On Monday the chief elected officials of Bridgeport, Trumbull and Monroe will shoot the shit (in more ways than one) over a proposal to construct a new Jewish Home for the Elderly with all three towns carving up property taxes as a result of Monroe hooking into the Trumbull sewer line connected to Bridgeport’s mother ship.
Proponents of the Monroe development call it Bridgeport’s royal flush, while critics say it’s just another way of suburbia crapping on the city.
Here’s what’s going on: Bridgeport Regional Business Council chief Paul Timpanelli is brokering a tax deal between all three towns for the $150 million development proposed by Shelton-based land czar Bob Scinto. Mayor Bill Finch desperately wants at least $1 million in tax revenue to plug into the current year budget that ends June 30 and at least another million for each of the next two years. After that, the tax revenue ends.
In addition, both Trumbull First Selectman Ray Baldwin and Monroe Selectman Tom Buzi want a greater pound of flesh than the deal initially proposed.
The question by critics: is Finch selling the store for some quick up-front money, as former Mayor Lenny Paoletta did regarding the regional garbage plant in the West End, eschewing the long-term gain?
The Jewish home will generate roughly 85,000 gallons a day of sewage, but negotiations have included extending the flow from Monroe to Trumbull to Bridgeport upwards of 250,000 gallons per day. This opens the door for another entity, say a medical building, or large-scale development to pipe in that would not otherwise materialize because Monroe does not have its own sewer system. What strain does this place on the city’s tired sewage system? Clearly, a project such as Steelpointe (if it ever happens) would require tens of millions of dollars of upgrades.
Once you open that spout from Monroe into Bridgeport, there’s no stopping it. The shits gotta go somewhere, and it’s coming Bridgeport’s way.
Bijou Square developer Phil Kuchma and leadership at Bridgeport Hospital (which knows something about dealing with sewage discharge) are concerned it’s a sucky deal for the city. Still other critics say it’s just bad public policy to open the city sewage valve to suburban communities, especially one two towns away.
If you had a business would you allow the adjoining business to pipe in to your system? Would you allow your neighbor to pipe into your septic?
From what I’m hearing Finch is in agony over closing the budget gap while staring at another huge hole for the budget year beginning July 2009 and a state legislature and governor saying don’t expect us to save you in this economic climate–we’ve got our own problems. Merry Christmas!
The Bridgeport City Council would have to sign off on any deal Finch cements. There are two revenue streams here: the tax piece that goes to the city and a flow fee that goes to the Water Pollution Control Authority.
Don’t forget, Wednesday Dec. 17, 5:30 p.m., OIB party at Two Boots on Fairfield Avenue. Say hello, down some pie and let’s all contribute to the growing strain on the city’s sewage treatment plant! Isn’t that an appetizing thought?