The Budget Vote, Jimmy’s Vote And Party Note

Yikes. Work on the city budget is hardly finished, although the full City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on the $494 million spending plan that begins July 1.

“I’m kicking back an unbalanced budget,” says Budget and Appropriations Committee co-chair Bob Curwen. Curwen says Mayor Bill Finch’s proposed budget has a $4 million dollar hole reliant on city employee givebacks. It also includes, as approved by the budget committee, a tax increase a shade below one mil. A mil represents roughly $7 million.

In addition, because the Connecticut Legislature failed to take action on extending the real estate conveyance tax that represents $2 million to the city, the budget faces an additional revenue shortfall if state lawmakers don’t go into special session to extend it. Legislators had an oops moment when they failed to extend the real estate tax program before the end of the regular session last week.

The mayor will have two weeks to act on the budget the council passes. He has strong veto power. The council generally sets the mil rate the first week in June in time for July tax bills.

May Madness

May convention madness starts tonight when Congressman Jim Himes will be endorsed by Democratic delegates to seek reelection to his Fourth District U.S. House seat. Where has the time gone? In 2008 Jimmy knocked off 20-year incumbent Republican Chris Shays in the Barack Tsunami. Shays moved to Maryland, toyed with a guber run, but recently closed on a condo in Black Rock to stay in touch with his peeps. He’s sitting out this cycle. Several Republicans are poised for an August primary to challenge Himes including Shelton State Senator Dan Debicella, the favorite to win the GOP endorsement, and former Bridgeport GOP Chair Rick Torres and Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann.

This time Jimmy will be running on his record with a much lower turnout in Bridgeport. But he’ll have plenty of moolah to make his case. Hey, we passed health care for the neediest of folks, we have the economy back on track, and we took down the Congress Street bridge.

But, at what cost? Republicans will argue. Your answer to everything is print money, bloat the deficit, mortgage our future and you’re in bed with your former employer Goldman Sachs. It’s gonna get ugly. Barring something screwy this will be a competitive race based on the makeup of the 17-community district that includes Bridgeport and heavily Republican suburbs. Unaffiliated voters will sway this election, as well as the guber race.

The convention to endorse Himes starts tonight at 7 in Central High School.

Party With OIB

We’re having a party … Tuesday starting at 5:30 at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn Blue Martini bar. General Manager Bill McGarry will help throw a sweet event. First cocktail on OIB plus neat eats. Park in the garage behind the hotel on Middle Street, validate your parking ticket at the front desk, and head over to the Blue Martini. Yeah, baby, ya never know who’ll show up at an OIB party.



  1. Himes needs to get some of his facts straight.
    Yes they passed health care but at what cost to the majority of Americans? Medicare under this bill will be cut thus hurting the one segment of the population most needy and most defenseless. Big companies are exploring the fact that it would be cheaper for them to pay the fine for not giving employees health care than it would to provide health care. Explain that Jimmie.
    The economy has turned around? What planet are you on? The unemployment rate is still 9.7 or higher and there is no end in site. The only areas where the economy has improved is for your banker friends who got billions of $s interest free.
    Yeah thanks for the money to take down the Congress Street bridge but that’s only solving half the problem now we have a road to nowhere and no hope of replacing the bridge.

    1. Cutting MediCare would hurt the neediest & most defenseless segment of our population?


      In 2010, America’s senior citizens are the most privileged, pampered and flagrantly subsidized people in the history of mankind!

      America’s $12 trillion dollar debt has a counterpart: Medicare has been a freebie since 1965 and Social Security increases have always been unearned. It’s the story of how boomers subsidize their parents …

      In addition, there’s plenty of hope to replace The Congress Street Bridge, it’s called “tomorrow,” which in this case is represented by the next tax cycle, which as every pessimist knows is always coming soon.

      Local Eyes wonders how people can have such negativity so early in the week.

      Here’s the answer preferred by OIB fans everywhere:

  2. Local Eyes: From the Center on American Poverty:
    If Social Security benefits did not exist, an estimated 44 percent of the elderly would be poor today, assuming no changes in behavior.
    Yet there is still work to do. Currently, 3.4 million seniors age 65 and older live below the poverty line. Millions more are barely making ends meet just above the poverty line. While 9.4 percent of seniors had incomes in 2006 below the poverty threshold of $9,669 for an individual, and $12,186 for a couple, nearly a quarter of older Americans (22.4 percent) had family incomes below 150 percent of the poverty line.
    BTW Medicare is not FREE.
    Negativity in the beginning of the week? Why are things better in the beginning of the week? Less taxes, less poverty, less crime all attributed to the beginning of the week? GMB

    If we had a better measure of poverty, the elderly poverty rate would be considerably higher. The current poverty measure gives no consideration to health care costs, among other problems.

  3. Let’s face it: if The Center on American Poverty doesn’t find poor people, they’re not doing their job, right? TCOAP is a biased org that simply serves yours and their purposes. I urge you to change your reading habits in order to form a more even-handed view.

    Without mentioning your name, negativity so early in the week was aimed directly at you.

    Conclusion: GMB

    bonus: Medicare isn’t free–it’s just the best (permanently underwater) insurance program in the history of the printed word.

    Medicare is better than free!

    1. You can call it what you want but it is a fact of life. Things don’t get better because it’s Monday. Although in your small world they may. When you are looking for facts you go where they are not where you think they are. Show me a site that refutes what I wrote.

  4. Something to think about. If I were to re-develop my living room I would remove “EVERYTHING” and start anew, while if I were to develop my living room I’d use what was already there and enhance or add items to make it better. If Bridgeport continues to re-develop and not develop where will we (those who live here now) be moved to. Most people like what Stamford is now as opposed to 20 years ago but I ask how those who lived there then feel about Stamford now. If you’d like to ask someone all you have to do is visit Norwalk and ask 10 people 7 of them probably lived in Stamford then. I say let’s DEVELOP and be cautious of re-developments.

  5. Thank you to OIB contributors for insight over the past few weeks on the development of and anomalies with the 2010-11 municipal budget. While the Tuesday night party offered by OIB provides a more free-flowing and social environment, I am surprised at how relatively few comments there have been overall about next year’s budget.
    It is very interesting for Bob Curwen to be ready to return an “unfinished budget” to City Hall. It would seem employee givebacks not yet agreed to, State monies not forthcoming unless a Special Session is held in Hartford, etc. as a foundation of the coming City spending plan are in the same category as sale of City properties that do not get sold or assumptions on expenses that are once again proven unrealistic in a succeeding year, that have been part of past City budgets.
    Perhaps someone from the City Finance Office, Treasurer or the Council Budget Committee might like to comment on the use of Tax Anticipation Notes. If money is borrowed in one budget year to make up a deficit in that year, but paid back in the next budget cycle (from tax revenues that really should be applied to that current year) is the budget problem being papered over? Do we have a large and increasing problem here? What is the municipal uncommitted fund balance at this time? A one-mil tax hike one year before a Mayoral election would be positive for an incumbent, but if it is caused by “sleight of hand” budgeting and continued lack of transparency, it could be terrible for property tax owners, and for the whole process of attempted future economic development. If anyone wishes to comment on this in OIB, would you please identify yourself as a Bridgeport property owner–taxpayer or not. Self-interest in this regard is not a conflict of interest. This is a serious matter because ten years of little attention to a declining City fund balance has left very little margin for error.
    There will be no cavalry to come to the rescue, because other levels of government have to do their own major budget repairs. Follow the dialogue tonight … and continue it tomorrow evening at the Holiday Inn.


  7. It seems to me the people of Bridgeport just don’t give a shit about the budget and its ramifications on their tax bills and their expenses.
    I live in a residential neighborhood on the East End. In the past 2 weeks I have visibly watched 3 families who have not been able to pay their WPCA/ water bills. In 2 instances the water was shut off and in the 3rd a shutoff noticed was left on the door. Now there will be a tax increase.
    The budget committee went through their dog and pony show for about 2 weeks and returned a budget with a 4-6 million $ shortfall. This same budget committee also approved 4.5% raises for the mayoral appointees all of whom make in excess of $100K. Certain members of the council who work for the city were given $10K & $14K raises. Tonight the lemmings oops I’m sorry the common council will approve this sham budget with Walsh probably being the only no vote. The shame of this is the people of Bridgeport won’t say squat and will vote these same people back into office. If you can’t pay your water bill how do you pay your taxes?

  8. Town Committee

    You answered a post of mine yesterday by saying you are on the town committee and have not been told to vote for Lamont.

    This after I said delegates were told to vote for Lamont, DELEGATES.

    So I asked if you were a delegate and you conveniently did not respond even though you respond to everyone and everything ad nauseum.

    Hence, I got my answer.


    Going forward … don’t respond to something I post if you can’t back it up.

    1. Sorry my mistake but the Town Committee as of today has not endorsed Lamont thus the delegates have not been given their marching orders.
      In the case of backing it up I did not realize this was an adversarial post or response. I guess you never made a mistake. Good for you. Hey being retired gives one a lot of free time thus a lot of posts.

      1. The marching orders have been given, you want to be a delegate you do as I say or forget the free trip to Hartford. Period.

        Lamont is a sleaze and has hooked up with greaseballs. Period.

        The city is being run by sleazeballs and the BOE is being run by incompetent sleazeballs.

        Only hope is to hang on another year and a half and watch the sleazeballs get pink-slipped outa town.

        Day of reckoning is coming for the so-called machine, karma is a bitch, the toes that were stepped on the last few years are connected to the ass you will be kissing in a year and a half.

  9. *** Ah, games people play; answer most questions, and some “not!” *** Not looking at the budget proceedings from “inside” the box, my calculations may be off? Lets see, $4million (minus) “assumed” union workers give-backs? / $7million (1 mil-minus) “assumed” voted library “$” increase? / $2 million (minus) “assumed” state’s real-estate conveyance tax? = $13 million (minus) “assumed” of course; Mayor’s recommended (2010-2011) city budget. *** Political budget game #101; why blame the B&A Committee or Council for an assumed city budget based on future incoming “$” assumptions? This current admin. claimed 2 years ago right after taking over a budget based on unrealistic future “$” assumptions would not be “acceptable” in calculating future city budgets! Who’s to blame, ah that’s the question? Political savvy thing to do is “Wash your hands” of the whole thing & give it back to the assumption makers as “unacceptable” and vote “NO” on the whole package! Is that not “dramatic” or what? Elections are not that far away to start backing away from the status quo and siding with the voting city taxpayers, “hello”! *** Not the answer you like, well then let’s just blame everybody starting with the city’s voters, D.T.C., City Council, Mayors Admin., State Legislators, Gov.& Fed. offices & the state political media coverage. Hope I didn’t miss anyone! *** FORGETABOUTIT ***


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