Scalpel Time: City Council Budget Chairs Seek Quixotic Eight Percent Department Reductions

It’s a big ask that will arouse irritation or perspiration, if not outright mock horror, but the co-chairs of the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee are encouraging municipal department heads to reduce respective spending by eight percent. Good luck with that.

Council members Maria Zambrano Viggiano and Michael DeFilippo open the letter (see above) highlighting Mayor Joe Ganim’s reelection pledge to cut taxes while adding more money to schools that have been essentially flat-funded for four years.

Department heads don’t normally receive a communique of this nature from members of the budget committee. It has no force of anything other than if you don’t cut maybe we will when it’s our turn. For starters, it’s an impossible ask for police and fire, the largest chunk of city side spending, whose budgets always grow via collective bargaining agreements, as well as other departments.

Department heads submit spending requests to Ganim and city bean counters who then prepare a budget proposal presented to the City Council the first week of April. The spending plan goes immediately to the budget committee where most of the nuts and bolts work is conducted: public hearings, interviews with department heads making their cases, committee spending-and-revenue alterations prior to a vote. The document then goes to the full council for ratification, followed by a mayoral veto window, then return to the 20-member body for a potential override in advance of the budget year starting July 1.

This ask by Viggiano and DeFilippo sounds like reach high, achieve less, but could be better than we’d normally receive from department requests if we don’t get involved early in the budget process.

Budget committee members: Viggiano, DeFilippo, Denese Taylor-Moye, Jeanette Herron, Matthew McCarthy, Jorge Cruz, Ernie Newton.

To contact your council members, here ya go:

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8 comments

  1. No way, of course this is not a firm number but a top line negotiating number. That percentage will cause a health and safety issue in both the police and fire department.

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  2. How do you use a PO Box for your home address? If you don’t live in town, someone might….. A few years back I delivered mail to 20 council members, some people were lying back then about their address…. Don’t make me name names…..

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    1. Hey Frank! Don’t be so judgmental, maybe people just move a lot and it makes it easier than doing that change of address form all the time!! LOL!!
      Of course you are right and you do know about that. The other side of the coin is that some have rental properties and could have a “special” mailbox at one location to get their “city” mail. Others WILL move out of town but keep their “elected” positions. Especially those with growing families and may now live in smaller dwellings and will want to send their children to schools in Trumbull and other towns. It’s just a matter of time with some.
      More to come!!!!!! Cheers.

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      1. Remember, although not a City elected official Mario Testa the Chairman of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee doesn’t reside in Bridgeport but in Monroe with his business interest in Bridgeport.

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        1. Read the first sentence you wrote “Although not an elected official “…… So, why make the statement? Its a non-issue….. Plus,
          He’s got great gravy for the pasta 🍝….. LOL…..

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          1. Frank, C’MON MAN, you know better, one person behind the power in the Democratic party and Joe Ganim is Mario Testa, NOBODY in Bridgeport has the political power that Mario has and he doesn’t even reside in Bridgeport.

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  3. *** Seeing is believing when it comes to the budget committee actually making a 8% city departmental cut in the budget. How about starting with the city’s legislation dept? I see there’s a few newbe’s on the council for this 2020 budget season that when on the “out-side looking in” used to think that council members (as individuals) had the power to do or pass all types of city ordinances & basically walk on water! Lets see if they walk the walk they used to talk about when on the out-side looking in? Many who have never contributed nor done anything positive for their districts or the city of Bpt. for that matter, but complain & point the finger of shame. Now that there on the “what have you done for me lately” city council, time will tell, no? ***

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