Less Tax Breaks Equals Less Power For City Council

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

City Council members are finally getting something they have long sought: Tougher guidelines for the length of tax breaks offered developers.

In exchange, however, the council is being asked to give up its final sign-off on those subsidies–a change City Hall argues will modernize development deals and strip them of politics.

“It allows us to professionalize our interactions with developers,” William Coleman, deputy director of economic development, told the council’s ordinance committee this week.

Full story here.



  1. This is another power grab by Ganim and his friends. Now he wants some out of towner on the city payroll to decide who pays taxes and who gets a tax break when they build in Bridgeport.
    Lets just do away with the council for the following reasons:
    1. They pass everything Ganim wants
    2. they are not that bright
    4. Where is the hue and cry over loosing tax approval power to the administration
    5. Can someone tell me the last time the council voted NO and what was the No vote for

  2. Katie, Burns, and Reverend Lee, don’t let it happen. Lobby enough votes to kill it when it goes to the full council for a vote. Katie and Burns I know you’re not going back for now, but leave knowing you stopped the potential for another scandal. There are enough members that will agree with you. Don’t give up your authority, you all represent tax payers who will be paying for this scary proposal.Joey G., you never stop trying! I’m so mad at you right now I wish I was sitting to help kill this. DON’T VOTE FOR THIS!

  3. It would be nice if Burns, Bukovsky, McBride-Lee and a few others stood up to this blantent attempt to usurp the democratic authority of the City Council. Bill Finch, in his finite wisdom, sought to take control of the BOE. It didn’t work and neither should this.

    The Council doesn’t have much in the way of legal guidance.

      1. Kid your right, Ernie has to be elected first. But in our early days Ernie took Mayor Paoletto to court and challenged a similar power-play against the Council; Ernie won. This can’t happen, I have hope that a majority of sitting council members, whether they’re returning or not, will vote against this.

        1. Mr. Burns and Ms. Bukovsky and Reverend McBride-Lee have expressed strong reservations about this measure. It is a blatant move by Joe Ganim and company to consolidate power in the mayor’s office. This is not a good move for the people of the city of Bridgeport. Too many previous administrations have passed out tax abatements without a single thought toward the long-term consequences. Now the city of Bridgeport is stuck with abandoned factory buildings loaded with rusting barrels of industrial chemicals. The Hubbell property is fenced off due to all of the toxic chemicals that leeched into the soil. The rubber factory burned, twice. The thread company, the perfume factory, the metal plating works, on and on and on it goes. None of them are contributing much in the way of taxes to the city. Jesus H. Christ, the corporate owners have never been held  accountable for the environmental damage left behind. 

          Step up to the plate, Joe. You don’t have a rat’s ass of a chance at becoming governor. Do something good for the people of the city of Bridgeport, for once in your life. Redemption has not been granted; you have to EARN it.

        1. Quack-quack-quack, Moses. You are still a convicted felon. when you go to bed tonight you will be a cinvicted felon. When you wake up tommorrow you will be a convicted felon. Both you and Joe “I have sinned” Ganim have something in common. Maybe he’ll select you to be his gubenertorial running mate.

    1. I’ve scoured the minutes of the Ordinance Committee. I don’t see the votes of 3 to 2 in favor. It should be very clear who voted for this terrible idea and who voted against it.

      1. THANK YOU to the person who supplied me with this info.
        The votes were as follows:

        Item# 141-16 J. Banta moved to enter document titled “Resolution Amending Chapter 3.20 of the Municipal Code “ K Bukovsky seconded motion passed unanimously

        Vote to act upon and approve as amended J. Banta seconded by Mary McBride-Lee in favor 3 opposed (Matinez, Salter)

        Item# 142-16 J. Banta moved to enter document titled “Resolution Amending Chapter 3.24 of the Municipal Code “ K Bukovsky seconded motion passed unanimously

        Vote to act upon and approve as amended Item# 142-16 J. Banta seconded by Mary McBride-Lee those in favor 4those opposed none abstentions Martinez

  4. “It allows us to professionalize our interactions with developers…”

    “…You (the council) set policy, establish limits.” Coleman said.

    Does this imply that the ED has failed to “professionalize” its business interactions thus far… (In any event, the ED has been suffering from ED from quite some time…)

    Also: Since the Bridgeport Financial Review Board was abolished and the city fiduciary responsibilities ceded to the City Council, doesn’t that necessitate the full oversight of the city’s financial transactions, including, the granting of developer/business-incentive tax breaks?

    Perhaps this current realization that the CC may not be the ideal body for setting city financial policy creates the imperative for Charter change and re-establishment of a financially-competent, independent Financial Review Board with full authority over all city financial matters(?)…

  5. Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive

    The Secret New York-based Exact Capitol’s $410 million proposal to resurrect two shuttered Downtown theaters as well as building more than 800 housing units on Main St.
    Joe Ganim and his Secret Government want’s to give this project a next to (Zero Tax Rate) for twenty years and also usurp the power of this City Council, who hell does he think he is??
    Flucking Bill Finch!

  6. As Mr. Kohut pointed out, the Financial Review Board was neutered and financial review is now in the hands of the City Council. The Bridgeport City Council is comprised of twenty individuals elected to an unpaid public office. All of them have families, day jobs, businesses to run, and other obligations. none of them has the time to examine the budgets presented by the mayor’s office beyond City Council and committee meetings. It is a safe bet the complexities of a governmental budget is over the heads of more than a few. There’s no “Municipal Budgets for Dummies” available through Amazon. (Thank you John Marshall Lee for your efforts to explain it.) Joe Ganim is exploiting this lack of time and understanding, as did Bill Finch.

    Hope is not a strategy. We can’t honestly “hope” the City Council will do The Right Thing. This is one of those occasions that demands the public attend this City Council meeting EN MASSE. Put democracy into action, tell them how you feel about Joe Ganim’s latest attempt at consolidating power in the mayor’s office. “No way, José!” ought to do the trick.

  7. This raised its ugly head when Joe might have been shut out of the governor’s public funding for campaign money.
    So instead he goes right for the jugular with no council say so on tax breaks.
    OMG!!! It doesn’t get worse than this.
    And Bill Coleman, shame on you. Trying to say with a straight face that council members shake down developers. That of and by itself should be enough of a reason to vote against this. Lets see where the candidates stand on this issue.
    YEA or NAY.
    Who would want to be a city council member and then give away all of the power that you. This is just the latest and greatest flim flam by the master of flim flams.

    1. Previous City Councils have made unrealistic denands in exchange for tax breaks. To their credit all of them were intended to benefit the greater Bridgeport community.

      I have a feeling Joe Ganim has been preoccupied by his quixotic effort to obtain public funds for a gubernatorial campaign. This looks like the work of an underling.

    2. Previous City Councils have made unrealistic denands in exchange for tax breaks. To their credit all of them were intended to benefit the greater Bridgeport community.

      I have a feeling Joe Ganim has been preoccupied by his quixotic effort to obtain public funds for a gubernatorial campaign. His mayoralty is the subject of numerous editorial snickers. He wouldn’t hang his ass this far over the line. I’m guessing the mice are playing.

  8. Why not have an ordinance that says the council should not meet at all or get rid of the council all together.
    That’s about what you are doing with this ordinance.

  9. Somebody got the number for the FBI?
    Oh forget about it.
    They’ll come calling quick enough.
    Why divide the pie by 20 pieces when you’ve got the greediest mayor who will take it all?

    1. I’m sure the FBI and the DOJ is keeping an eye on the shenanigans here. Bridgeport’s rich and colorful history of crooked politics is well known to the authorities. The federal government always catches up with felons that didn’t weren’t “corrected” the first time.

  10. The poor economic situation in Bridgeport is a oriblm that cannot be fixed or repaired by the construction of a hotel and casino on the waterfront. The homeowners of Black Rock and the North End see their taxes increased to support an administration headed by a convicted felon. Christ, even houses off Stratford Avenue are valuated far above what they are actually worth on the open market. A three-bedroom colonial over there listed on Zillo for $100,000.00 or so; the city of Bridgeport, in its infinite wisdom, will tax it at approximately two and a half times the asking price.

    What are Bridgeport tax payers receiving in return for this tithe? A mayor more concerned with looking good to a dwindling constituency and chasing after public campaign funds he is not entitled to as a matter of law.

    A casino is not going to remedy any of this. Converting a baseball stadium into an amphitheater will not solve anything. Amazon found another location for HQ #2. Joe Ganim thinks taking away finsl authority over tax abatements is going to fix everything.

    Judging the deep pessimism exoressed here the City Council may bend over and take in the backside one more time for posterity before heading out to pasture.

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