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Tracking Malloy’s Financial Commitment To Bridgeport, The Money Allocation Database

July 7th, 2014 · 12 Comments · Analysis and Comment, Development and Zoning, News and Events, State Politics

What’s Governor Dan Malloy’s commitment to Bridgeport compared to other municipalities? An OIB post last week, Malloy’s Bridgeport problem, covered the state’s failed two-year recruitment of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. It triggered debate about Malloy’s devotion to Connecticut’s most populous city. Malloy critics maintain the recruitment of Bridgewater to Stamford that cost $16 million as part of a $115 million incentive package could have been invested in one of the state’s distressed cities. Malloy supporters counter the governor’s not receiving enough credit for his support to Bridgeport.

The state Bond Commission whose agenda is controlled by the governor is the place where project funding requests are approved. A state portal Bond Allocation Database tracks the various projects approved for Connecticut municipalities. You plug in a municipality and a page loads about the various project approvals and associated state expenditure. It allows for city comparisons, for instance Bridgeport versus New Haven, etc. Who’s getting the goodies?

Malloy’s critics say he’s preoccupied with wiring all the good stuff to his hometown Stamford, where he served as mayor. It appears–if the data portal is up to date–Malloy’s emphasis has been placed on recruiting businesses to Stamford with major tax incentives, rather than direct bond allocation for projects.

How’s Bridgeport doing? For the past year, as a sampling, the database shows $5.2 million allocated for matching funds for a federal grant to finance runway safety improvements and related work at the city-owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport; $9.3 million to Bridgeport Landing Development, LLC to assist in financing construction and infrastructure improvements for development of an approximately 140,000 square foot Bass Pro Shops retail store at Steel Point; $500,000 to the city for the Black Rock Business District Improvement Program; $2 million to the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation to implement a minority business enterprise assistance program; $530,000 for construction of a new park and playground on Wayne Street; $1 million for flood control projects; $220,000 for improvements to Curiale School; $434,000 for improvements to Dunbar School; $1.4 million for the construction of an Andean Bear exhibit at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo; $786,000 to assist Charter Schools with capital improvements and repayment of debt; $712,000 to assist Charter Schools with capital improvements and repayment of debt for New Beginnings Family Academy.

Many of the spending requests come from members of the city’s legislative delegation and Mayor Bill Finch.

The database goes back to 1995, covering the John Rowland and Jodi Rell years as governor, so you can track the bond allocations that  financed various projects such as $7 million for the ballpark at Harbor Yard back in 1997. The Jodi Rell years, for instance, were much leaner to the city than the Malloy years.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Joel Gonzalez

    “… $220,000 for improvements to Curiale School; $434,000 for improvements to Dunbar School; $1.4 million for the construction of an Andean Bear exhibit at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo; $786,000 to assist Charter Schools with capital improvements and repayment of debt; $712,000 to assist Charter Schools with capital improvements and repayment of debt for New Beginnings Family Academy.”

    Over $2.8 million for a wild animal to be locked in a Zoo and charter Schools.

    “… $220,000 for improvements to Curiale School; $434,000 for improvements to Dunbar School …”

    Priorities?

  • John Marshall Lee

    Joel, I am all for prioritizing. But whether apples or watermelons come first …???

    Are you saying the Andean Bear should not have an appropriate home at Connecticut’s only zoo? And I have not written on the subject nor researched it yet as to the flow of $$$ for buildings and maintenance for Charter schools and how that compares with the State of CT payments at the 80% or higher level for bonded City of Bridgeport school improvement projects.
    Residents of the City need jobs and government providing genuine occupational opportunities in the PRIVATE sector seems a stretch in most circumstances.
    With the Mayor promoting “green machine” topics, and the Governor offering dollars and/or tax credits, it would seem there might be a match to do something worthwhile in Bridgeport on land that is underused, with people who are underemployed and work that does not require great transportation support. Are there such programs among the Mayor’s environmental options? Time will tell.

  • charlie

    Malloy has stated by his actions, human and civil rights have a price tag in Connecticut. If Native Americans were anything but an insignificant minority this would not be so.

  • Jimfox

    State Bond Commission Sends Bucks To Bridgeport, Banshee Steps Up For Beardsley Zoo
    June 22nd, 2013

    Bridgeport on Friday had a good day courtesy of the State Bond Commission chaired by Governor Dan Malloy. Among the items awarded to Bridgeport:

    – $2.5 million for Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo to build a new Andean bears exhibit.

  • Jimfox

    jimfox // Jun 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm
    Ever since Governor Malloy and Auden Grogins signed on to the POT bill, they seem to be hallucinating again.

    What Bridgeport really needs is a freaking tax break, Rep. Grogins!
    Not $2.5 Million to take Andean Bears into captivity at Beardsley Zoo.

    Maybe this will help Gov. Malloy and Rep. Grogins.

    Bear conservation: Andean bears are an endangered species listed by the IUCN Red List as vulnerable to extinction and there are thought to be fewer than 20,000 wild Andean or spectacled bears. In order to save the bears, we work in several different aspects of bear conservation.
    Andean Bear Rescue is unfortunately necessary when local people illegally take bears into captivity–usually cubs orphaned when their mothers are shot. By rescuing these bear cubs we not only save them from a life of captivity but also return them to the breeding population in the wild to help with conservation of the species as a whole.
    Find out more about Andean bear rescue.
    Bear Rehab & Release–when possible we rehabilitate and liberate rescued Andean bears so that they can go on to breed and strengthen the genetic diversity of this endangered bear species.

    www .andeanbear.org/index.html

  • Jimfox

    I’m sure the underwater (42%) people in Black Rock are very Happy to have their tax dollars funneled to the Auden Bears at Beardsley Zoo. Andean/Auden bears are an endangered species.

  • Maria Pereira

    So Malloy has $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars to fund “capital improvements and repayment of debt” for state Charter Schools located in Bridgeport. These schools are privately run and are not Bridgeport Public Schools. Then we have Bassick High School, which serves over 1,000 BPS students that has not been able to get a desperately needed new roof for over five years. The cost of the new roof is coincidentally projected to cost $1.5 million dollars. I guess this explains why there is no money for BPS students. Are you able to provide any information regarding whether Mayor Finch or any member(s) of the Bridgeport delegation submitted these requests to the Bond Commission?

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Maria, I daresay the majority of the requests for funding do come from the city’s legislative delegation and the mayor’s office. The two state senators who represent Bridgeport, for instance, Andres Ayala and Anthony Musto, are charter school proponents. As members of the state legislature they both supported the state takeover of schools overturned by the Connecticut Supreme Court and the charter question–defeated by voters–for a mayoral-appointed school board.

    • BOE SPY

      What about Catholic schools or actual private schools? Should they not get grants? There was a significant number of privately run for-profit organizations that got grants.
      These people apply for these grants. The BOE has grant writers. If the BOE does not get their fair share of grants wouldn’t your ire be better served if you directed it against them? If the grant money is available and the BOE does not get it, whose fault is that?

      • Maria Pereira

        SPY, the Bridgeport Board of Education cannot submit requests to the state Bond Commission. The BBOE deliberates and votes on a Capital Budget/Plan in the first quarter of each year. There are normally 4-5 tiers in the plan with the highest priority being Tier I. This year, the BBOE made it clear their highest priority was a new roof for Bassick High School. The Budget & Appropriations Committee approved the request and it was also approved by the City Council. Mayor Finch failed to bond the city’s portion of 20%, therefore, the earliest projected date for the roof replacement is next summer. The BBOE grant writer drafts applications for competitive state and federal grants that have absolutely nothing to do with capital projects. You have to think of the BBOE as long-term tenants of city-owned school buildings. The City is responsible for all significant repairs and renovations. The BBOE is responsible for minor repairs or maintenance. If you rented a house in Black Rock and there was a major roof repair, the landlord would be responsible, however if there was a problem with a single light fixture in the kitchen, you would be responsible for the repair up to $75.00.

      • Maria Pereira

        SPY, Catholic schools and private schools should absolutely not have access to taxpayer-funded state grants. I strongly believe in the separation of church and state. Why should taxpayers fund private schools? Oh, I am so sorry. Clearly the state does support private schools with taxpayer funds, they are called charter schools. Can you give us specific examples where the state Bond Commission allocated taxpayer funds to a religious or private school? I honestly am unaware of any instances where this has occurred.

  • Maria Pereira

    Really, Andres Ayala is an employee of the Bridgeport Public Schools and reported directly to Mr. Fabrizi in Adult Education. He was promoted to this position by Paul Vallas and does not consistently report to work but he supports charter schools. Well maybe he should apply for a position with FUSE. I think he would fit in quite nicely.

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