director paid over 100 grand a year and 3 yes three managers who make about 90 grand a year a piece count it that is almost 500 worth of management for a staff of about 20. Go read the budget. There are more of these offices like that also. This Administration is worse than Ganim and Fabrizi put together. Are they too cocky or just plain stupid? Is anyone investigating this local government? It seems like a mafia movie.

  3. “Is this Administration Serious? They are going to CUT jobs of The workers who have been serving the city for years to CREATE new jobs for their friends and relatives?”

    Will the Pollyannas and other members of The Finch Fan Club please comment about Mayor Testa’s Human Resource in City hall initiatives?

  4. yahooy, I can assure you this has nothing to do with Testa. He told Finch this was a bad political move all to no avail. Finch listens to one person and that is Adam Wood. The new jobs were made as an accommodation to Stafstrom by Finch in an attempt to garner votes in the DTC race. I can tell you Testa has had exactly two conversations with Finch, one was when Finch stopped in after Testa’s victory and the other concerned the town committee meeting held this week.
    It appears as we speak Finch is going to ignore any advice from Testa or the common council, which will prove to be a mistake down the road.

  5. I’m being facetious. I know there is animist between Finch and Testa. This is a further example of just how stupid the Moonbeam is. He chooses loyalty to the powerless. But, don’t you think for one silly minute that Testa will not wield extraordinary power in city hall to do things as HE sees fit. The mayor, especially this mayor, is impotent. Once Testa makes plans, it will be very easy to circumvent the inadequate bum that now serves as mayor. Just watch and see…….

  6. I agree it has just started. Wait until Moonbeam tries to get things thru the council. That will serve as a wake up call. The one besides Moonbeam that needs a wake up call is Adam Wood, he is still pouting over Stafstroms loss. Dont be surprised in the next few months to see many Finch loyalist abandon ship. There is a lot of anger in this group it seems Finch aka moonbeam does not return calls and is avoiding these people.

  7. I hope that the situation in Shelton is not so. The Mayor if Shelton has done a good job developing the City and keeping taxes low. I also hope that the issue doesn’t cloud the Barnum Festival. That would be very unfortunate. There have been rumors for years about issues but most chalked it up to nasty politics. Could another long term elected official be so stupid as to get involved with something like this when Ganim and Rolland have already gone down….

    Lennie, is a grand jury a fishing expedition or do they usually have a lot on a person before they take this step? Interested in your perspective.

    LENNIE RESPONDS: Hi Red, grand juries generally are called when the feds think they have the goods after federal agents have put in an extensive amount of time looking at something or someone. Doesn’t mean Lauretti’s the target, although If I’m him I’d have a lawyer handy just in case. Whispers about a Lauretti investigation have been out there for a while. With all the construction going on in Shelton it was just a matter of time. In the end, a federal prosecutor — not the FBI — will determine if information will be brought before a grand jury to press formal charges. And, yes, some long-term elected officials are stupid enough to get into trouble even though they had the opportunity to go to school on cases involving Ganim and Rowland. Just ask Ernie Newton.

  8. “The Mayor if Shelton has done a good job developing the City and keeping taxes low. ”

    Except for the part about lower taxes, the same was said about Joe Ganim while he was investigated.

    Is there anyone out there who can resist the seduction of illicit money? Bruce?

  9. Facetious or not, it is scary to think that Testa has so much control in our city. This is exactly what he has been doing for many years. He was forced into sabbatical during the Fabrizi Folies because of too much heat from the Ganim investigation. Now he is back at a time when he can actually control much of the economic development that comes our way. Forget Finch…who cares? Testa apparently has the right number of council members as loyalists to him. Just like last time. I wonder how this would have played out if Chris was elected.

  10. If Moonbeam and his staff did their job testa would not have to use that influence. i dont believe that he can control the economic development in the city. If he did any development would help the city and all its residents. As it stands now we have not had an economic development director for 4 months and no names have surfaced to date.

  11. Moonbeam is not doing his job because he doesn’t know what his job is. he’s great at promises but cannot deliver the beef. He is an empty shirt. Plus, he is a dumb empty shirt. He is the hand picked figure head who gave his loyalty to the losers. What a mess!! !Que Lastima!!

    As far as Testa not having anything to do with Economic Development, ask the big developers who won’t do business with the city, why they won’t. This man is no ray of sunshine tilting at all that is good for his people. He is a calculating self interested bully that will only allow what is best for the few. We need new blood.

  12. Yahooy, money’s not the only seductress in the realm of politics. The thrill of “power” and the ability to control also have a way of distorting effective leadership. Maybe it’s somthing in the drinking water, but it seems Bridgeport has had more than it’s share of leaders whose character flaws became obvious when exposed to power and the potential for substantial financial gain.

    Too bad character, honesty, superior judgement, and accomplisments seem to take a back seat to political loyalty and payoff when key city hall jobs are filled. If we don’t fix the process, we’ll never see a better result. Unfortunately, hiring world-class talent doesn’t seem to be a priority of the not-so-new, Finch administration.

  13. Boy. since Lennie implemented Blogger registration, the number of postings have dropped to near nothing. But, I don’t think the reduced activity is totally caused by the registration process. This blog, as well as the FCW blog, is populated by an overwhelming number of Finch supporters. Great banter and dialog occurred each day as opposing forces urged their respective positions; sometimes articulate sometimes not so articulate.

    Well, it looks like the Finch Fan Club has headed for the hills. The prophecies so emphatically argued as to Finch’s abilities have shown as true. He is, indeed, personally unable to manage and govern the city as it must be to meet the challenges which could lead to great economic achievement. Look at whom he chooses to advise him. That Stafstrom crowd has no interest in the constituency
    just in their own self interest. I am willing to accept that Finch is not the popping jay of Mario Testa. As much as I detest Testa’s methodologies and past history, the people may have been better served if Finch had aligned himself in that nefarious den of thieves. At least the city was making progress under Ganim with Mario calling the shots. Mario, regrettably, is, again, building control of the council. The patsy, Finch, will never get any of his Stafstrom brain farts off the ground so long as Testa rules the council members.

    Finchers. You just don’t have anything to blog about. You can’t defend the man any longer. You can’t pollyanna his future. This leopard will not change his spots. He can’t. He doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to see the difference.

    Lennie…maybe you can run some used car ads. The Finchers are probably good at selling used cars. We need something vitriolic to inject some life into this blog.

  14. Do some of you get the weekly “Finch Report” out of the mayor’s press office? (I like to call it the “Finch Repor” ala “The Cobert Report” on the TV show.)

    Amazingly, the newsletter has gotten shorter as his term progresses, and I swear it ONLY contains announcements of meetings he has gone to and committees he has formed, NOT one single action he has accomplished. I guess he is just so used to being only a consultant (ok, and a state senator) that he may have forgotten how to actually get real actions done.

    Joan Nutmeg

    Bridgeport In The Know
    Bridgeport’s independent online discussion group
    with over 360 city web links and events calendar

  15. 1) Never trust anyone.
    2) Don’t count on people following through on their promises.
    3) When there is blood in the water expect a feeding frenzy and not compassion.
    4) Politics is more about power, than serving the people.
    5) The press doesn’t like good news.
    6) More proof that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
    7) Most people who criticize do not offer constructive alternatives.
    8) Perspicacity is in the eye of the beholder.
    9) The keepers of our freedoms are not always right and the Philistines are not always wrong.
    10) Olive branches have really sharp thorns.

    Tell me Yahooy does that make you happy?

  16. The problem is the liar Bill Finch and his administration. City Hall is being run as a mafia. They are weeding out any empoloyees who did not help with his campaign. He is keeping OVER PAID employees on his payroll and getting rid of the workers who only make 25-35 k to replace with his friends who will make 65-95 k a year. He should be ashamed of himself. But Karma is real and some day he will feel the hurt that he is giving to taxpayers and loyal employees. SAVE THE LIBRARY! SAVE SCHOOL BASED HEALTH!


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