More Poop On The Sewage Deal, Plus: OIB Party Tonight, And Your Assessment

Looks like the sewage deal that Mayor Bill Finch has tentatively solidified with Trumbull and Monroe might back up into hizzoner’s office.

For one thing, City Council President Tom McCarthy is not happy with the current deal configuration that frontloads roughly $5 million to the city in shared tax payments over a three-year period with no further tax benefit after that.

Finch has relied on Trumbull resident Paul Timpanelli, head of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, to negotiate the deal that would allow Monroe access to Trumbull’s sewage line that’s connected to Bridgeport to accommodate a new Jewish Home for the Elderly. Big Mac’s not crazy about the deal as it exists, in part because it calls for an additional wastewater flow beyond the 85,000 gallons per day the Monroe development would force into the city’s sewer system. Under the current terms a new suburban development could come along that floods additional sewage into the city’s facility without a lifetime financial benefit to the city.

I was raised in Monroe, attended public schools in Monroe, graduated Masuk High School in Monroe, have a lot of friends in Monroe. The leadership in the town of my youth can go pound sludge.

Do you know what it would cost to build a sewage treatment plant in Monroe? Probably a lot more than Monroe taxpayers with their annual budget referendum would be willing to pay.

Trumbull, which also does not have its own sewage plant, was allowed into the Bridgeport system a long time ago to accommodate all the stuff the town was building on Bridgeport’s border, including the Trumbull shopping park. Trumbull has a long and glorious history of building on the borders of its neighbors. Timpanelli has structured this deal with the specific intention to keep lawyers out of it. I think it’s time for City Attorney Mark Anastasi to get involved to torment the suburbs. One dose of Ansastasi and suburban leaders will throw more money at Bridgeport just to get away from Mark-speak.

Here’s what I say, a pound of sludge in the Christmas socks of anyone that supports the current deal. Let’s start talking about a lifetime benefit.

And, by the way, let’s continue this conversation at the OIB party tonight at 5:30 at Two Boots on Fairfield Avenue downtown. Don’t let a few snowflakes keep you away. We’ll have some slammin’ pies, cool cocktails and a load of rumors to assess.

Speaking of assessments, see the news release below from Mayor Finch:

 City Property Owners Receive 2008 Assessments

BRIDGEPORT, CT (Dec. 16, 2008) – Assessment notices, based on the October 1, 2008 Grand List, have been mailed to 34,722 property owners. The new assessments are based on 70 percent of the 2008 fair market value, and will be reflected on the tax bill to be issued July 1, 2009. The new assessment does not reflect any exemptions; all exemptions will be applied to the final assessment.

Property assessments are available on Vision Appraisal Technology’s web site, Printouts listing the updated assessments are also available for review in the Assessor’s Office and the Bridgeport Public Library.

The assessment forms show taxpayers the old assessed value determined during the last revaluation in 2003, and the new assessed value, which reflects the gain in value experienced during the 2003-2007 period. Property owners are urged not to apply the current tax (mil) rate to the new assessment, since the new mil rate will not be determined by the city until Spring 2008.

Property assessments are available on Vision Appraisal Technology’s web site, Printouts listing the updated assessments are also available for review in the Assessor’s Office and the Bridgeport Public Library.

Informal hearings with representatives of Vision Appraisal Technology will take place now through December 19. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-844-4300 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Informal hearings will be held at the Eisenhower Community Center, Room 504, at 263 Golden Hill St., 5th floor. Operators making appointments cannot discuss values or data.

Formal written appeals to the Board of Assessment Appeals must be filed on or before February 20, 2009. Appeal forms are available at the Assessor’s Office and on the City’s web site



  1. Just a follow-up on how far Timpanelli has gone with this administration. He has his puppet Gail Solis on the Planning & Zoning Board. Strange someone involved with the Chamber of Commerce is on the P&Z.
    Last night there was a meeting of the downtown taskforce. One of the topics was the sewer deal and the downtown gateway. Gail Solis was sent as Timpanelli’s representative. She had instructions to ask the taskforce not to discuss the sewer deal with Monroe and the problems that downtown is having with the sewer system during heavy rains.
    The task force ignored this request and did discuss the sewer deal and the sewer problems downtown. Needless to say Gail Solis was upset and not a happy person.The point of all this is that Timpanelli is playing Finch like a banjo and putting his people on key commissions in Bridgeport.

  2. Permanent problems require permanent solutions. Until things change, that applies to today’s topic as well. IMHO, nearby towns would rather pay an annual fee than pay the price to construct and staff a much-needed facility. A lifetime benefit seems justified by the forces of nature. Advantage: Bridgeport.

    TIDINGS of COMFORT AND JOY are extended to the entire OIB blogosphere.

  3. I think enough has been said both here and other places for this administration to know that if they buy the shitty plan before them, they’ll pay for it when the voters get their chance.

    How about the article in today’s Post re 2 members of the BOE (Simmons and Baraka) calling for major changes at BOE. Eliminate chief of staff (a ridiculous concept in the first place when the super makes $200K), and especially Alan Wallack, the double-dipper. A $700k savings from BOE should make unions more amenable to concessions. Oh yes, take away Wearing and Hinds cars going to points east and north. Bravo and Brava to Simmonds and Baraka!

  4. Did you all read the article in today’s CTPost regarding the Seymour School Supt. MaryAnne Mascolo. It is on page C3 with obituary notices. She was granted a 3% salary hike by the Board of Selectmen and is giving the hike back to the school district. Mascolo said it’s important to give back and that she returns her increase “gladly” to benefit the distict in several areas, including technology for teachers. “I love it here. I love Seymour and I love this job,” I hope it sends the message that I care about what happens here.”
    Now there’s a first-rate municipal employee! This story should have been on page 1 rather than the obituary page.
    Thank you Ms. Mascolo. I regret you are not working for the City of Bridgeport. What an example and role model you are.

  5. IT WOULD BE A PITY if Bridgeport took a shortsighted view of what is clearly a long-term problem. Bridgeport has the “hardware” because Bridgeport BUILT the “hardware”. Bridgeport did what other towns failed to do. Let ’em proceed on pay-as-you-poop terms which means payment to the city on a regular basis. Think of their alternatives. Advantage: Bridgeport.

  6. It is true that we hold all the cards in the sewer deal. The one problem is that we don’t have politicians that listen to the people. It is my understanding that this sewer deal has already been done and is scheduled to be voted on at the next council meeting. This tells me that Finch and company have gone for the up-front payment. This also tells me that we are going to get screwed again and that screwing wil contine long after this group of incompetents leaves office.
    I will bet a dinner that McCarthy will cave on this sewer deal and go along with the administration. Any Takers?

  7. Re: Bridgeport Sewage Scinto plan:

    Scinto mentioned last night on “Bridgeport Now”, the live TV show on channel 77, that there was an incremental dollar amount to be paid to the city beyond the one-time proposed payment. The dollar amount was not specified.

  8. It sounds like Bridgeport decides whether or not Monroe gets to have a $350 million property, with the related revenues. In this case let’s negotiate based on present value of revenue streams over the next 20 years or so.

    Start with Scinto’s numbers which justify the construction of the project in Monroe. Why shouldn’t Bridgeport get a substantial part of the incremental taxes to Monroe? And if that kiboshes the project, fine. The Jewish Home for the Elderly can stay in Bridgeport for a while longer. Scinto will go on to other projects.

    If the project will require or imply sewer plant expansion, shouldn’t the revenues from the project be sufficient to pay for the expansion? That’s just common sense.

    But not in Bridgeport.

  9. Lowlevel; Under the deal Finch is trying to ram down our throats two years of payments from Scinto will not put a dent in the costs of expanding our sewage treatment plant.
    If I had my way which I don’t, I just would not allow Monroe to hook in period. It’s time they and other towns start providing their own infrastructure. We provide enough services to the surrounding towns and it’s costing us taxpayers.

  10. I read the article in the Post today about some of the proposed cuts in the BOE. Baffled again by how many people it seems have take-home vehicles. I have a couple questions:

    1. How many people paid by the city have take-home vehicles?

    2. Are these all people who have to visit multiple sites regularly throughout the city?

  11. BigCity- Lots of luck on receiving an answer to your inquiry–I have been barking about this for more than 6 months–to no avail. I’m happy someone else is curious.

  12. *** BOE will continue to do nothing towards saving “$” ’til you get more members like Simmons & Baraka on board. *** And Finch probably still works for BRBC on a temp. basis & will continue to do anything that’s asked of him for downtown, etc. in Bpt. The only way out of this shitty mess is if money comes to Bpt. from the Fed. stimulus package for infrastructure development & the entire sewage system is redone @ a much larger capacity to acommodate future developments in Bpt. and surrounding towns? Other than that happening, it don’t look good once again for Bpt. taxpayers. Also, the council has a new member sitting in for the 131st district, Ms. Denise Taylor from Marina Village. In time, once she gets to know the system for what it is & gets enough backbone to stand on her own and does her homework, she should work out okay, especially representing the poor & lower- to middle-income families in the southend! Good luck to her & don’t let the bastards get you down once you’ve made up your mind. ***

  13. *** Two Boots Holiday gathering was very nice, Thank You Lennie & Co. for a warm welcome & great pizza, with old & new friends. I saw & met a few of the usual OIB bloggers and all seemed to be having a good time; Local Eyes, Blackrockin, Bruce Hubler, Cougar, Joel, Sal, Walsh, etc.*** Fabrizi and Estrada were there, also Mike Daley from the Post & Mary Moran, Rob Russo & Phil Kuchma just to name a few! The pizza was good & the beer cold, along with good people and local conversation, I would have to say I had a nice time. CHEERS! ***

  14. I am surprised that no one mentioned the fact that this Jewish Home development would be better for all parties if built, rather than not built, if negotiated properly. It has to be right for Trumbull, Bridgeport and Monroe. By the way lowlevel, the home is in Fairfield now not Bridgeport. Bridgeport doesn’t have any current benefit. Maybe Scinto hasn’t built in Bridgeport because this infighting has been par for the course. Why doesn’t Scinto commit to another development deal with the City to make this one an offer we can’t refuse? Has Himes weighed in at all? He does represent all three municipalities. Maybe he can repair some of the bad blood between them. If Scinto is paying the WPCA bill Bridgeport does get money in perpetuity. If they need to expand the plant Scinto could agree to pay his share plus any special assessment. Finch is trying to get the most money out of the deal for the general fund and repair what he can before 2011. Anyone who wants Finch out does not want to see him score any type of victory, that includes Fabs. However, Finch can’t try to save his ass by cutting a deal based on what is best for him. Buzi in Monroe doesn’t want to face reality that the majority of the assholes on the town council in Monroe don’t want Buzi to score any points either and they will cut off their proverbial nose to spite Monroe’s face. (If anyone paid attention Monroe’s Republicans smeared Bridgeport with more crap than this project during the election.) It would serve both towns right if Scinto took his ball and bat and moved to Shelton. Himes should weigh in, he is going to need Bridgeport in 2010 … all of Bridgeport. There will not be an Obama to carry the torch. I’d like to see this happen as a plug for successful regionalism because that is what is going to save this state.

  15. Lennie:
    Remember the first pol pod interview on June 23, 2008 with Council President Tom McCarthy? Regarding our sewage treatment plant, he said:
    “We don’t get the proper benefits back. I mean Fairfield County should be paying us for the fact that we have the hospitals, the fact that we have the sewage treatment plants.”

    “Big Mac’s not crazy about the deal as it exists, in part because it calls for an additional wastewater flow beyond the 85,000 gallons per day the Monroe development would force into the city’s sewer system. Under the current terms a new suburban development could come along that floods additional sewage into the city’s facility without a lifetime financial benefit to the city.”

    It sounds to me like McCarthy is just talking shit. On June 23, 2008 he complains about other towns not contributing to help Bridgeport. Here we are in a situation in which Paul Timpanelli (from Trumbull) is negotiating on behalf of Bridgeport the sewage treatment deal between Monroe, Trumbull and Bridgeport. Why isn’t Tom McCarthy the council president doing the negotiations? It’s going to be interesting to see what McCarthy will do when this contract comes to the council for a vote. Only then will we know whether or not the June 23, 2008 comment regarding the sewage treatment plant was a nice speech like Lennie said or just another elected official talking shit.

  16. I am confused about size of the proposed development in Monroe. Is it just the Jewish Center and Elderly units or much more? Someone told me that the buildout size of that development approaches 1 million square feet. Does anyone know the exact size of the development at full buildout?

  17. countdown – Last night on “Bpt Now” Scinto said the new Jewish Home … would be about 3 times the size of the existing Home–or just under a million square feet.

    After watching last night’s show I’m even more convinced that Bpt. should be able to negotiate a better deal with Monroe.

    Sorry I couldn’t get to Two Boots tonight, but I had to work late.

  18. MOJO:

    My Pizza was colder than the beer. Over all, the gathering had a positive vibe. Local Eyes kept his eyes on the beer and I wasn’t able to steal it. Once again, my favorite cat did not show up. I was looking forward to meet City Kitty and offer her a slice of tuna pizza. The first pizza was the one named Mr. Finch. I offered Mo a slice of Mr. Finch and she informed me that it wasn’t called Mr. Finch but Mr. Pink instead. Thank you Mo for the correction. Several miles away the Yahooy and Anna OIB Holiday event at Liberty Rock went smoothly. Yahooy and Anna shared one slice of Pizza and a cup of Kool-Aid. No other OIB members showed up.

  19. So let me see if I have this straight. A million square foot building is proposed for Monroe against all anti-sprawl, sustainable development policies and common sense. I bet it doesn’t conform to the State’s comprehensive plan of development. What is a million square foot development doing being proposed and supported outside of urban areas? First hurdle I can’t seem to get past.

    Second issue isn’t a capacity issue at the Bridgeport sewage treatment plants, it is the lack of sewer/storm separation that is putting the plants into crisis mode. When it rains, basements back up, drains overflow, sinks start seeing ugly colored water with ugly stuff floating in them. So, the second hurdle is how does any revenue to the City cover the debt service on the bonds necessary to finally separate the storm and sewer lines south of Route 1. I don’t see any solution to that hurdle.

    Third hurdle,
    How can there only be a short defined revenue stream? I agree with Fabrizi’s live letter–the revenue needs to be FOREVER.

    I just can’t get past 1 million square foot development in MONROE facilitated by Bridgeport.

  20. Countdown, Bridgeport could benefit from property owned by Scinto in Monroe. Bridgeport could be facilitating something good for itself if they can get something firm out of Scinto to develop in the City or something decent if Finch does it right. In every problem there is an opportunity, Bridgeport has to use this one.

  21. Sorry I couldn’t make it to Two Boots tonight, but I had another party to go to. So Joel missed me??? Thanks for the offer of tuna pizza (good grief), but I prefer my pizza with sausage. I would have liked to have met some of the bloggers but it’s a busy time of year. I am happy to hear you all had fun.

  22. *** Yes “Countdown” the new councilwoman is from Marina Village, a member of the 131st town committee & she took Santiago’s seat on the city council. She’s black, disabled and is a single mom with kids, one kid with a disability also. Very nice woman and very active in the community as well. Once she learns the ropes, hopefully she’ll do fine! ***

  23. Sewage Deal should be as follows,
    $5 million should be paid upfront with a pilot program in place permanently for a max flow-through. If they ever exceed the 85,000 gallon limit, then there should be an additional cost per gallon.

    There should also be a mechanism in place to shutdown the system if at any point payment is not collected …

  24. Sorry about the location error, folks. But my point stands.

    The revenues from the relocated home, and whatever else goes into the million Sq Ft should be sufficient to pay the increased costs, whatever they are, whenever they are. If Finch sits down at the table without those numbers, he is not performing his due diligence.


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