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State Budget Leaves $13 Million Gap In City Budget–Ganim: Voting Yes To Library Question Will Jack Taxes

November 3rd, 2017 · 73 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, Library, News and Events, State Politics

Ganim beancounters

Ganim addresses media Friday afternoon with finance officials Ken Flatto and Nestor Nkwo.

Addressing the media Friday afternoon, Mayor Joe Ganim announced the recently passed state budget, four months late, leaves a gaping $13 million hole in the municipal budget year that began July 1. Ganim also stressed that if city voters approve Tuesday’s ballot question to fund city libraries it will further exacerbate municipal finances and lead to a tax increase.

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?”

Ganim said the library, as a department, is running a $2 million surplus. If the referendum question is approved it represents another $2 million that the city cannot afford, he said. Ganim called the effort led by library supporters and directors a “flawed process” that did not pass the transparency test.

Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez, a harsh critic of the library question, attended the mayor’s news conference. “This is horrible what they’ve done,” he interjected during the mayor’s news briefing, claiming it was surreptitiously done. Later he told OIB that library supporters are “raping democracy.”

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. Moore and Gomes did not attend the mayor’s news briefing.

library petition

An image of a signature-supported library petition page provided by Joel Gonzalez shows the hancocks of City Councilman Alfredo Castillo as well as council candidates Marcus Brown who won a September primary and Rowan Kane who lost.

City bean counters say approval of the measure could impact other services and lead to a tax increase. 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. Library supporters argue they need $1 million more to operate. Ganim and city finance officials say if the question passes it actually means $2 million more than what the library system currently operates under.

In this sleepy election cycle it looks ground zero for Tuesday’s general will center on the library ballot question. The city’s political establishment is ramping up an effort to stake pol workers in front of every city precinct urging a no vote because it will raise taxes.

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 pushback by then-Mayor Bill Finch. Salcedo was then a board member. Only several dozen petition signatures are required to force the library referendum question.

City officials on Friday also had harsh words for the wording of the library question, including what they called a misleading reference to a “free public library.” There’s no free anything, they argue. It’s coming out of taxpayer pockets.

As for the state budget recently passed by the legislature–and signed by Governor Dan Malloy–after months of back-and-forth meowing, the municipal budget approved by the city council in the spring was based on the state revenue projections advanced by Malloy’s budget that received a cut.

Specifically, finance official cited these areas:

The governor had proposed a hospital tax to replace a payment in lieu of taxes that would have made the city budget whole. The hospital tax did not pass, as proposed by Malloy, creating a multi-million dollar city shortfall.

The state eliminated the Elderly Home ownership tax relief program leaving the city with a $542,000 burden, as well as the distressed municipality tax relief program with a negative impact of $548,000.

City finance officials and Ganim say they will be making an assessment of the city’s fiscal picture to determine how they can close the $13 million gap.

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73 Comments so far ↓

  • John Marshall Lee

    Instead of complaining about the Library vendetta that City Mayors have continued for more than 10 years, why not give us a chart and show where the City will feel the cuts? Is it City operating budget revenue that will be lost or BOE revenues? How much of each?

    When the elderly tax relief program is mentioned, does this include the shut down of funding and administration by the State of CT Office of Policy Management that supports the popular “renter’s rebate” program that brought checks to 3800 citizens last year with more than $2 Million of value? That program has a payout timeline of the few weeks before Election Day. The Homeowner tax relief program runs in the spring and might have provided $200 per applicant.

    The City has had this mandate dumped on it, it seems. What will they do other than moan about it as being unfair? Maybe it is time to shine a light on all expenditures (in OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST manner)? What a concept? Time will tell.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Transparent, you won’t admit that you signed the petition. For about 40 days you and all who signed the petition (Sept 6 to 7th) kept quiet about it. Smith and Spain signed the petition that would raise taxes and kept it quiet while on the campaign trail reminding Black Rock voters who raised their taxes. Is that what you mean by transparency?

      You Raped Democracy. By keeping the fact that there was a qualifying petition for the Library Referendum and kidnapping it for over a month, you snatched the opportunity for any other group to circulate a petition too. What if I or others wanted to circulate a petition to lower your taxes with the question: Shall a .50 mill tax be levied to operate a free public library and reading room? And let the voters decide? OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST. I hope it passes and in fact I’m voting in favor of it and ask all to do the same so that within a week or so after, I can challenge it in court.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Lennie Grimaldi, you forgot to put up the hotline number for the Rape Crisis Center.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      JML, can you at least tell me how long your “vendetta against many Bridgeport mayors has been going on.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Joel,
        On Monday evening November 6, I shall take my five minute Public Presentation time and comment on fiscal matters on behalf of taxpayers and underserved citizens of Bridgeport.
        1) I can sign any petition I wish to without reporting that behavior to anyone. Right or wrong?
        2) You accused me of “keeping quiet about it” as if I was in a position of power and was hiding something? Are you losing it man?
        3) I have watched Mayors Fabrizi, Finch and Ganim treat the Library Board and Department as “second class citizens”> That means those of us who use Library Services are the enemy? Why is that?
        4) The Library Board has had an ambitious building or rebuilding program in planning for several years without knowledge in the City Council because Council persons assigned the Liaison responsibility have not taken that seriously. Where is building program schedule for East End, East Side and Yellow Mill today?
        5) How will those locations get built without funding placed in Library budget that you term surplus in the current Library budgeting?
        6) Joel, if Ganim2 was not so busy running for Governor and entertaining lots of big projects with smaller dollar effects on future budget than imagined, perhaps someone might have been in touch with the Library Board. They meet regularly. Scott Hughes, former City Librarian, uncovered the concept and tried it out eight or nine years ago. Remember? Finch’s folly. He fought the people who use the Library and lost. What is that lesson Joel?

        Tune in tomorrow evening to hear how Mayor Ganim and the City Council have been spending your money, without plan, in the dark, and without OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE and TRANSPARENT HONESTY. What will you say then? Time will tell.

        • John Marshall Lee

          OLD MILL branch not Yellow Mill. Sorry.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          JML asks (as usual):

          “1) I can sign any petition I wish to without reporting that behavior to anyone. Right or wrong?
          2) You accused me of “keeping quiet about it” as if I was in a position of power and was hiding something? Are you losing it man?”

          Sure you can, you’re right. But, it makes you a hypocrite when you constantly demand transparency. You constantly post what you think is important and what you think we should know. Don’t you think voters should know about a referendum question that will cost all of us money?

          You are in a position of strength which is power. By hiding the existence of this referendum question, you all prevented and eliminated all possibility of any other citizen to circulate their own petition or even sign the ones you folks wer circulating, I noticed a lot of blank lines on those 8 pages. You and your wife gets to sign but fuck the rest of us right?

          • John Marshall Lee

            Joel,
            I was at a meeting to speak to the City COuncil. That is an entirely separate motivation from signing a public petition. I spoke. I was asked to sign. I read the language. I signed my name.

            And two months later I have a responsibility to alert you to what I do and why I do it? Delusional? Or worse? Is someone pressuring you, squeezing you real hard where you are vulnerable to be untruthful, unpleasant and inaccurate? Time will tell.

  • Jennifer Buchanan

    Best guess, he’s going to raise your taxes simply because he can justify it with the state budget shortage, blaming it on the library now – typical political move to CYA. Cut the city budget and spending – don’t see that happening.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      You rapist symphatiser.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Joel,
        Rape is a serious subject and accusation.
        Race is an equally serious subject.
        There are many more such “hot button” terms. What has caused you to move to your recent series of PROGANIM and STATUS QUO utterances fueled with hot button terminology? Time will tell.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          The same way you feel you had NO OBLIGATION to tell anyone of the petition as early as possible, I have the right to use any “hot button” terms I feel like using. Lennie Grimaldi should put up a ‘Democracy Rapist Registry’ and put your name on line 11 of the first page.

          • John Marshall Lee

            Joel,
            Pay attention, please, if you are able to do that?
            I went to a certain City Council meeting. You did not, did you?
            I met a number of fellow citizens. One of them was a member of the Library Board whom I know and respect. He had a petition and asked me to sign it.
            I read it. My wife did too. We each felt it worthy of support and we signed. (Is it at this point that you felt I had an obligation to talk about this petition? To whom? The Mayor’s office? My Council representatives who were also at the meeting where I signed? Joel Gonzalez, who criticizes passionately but cannot bring himself to credit ongoing fiscal reporting for years? Balderdash, Joel.)

            Heard nothing more for 6-7 weeks and asked Lennie in late October when he posted the ballot examples whether there was a Question on the ballot?
            Voila!!
            And in your fevered, conspiracy minded, and pressured mind, at the moment, that deserves me to be listed on a DEMOCRACY RAPIST REGISTRY?? Sicko? Socko! Time will tell.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      On point, 100%. the library mil rate will not cause an increase in taxes. What WILL cause an increase in taxes is Joseph P. Ganim’s unwillingness to trim the fat from the city payroll, all the incompetents that owe their continued employment to political favoritism, all the no-show jobs. Another step toward long term financial solvency would be reclaiming all the abandoned industrial properties blanketing the poorer neighborhoods in Bridgeport. If the legal department did a wee bit if due dilligence they could well find a way to do just that.

      But noooooo, that diesn’t work because there is no quick fix, no envelope fat with cash.

  • Gage Frank

    We can’t cut our way to prosperity. Libraries improve the quality of life for all residents and students as well as improving out property values. Joe was okay with a 29% tax hike, why not cut some of full-time cronies?

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      Have to agree with Mr. Frank. Libraries provide important and necessary functions for the community. All the books, CDs, DVDs, audio books are important. People can and do read a lot in Bridgeport (in spite of a public school system that produces high school graduates that have a hard time making it through Reader’s Digest and “Fun with Dick and Jane”). After-school programs for elementary school children, computer classes for adults, art and music classes for everyone, all of it improves the quality of life for the entire community. Raising the library mil rate will not increase taxes. If Mr. Ganim needs to balance  the budget he could start by trimming the municipal payroll of all the patronage jobs. How many incompetents were given well paying city jobs as reward for supporting Joe and Mario?

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Sure, now it’s all about the residents and students–the very ones y’all hid the qualifying petition from. “as well as improving out property values.” Don’t y’all maintain that the Grand List dropped 16%? You’re not being “Frank” with us.

      On Petition (Sheet number 1) line 7, Marilyn Moore appears as having signed the petition on September 6, 2017. The primary duty of State Senators is to get money for her district. After four (4) months of stalemate in Hartford all she and her cousin Senator Ed Gomes could deliver to their districts was a $13 Million Gap in addition to a $2 million hit if her library wish comes true. In return for her endorsement, she will secure the support of the Library supporters when she runs for re-election.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Refresh my memory, Speedy. You amputated your “trigger finger” outside the state Capitol and tried to have a friend deliver it to lawmakers during a public hearing Tuesday on gun legislation on March 8, 1994? 

        Pardon me for saying but that demonstrates questionable judgement, to say the least.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          You never showed any sign of concern for your safety the times we’ve been together, in fact you felt safer around me.
          I still have 9 digits now that’s what you and others fear.

          • The Bridgeport Kid

            My own safety? God my God, you must be joking. Should I be afraid that you will go postal?

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        By the way,

        I hid nothing from anyone. It is about the people of the city of Bridgeport being denied essential services by a mayor beholden to hidden special interests. It has ALWAYS been about the parents and children.

        I’m not going to get into a battle of wits with you, Joel. You’re not fully armed. I am reminded of a line from an old Warner Brothers cartoon. You have “pronoun trouble.”

        • Joel Gonzalez

          You’re watching too much cartoons Kid. Return those
          Disney movies to the Public Library. I’m in no battle of wits and I’m not delivering messages from the City Attorney’s Office like JML believes. Y’all are here mainly to attack what you guys see as the messenger. I’m here to separate the Bull Shit from The Reality as best I can. There’s a BIG difference between me and many an it’s not just in the numbers of finger I have. When I got to the store and put my Lotto tickets in the scanner, I and most people get this response:(Beeeep) Sorry, not a winner. When you do the same, you get this response:(Beeeeeeep) Sorry LOSER, you are not a winner. That is not our fault. Find something better to do than to accept employment during election cycles as an OIB/Internet troll; let alone pick on Speedy Gonzalez–that will pronounce trouble and aggravation to the likes of you.

      • Ron Mackey

        So Joel, what is your answer seeing that you disagree with Senator Gomes and Moore?

        • Joel Gonzalez

          Ron Mackey, where have you been? Days ago I demanded that both Senator Gomes and Moore (The Senators of East Windsor) go back to the Indians, have a Pow Wow with them and demand they fund the BPL shortfall. It’s too late to demand that they stop sabotaging the city of Birdgeport’s effort to bance our budget and keep taxes lor or lower them. Everything they’ve done doesnt help us at all. From the cigarette tax, the automobile mill rate increasing from 37 to 39 and 45 next year. This is after they approved the 37 mill in 2015 and claiming a victory for taxpayers. They give your one thing today and then they take it back. You know what that is called? It called Indian Giving. In short, stop “Indian Giving” and serve Bridgeport and our metro area first.

          • Ron Mackey

            Joel, first the days of demanding Indians Tribes is long gone, that know what it is to be second class citizens and these two Tribes in Connecticut will not give up their power, money and influence to nobody. You never said what you would do all you do is complain about what Moore and Gomes didn’t do but you have no answers on what you would do.

        • Joel Gonzalez

          Ron, I would do things they way they did the casino deal. They failed to include the entire Bridgeport delegation–it’s a splintered delegation. It’s up to the house and the senate (a majority of them)to decide whether or not it’s time to break the Monopoly. I believe the sooner they break it the better in the long run. The action of these two Senators raises my suspicion as to whether there was a ‘dark side’ to their action. If if was State Senator Joe Ganim voting the way the “Senate cousins” did, you and many other would be on his ass and on social media.

          Before you get on your High Horse and charge Speedy, think of this It was a representative of the Indians who sent a response to OIB in which he claims that MGM had a Senator and congressman who were bought and paid for. My question is, could the two for one State Senator be too?

          • Ron Mackey

            Joel, you said, “It’s up to the house and the senate (a majority of them)to decide whether or not it’s time to break the Monopoly,” well, if the two senators vote one way then you had the other 6 House members to vote the other way, well the majority of them from Bridgeport voted the way you wanted, so what’s the problem?

            Andre. Baker Jr. House District 124. Democrat. …
            Ed. Gomes. Senate District 23. Democrat. …
            Jack. Hennessy. House District 127. Democrat. …
            Marilyn. Moore. Senate District 22. Democrat. …
            Christopher. Rosario. House District 128. …
            Ezequiel. Santiago. House District 130. …
            Steven. Stafstrom. House District 129. …
            Charlie. Stallworth. House District 126.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            correction: I would not do…

          • Joel Gonzalez

            Ron, I don’t know how everyone voted. A web search of the casino vote can be made. I paid attention to the Senate vote. I knew they would vote the way they did. They’re pretty much predictable.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            Ron:

            By 103-46, the House granted final legislative approval for a satellite casino to be built by the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes that will be visible from Interstate 91 north of Hartford. The measure passed on a bipartisan basis on one of the most controversial issues facing the legislature in the past two years.

            The casino vote was the first of a two-bill gambling package that also called for an expansion of off-track betting sites and possible sports betting in the future. After a short debate, the so-called “sweetener” bill passed by 77 to 72 with two legislators absent.

          • Ron Mackey

            Joel, Senator Gomes and Moore vote didn’t stop anything.

    • Jennifer Buchanan

      Curious, what does we can’t cut our way to prosperity mean?

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Frank Gage, care to explain or comment on my postings? You are one of the key people/organizers who hid the petition from the public. Among the names is Johnny TORRES, does the name ring a bell. Why didn’t you sign the petition?

  • The Bridgeport Kid

    If Joe Ganim can find eight million dollars for an amphitheater without raising taxes he can live with this without raising taxes. How about trimming the bloat from the city payroll?

    • Michael Bottillo

      Right on kid

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Derek, what do you consider payroll fat?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        He is waiting for Library officials to get back to him with an answer. Lennie and I were there when the same question was asked and the mayor gave a response.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        I din’t have a list of city employees that owe their jobs to puckering up to the right keister. I’m guessing there are many redundant positions. There should be an audit of the municipal payroll.I’ll venture another guess an audit would uncover inconsistancies and irregularities that the mayor would have more than a little difficulty explaining. Several people hired to do the job of one, for example. Positions of authority held by unqualified individuals. No-show jobs. There must be a few of those. This is Bridgeport, go figure.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Lennie I will answer that one for myself and no one else.
        Try Ed Adams former FBI flunky
        Fore Police Chief
        Jose Tiago
        at least 2 city attornies
        unqualified Police Chief
        David Dunn
        Lisa Miron
        Just to name a few
        LENNIE you could help out here and live up to the title of this blog, you have taken a hands off approach lately.

        • Frank Gyure

          Andy,Don’t forget Dan Roach. First he was in the “Mayor’s Office” and I forgot his official title. Transferred to Public Works under John Ricci but wirking part-time ans still collecting close to a six-figure salary doing “WHAT?” for Ricci. Who knows where he is now?
          And what is John Gomes doing. He was “demoted” to part time with close to a six-figure salary

        • Ron Mackey

          Let’s not forget about former Police Chief Wilbur Chapman who is on the payroll.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Kid is still wet behind the ears. The $7.5 is to be bonded.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        Blah-blah-blah, Joel. Ypu are so full of hot gas if you backed into a knitting needle you’ll fly around the room like antied party balloon.

      • John Marshall Lee

        You and the Mayor like bonding. You seem to think that it makes an expense disappear. The public has accepted the idea that a $15 million dollar renovation is required. Has there been an RFP that justifies the expenses promoted? What if the project only costs $10 Million? And the City bonds for $7.5 Million? Who oversees that it’s a 50/50 deal especially with the different roles for labor supplied to the project?
        Bonding generally means that you will pay the $7.5 Million divided into 20 annual payments PLUS the cost of interest that can double the cost over time depending on the interest rate assigned. What expenses does a 20 year bond repayment crowd out in future years? What does the extra expense of interest contribute to such a project? If the deal were financially so good, why can’t the CIty as Landlord, demand that all of the improvements be paid by the tenant who has a 20 year lease? (Back in the day, didn’t the City with a local publican communicator, tell the Black Rock Arts Center to do all of the upgrading for the building even though they were not offered more than a one year lease?)

        You know my number, Joel. If you need more detail, give me a call. When you are the only person on a blog beating the drum for a Mayor who will not discuss fiscal matters and continues to “lie” about the State bill passed that allowed bonding the current liability for POLICE AND FIRE OVERTIME for about $100 Million without ever calling it that, and continuing to treat it as a “windfall”. We know that it is not raining out of doors, but someone has directed the dog to urinate on our trousers. Yes? TIME WILL TELL.

    • DC Faber

      Preach on Kid!

  • Frank Gyure

    I support the Library referendum. Anyone who thinks that today’s Libraries are “just books” is behind the times. With excellent and innovative Chief Librarians in charge of the whole systen and the branches,Libraries become community centers. Libraries creat a community. Libraries become a place to have community meeting. Libraries give internet access to those who may not have. Today’s Librarians and Libraries are information manager that help information seekers to go beyond Google and Wikipedia and onto peer-approved date sites. I do agree with some of the points here that the mills going to the Library should be revued and change s as The Grand List. However,the original reason for this charter change was the rape of the Bridgeport Public Library by previous mayors which got so bad that even the main Burrough’s Branch was effected by reducing hours. I so supported The BPL by being a volunteer page in my late teens.So,now Joe Ganim et al will have two reasons for “financial duress; the cutback in state aid and the Library Referendum(of course,we still have to see how that will work out with the voters.”

    • Frank Gyure

      some spelling and grammar mistakes but I hope everyone understands.

    • Frank Gyure

      On October 23rd,2017 there was a posting here in OIB about the ballot that city voters would be looking at on Election Day. I pointed out that there was an additional referendum question concerning the BPT Public Library designated mill-rate financing.Since then, this issue has exploded.

      • LennieGrimaldi

        Thank you, Frank. I’m blessed with alert readers!

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Frank Gyure, I raised that point, I did notice that only after you asked the question, Lennie then informed us of the ballot question. What is also interesting is how did you know that there was a ballot question regarding the Public Library? Your name is not on the BPL Petition. I do know that a few candidates in Black Rock, JML and his wife and a few BlackRockers signed the Petiton as early as Sept 6 and 7. How did you find out who told you?

        • Frank Gyure

          Joel…..if you raised that point I will not contest you on that. I saw the info about the Library vote on another social media page. In Black Rock we are blessed with a dynamic and proactive Head Librarian,John Soltis and his staff. The Black Rock branch has interwoven itself into the community and could be an example to other branch libraries. I don’t know of any “Black Rock Conspiracy” about all this. Had the organizers done a more aggressive canvassing for signature,I am certain more would have been gotten….including my own.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            There wasn’t realy any door to door signature gathering and that was by design. O’Donell witnessed two of the eight petitions, for a total of fifty (50) signatures. All collected on one or two sites. On the petition shown above, has anyone noticed first name: OIB friend Eric Alicea

          • Frank Gyure

            Joel…in two years if you want to have any charter change about the financing of the Bridgeport Public Library,that will be your opportunity to make a difference. You can decide the wording of the charter change.I am sure that you can easily get 50 signatures. And,then,ultimately it will be up to the people of Bridgeport who happen to come out to vote to make that decision. A decision will now be made within 48 hours. Joel,you will have your opportunity to present a choice to the People of Bridgeport.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Frank on October 23 I posted a response to Lenny’s initial ballot article. I asked if there were a question on the ballot. I had signed a petition but did not know whether it had made it to the ballot. On Octover 24, Frank more specifically asked the question about Library.
        I personally signed it at a public meeting, probably a City Council meeting held at Geraldine Johnson School. What’s the problem with use of a referendum Joel? You accuse supporters of secrecy, but the biggest secret causing long term budgetary distress was the movement of Public Safety personnel from Pension B Plans with the City to MERS. All of sudden pension benefits could double for retirees. WHat would be the cost of this? Finch – silence. Ganim -more silence, except he wants credit for funding the problem completely (which the bond will not accomplish unless interest rates nearly double on average from where they have been the last 10 years). Folks, Joe Ganim’s Plan A is nearly broke. To sustain payments to retirees it is causing current taxpayers to pay about 50% of the benefits today in addition to the expense of bond payments and interest/ What a revolting situation? Why does no City Council member, or paid City employee acknowledge this truth? Time will tell.

    • Frank Gyure

      Correction on my initial comment….I wrote”Libraries are information manager that help information seekers to go beyond Google and Wikipedia and onto peer-approved date sites”. It should read at end of sentence….”onto peer-approved database sites.”

  • Jeff Kohut

    The City of Bridgeport is teetering on bankruptcy just as a function of its own, local needs outpacing its ability to generate the taxes needed to accommodate the inflationary and social distress-related strains on a shrinking (real terms)local tax base. If we consider that there is an economic implosion occurring at the state-level, with increasing state needs far out-pacing (declining) state revenue, then we realize that we are subject to not just local-level, municipal failure, but also to the unthinkable situation of being near ground-zero in the impending state-level economic implosion… Now; if we look at the federal level chaos/dysfunction and national, geographic/demographic, inter-state/inter-group contention/antipathy (in the context of an overheated stock-market and obfuscated — obscured/distorted economic/employment picture that belies a national prosperity which exists in a most skewed, concentrated context, in any event), then we have to realize that we are living in dismal, dangerous territory — that we, as a municipality and state (and nation) are drifting farther down the proverbial creek in search of a paddle…

    We have been failed at all levels of government; our political/social mood should be somewhere between darkest depression and reddest (w?)fury… And we should be mindful that things will be getting much worse — and sooner than we’d like to think… We should really be thinking of turning things at all levels of government upside down and replacing most of our current local, state, and federal-level elected officials and functionaries with something radically different in focus and method that is directed toward securing our social and economic viability… As important as libraries are to education/social viability, the library mil-rate levy is an inappropriate distraction at this time — let those who feel strongly in favor of the need for increased funding for libraries (which is ALWAYS indicated), organize and execute some book collections/sales and bottle/can drives, etc…).

    In the mean-time, as we contemplate the impending Trump impeachment, we should be nurturing our anger and looking to turn the political (mess) status quo on its ear and replacing our self-serving, ineffectual local, state, and federal representation with something radically different in focus and philosophy… We have been failed by inept, lazy, self-serving representation at all levels of government, with only rare exception (I would site Rosa Delauro for our federal delegation as a rare beacon of light in Congress…). This applies 100% to City Hall, the CC, and the GA delegation for Bridgeport, as well to our Fourth District representation…

  • Kelvin Ayala

    So let me get this straight. Joe is not worried about the piss poor Laz Parking contract bleeding the city of $450+ annually. He’s not worried about where he is getting $7.5Million to give to Howard Saffan for the ampitheathre. No no need raise taxes to give away that money. BUT OMG, the library board is crazy to try and seek the same amount of money they have operated under annurally to continue to library growth plans for the city. And then tries to make the people of Bridgeport feel bad and threaten us with tax hike. This dude ruffles my feathers, his arrogance, his lack of morals, and complete lack of judgment.

    • The Bridgeport Kid

      You’re not the only one, Mr. Ayala. All the hoopla that the BPL mill rate will raise taxes is just so much Chicken Little bullshit. Mr. Ganim could find the money to balance the budget by auditing the books. I’m sure there are many areas the budget could be trimmed by cutting payroll and wasteful expenditures. But that might ruffle a few feathers…

      • Joel Gonzalez

        Hey Kid, here’s the winning number so that you don’t have to hear that hurtful message you always get:

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        Cash5 numbers for 11/04/2017 released: 08-11-25-28-35 #lottery bit.ly/1lVCmfI
        11 hours ago · Twitter

        The administration has been keeping a close look at our finances. They are taking the necessary steps to deal with the $13 million deficit. The BPL board must do the same just like any other city department. WITH 8 MONTHS LEFT OF THE FISCAL YEAR, IT’S POSSIBLE THE CITY OF BRIDGEPORT UNDER JOE GANIM WILL PULL THROUGH.

        I heard a rumor that Senator Ed Gomes and Marilyn Moore will be conducting Indian Snow Dances all winter long. They are hoping that by doing this, Bridgeport gets hits with constant heavy snow and they can blame Joe Ganim for the lack of snow removal and at the same time the cost hurts the deficit reduction process.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Hi Kelvin Ayala, you are the kind of person one can have an informative and educated conversation with, you’re not a Kid.

      On LAZ parking: I’ve noticed a lot of empty spots where the meters are located on the street. Then there are the Parking Garage and the parking lot. Is the presence of the meters forcing or encouraging people to park in the garage and lots owned and operated by LAZ? The court tells jurors to park in the parking garage for example. Has there been any raising of the parking garage price to park there? I’m not sure that the City is bleeding as the contract allowed LAZ to keep most of the expected revenue. The City now gives parking tickets citywide.

      On the Amphitheater, the $7.5 million is coming out of bonding and it has no immediate impact on the budget or general funds. The $15 million investment or expenditure stays in City owned property. The contract was not kept secret like the library question was and done the way I describe here. I not do I believe the mayor is threatening anyone with a tax hike. I’m simply warning the voter of how it works or plays out. I’m sure you don’t support the way the library question organizers and supporter went about it so far.

      I encourage you to consider bringing Joe’s Burger to the Amphitheater. Heck, I’m contemplating bringing Joel’s Burger and Finger Food out of my home kitchen. I’m sure you’re not afraid of competition like the BPL referendum question supporters were and still are.

      • The Bridgeport Kid

        So, when you flash a oeace sign does it look like a check mark?

      • Kelvin Ayala

        Joel,

        To your point regarding parking. Specifically Imperial parking has seen an uptick in people coming to use their lots, That’s the Holiday inn lot and adjacent lot that housed 10 Middle Street. No Lot downtown has raised rates to take advantage which is a good thing.

        The amount of empty parking meters spaces are of great concern. The damage is done to downtown, people who did support have opted out due to the annoyance. The amount of empty spaces do not correlate with more folks using the lots. It simply shows less people coming downtown. The sales numbers and 6 business closing in 5 weeks prove that.

        In nov 2016, the CC approved a $20 Million dollar bond on OPED request for Downtown Infrastructure improvement and and capital improvements downtown to spurt economic activity. I wholeheartedly disagree on giving 1/3 of this money to a developer . That was not the purpose and intent o this money, but a year has gone by, the money is there, and Joe is offering it to these guys (Despite an RFQ out by the city to help advise and how to use these funds properly).

        It’s a horrible deal and kills economic development downtown. I can turn you first hand, the Ballpark could be packed, and the Arena at the same time and business impact downtown was minimal. Same will happen with ampitheathre until we address Traffic Flow, development synergy between projects, and PARKING AUTHORITY to manage future revenues to grow stimulate downtown.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Does Joel Gonzalez work for the City of Bridgeport Police Department? Does he earn overtime annually? Why is he so against the Library question and its supposed secrecy when he has failed to comment upon the Police Contract in 2015 (covering 2012-16) that has caused the City budget to cover millions of extra pension contributions to fund police overtime without a single public announcement of such expense? Why did more than a couple financial abuses (illegal behavior) of the Finch administration pass two years with no official comment by the Ganim2 group? Time will tell.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    No, I work for the City Of Bridgeport (Public Facilities) I’m assigned to the BPD. Yes, I do get OT. The OT hours is split in a rotation of weekends between 3 of us working maintenance. Although this is none of your business, I have no problems divulging the facts. Had you simply answered my question on a matter that is public information, without making stupid accusations, I would have passed on getting copies of the petition. You (not the city attorney) caused me to open a can of worms that may cause many to pause when dealing with you. The real guilty ones are the organizers behind the petition especially O’Donell–he put all signers on the spot light.

    • Frank Gyure

      WOW.. I can really tear into that comment/response. But I will just turn my back and let all others make their own judgments on the behavior of one particular OIB post-er on one specific OIB subject.

      • Frank Gyure

        Public Works/Facilities(whatever) is the newest goose that lays the golden eggs. Ricci got rid of Enviro and is now spending millions of
        dollars. Something stinks in the pit at Asylum Street.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Joel,
    Thanks for sharing some of your employment facts. If you work for Public Facilities, your ultimate boss is John Ricci, who also manages the Department of Aging, go figure, where more than one “politically activist” is receiving compensation from City taxpayers, though the actual hours spent, services provided might be part of an important jobs audit and review in the City in my opinion.

    If each department in the City were graded by a referendum process, something I am not advocating at this time, there would be few where people know and appreciate what the Library represents to the Bridgeport public today. Isn’t that the question that will be answered tomorrow? Time will tell.

  • Michael Bottillo

    They say Bridgeport car tax is going up 2mill why? Joe do move with less

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