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Moore, Gomes Back Referendum Question To Fund Libraries

October 31st, 2017 · 13 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, Library, News and Events

library vote

In 2009 city voters, against the wishes of the political establishment, voted to levy one mil to fund city libraries, an initiative pushed by the city’s Library Board. The referendum question passed 2683 to 1455. Library supporters declare that the 2015 revaluation dropped the value of 1 mil that now requires 1.3 mils to finance the system. State Senators Marilyn Moore and Ed Gomes have lent their support for the Nov. 7 ballot question.

The Facebook page Keep Our Libraries Open urges voters to support the Nov. 7 ballot question “Shall a one thirty hundredths (1.30) mill tax be levied to operate a free public library and reading room?”

City bean counters say approval of the measure could impact other services. The library budget adopted by the City Council for the current fiscal year is $5,713,859. Two years ago it was $6,829,089. So essentially the library vote question asks for $1 million more to operate.

In a statement issued by library supporters, “This referendum will let the voters decide where their taxes are spent. If a majority vote Yes with the Senators, it will put back funds taken away from the Library so that the main library and its four branches: Black Rock, Newfield, North, and Old Mill Green may continue current hours and programs as well as open the new facilities that are ready for construction to replace the leased spaces at the Old Mill Green branch and at Newfield that is slated for demolition.”

“Our libraries are critical to the quality of life of all Bridgeport residents,” says Moore. “I urge you on November 7th to vote YES to keep our libraries funded and open.”

The Black Rock and North End branches fall within Moore’s District. The main Downtown library and East Side and East End branches sit in Gomes’ district.

“Libraries are a safe haven for our children and a learning center for everyone of all ages,” says Gomes. “Stand with me and vote Yes to keep our libraries open.”

State law allows voters to approve a levy to finance local libraries, language that Library Board President Jim O’Donnell and Sylvester Salcedo, both lawyers, took to court, following push back by then Mayor Bill Finch. Salcedo was then a board member.

“We truly appreciate their continued support for the essential services our libraries provide,” says O’Donnell referencing support from the state senators. “Our senators and their colleagues realize how our free public libraries transform lives with access to lifelong learning for all ages. Because the Grand List decreased so much with the revaluation, more than a million dollars was taken from the Library budget. Now all the progress the Library Board has made to open more hours, acquire the new sites and design the new facilities is in jeopardy. The leadership of our Senators to pass this referendum helps fix the problem caused by revaluation so we can build the new branches in neighborhoods that need them the most and keep all our libraries open.”

All this raises a question: if the vote fails, does the financing of the library system default back to 1 mil? Or the way prior to 2009 when it was treated like other city departments?

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13 Comments so far ↓

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Didn’t the State Legislature allow many cities and towns to delay their revaluation? The Bridgeport Library benefited from the 2 year revaluation delay and yet maintain that the city didn’t or doesn’t help our libraries. Now the two clowns from East Windsor wants to tell us which way we should vote on the “Referendum Question To Fund Libraries.” Our opinion on how they should have voted on a Bridgeport Casino didn’t matter to them. I have a great suggestion, no, a demand for the the Two Clowns from East Windsor. Go BACK to East Windsor and have a Pow Wow with the Indians and DEMAND they BACK all funding shortfalls of the Bridgeport Public Library.

    There are plenty of Library Services in Bridgeport. The reasons the Library Board and people like the Senators from East Windsor don’t know this are: They never attended Bridgeport schools and noticed that they have libraries; They don’t give a damn about out of control spending and out of control taxing; They believe that they can tell us how to vote without any real discussion of the issue and their faux justification is all we need to hear.

    How about merging of all libraries in Public Schools and the Public Library? Oh, of course no one wants to give up control.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Hey Lennie Grimaldi, do you have a copy of the petition secretly circulated to put this on the ballot. I heard less than 60 people secretly started this Referendum movement. Was John from Black Rock one of them but, didn’t sign the petition himself?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Joel,
    8 of 26 comments relating to OIB Library on October 27, and already 2 of 2 four days later? What has you hopping on this subject? Perhaps you have not read my posting on the 10-27 posting?

    “John Marshall Lee // Oct 31, 2017 at 11:35 am

    City Hall abhors independent minds attempting to deliver “best practices” or “better practices” as a routine matter. And City Hall also neglects to be “accountable” for all of the “facts and figures” regarding projects they introduce in public relation broadsides.

    Some years ago the Library Board fiscal bean counters understood the plan to bring Library properties up to a level of relative quality across the City. They budgeted for the physical plans making a reasonable assumption that such development would happen with borrowed funds and require regular repayment.

    When City Council liaison appointees fail to meet, learn about, or be concerned with the Library, WPCA, etc. a valuable monitoring and representation responsibility is lost. And that’s what happens when NO ONE is monitoring, and NO ONE is keeping track of attendance or participation, and NO ONE bothers to evaluate representation that is a mayor appointment?

    Take a look at the planning that has been present for perhaps five years, and listen to the saga from City Hall where the money hits the road and gets side tracked for multiple reasons..for a day, or a year, or forever? Who can tell? Time will tell.

    Isn’t it telling that the flat funding of libraries in general right up to the last year of John Fabrizi’s term got a formula change based on public VOTING, an important issue to many who otherwise might not have shown up at the polls, and the Black Rock got a new library opened after about five years of waiting.

    Well other neighborhoods have been waiting, too. And the Library has been planning, too. Not just pretty plans, but actual patterns of necessary funding, and then there’s been lots of waiting, and finally with the Grand List decrease, a drop in revenues that support programs and services. The schools have had to adjust, Joel. And the libraries also, Joel. But has the Police Department adjusted? The trend line would show increases (in the face of attempts to hold back overtime, but the secret is that overtime is only a part of the problem because it has triggered extra pension contributions that G2 bonded and told everybody that he was taking care of the whole problem. NOT!!! Just like Pension A that is showing extra costs today, when it was not planned that way or explained that way by “young Joe Ganim”. Any apology for the error? Any remorse that a great concept did not work? Not if you have taxpayers to shoulder the burden. Where is the City idea to cut overtime and eventually pension expense by $6 Million per year or more?? It’s out there, working in other cities that look for solutions, I promise you. Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      10/27 posting? Why didn’t you copy and past it on this with your question. Did you find any evidence of Civil Service Commission appointees not living in Bridgeport yet? Why is it that not a single supporter of the L.F. not responding to my postings? Did you respond or have no problem with tax increases by referendum? If it doesn’t pass why not go back to 2009? DID YOU SIGN THE PETITION AND DIDN’T SHARE THAT WITH OIB?

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Try the FOI way? Why you ask me? When has library staff captured criminals, handled police related duties 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for you to compare? Ever tried “adjusting” your many questions? Young Joe Ganim? He wish! Young Joe Ganim able to hold the police overtime? Double wish!

      Your comment on the saga of the library board combined with the BOE saga validates my: “How about merging of all libraries in Public Schools and the Public Library? Oh, of course no one wants to give up control.”

      • Joel Gonzalez

        JML, have you or any OIB readers noticed the early hour of my postings? I ask you because you’ve been counting my postings. That means that I’m researching and thinking things through. I’m pretty convince that the Library Referendum in 2009 and this one can be challenged in court. I wonder if the City Attorney’s Office (Meyers) would hear me out.

        • John Marshall Lee

          Joel,
          Former CA Anastasi had a chance to pursue such a challenge in court. Why did that not seem appropriate? Why wouldn’t current CA Meyers hear you out? You are carrying his message it would seem. The City of Bridgeport challenged Wheelabrator attempt to reduce their valuation for 10 years in various courts in CT…..and finally lost….and so did the Taxable Grand List….perhaps $200 Million or thereabouts?? Willingness to go to court and fight what turns out to be “right”, “just” or “fair” with taxpayer funds does not need to be explained to taxpayers….and neither does a phony fight on police overtime….or contracts that will continue to increase future costs faster than the tax base is growing? What say you, Joel, of early entries? Time will tell.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            Now that you guys secretly scratch an old scab perhaps CA Meyers and CA Anastasi should consider all option. I don’t carry anyones messages. You’re confusing me with Lennie Grimaldi–he’s the one carrying and allowing people to send faux messages.

            Good thing we have Wheelabrator still around–lots of trashy stuff around this blog. One last thing to say or ask: Why did you avoid the main question. Did you sign the petition?

  • Jimfox

    Fluck those Least Windsor Senators!

  • Andrew C Fardy

    Why was Bridgeport the only city in Connecticut that had its state funding cut by $6 million. Norwalk, Stamford Danbury had zero budget cuts from the State. Great job by our Legislative group

    • John Marshall Lee

      Andy,
      Did you notice that “needy Greenwich had an INCREASE of $212,000 or almost 15%? What does our delegation have to tell us about fairness, justice and the Connecticut way? Time will tell.

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Andy, JML is trying to change the subject.
        Fuck what Greenwich to or didn’t get. I got a copy of the 8 page BPL Petition. On September 6 and September 7, 2017. Eight (8) poeple set out to circulate the BPL Petition. The leader is James E. O’Donnell. John Marshall Lee appears as having signed sheet 1 on line number 11. Sheet one (1) looks like a who’s who of OIB posters and tells an interesting plot to cover up the existence of the Petition and Referendum Question. So Much for “transparency” JML. I sent Lennie Grimaldi copies of all 8 pages and I request he writes a commentary and publish the Petitions.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Because State Senator Ed Gomes and his cousin Senator Marilyn Moore wants to see Mayor Joe Ganim fail as mayor. Sabotage!

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