More than 100 turned out Tuesday night at the City Council’s public hearing on the Board of Education budget mostly urging additional money for the underfunded school system. City Councilman Kyle Langan provides video coverage. See above.
Co-chair of the budget committee Maria Viggiano shared this budget update on her Facebook page:
‼️Budget Updates‼️ We are midway through budget season. Here are some things you should know:
The budget presented to the city council by the Mayor and his administration has an $8.3 Million budget assumption in state aid. That money is assumed to come in but is in no way guaranteed. Some of it is 50/50 in terms of our odds of receiving the funds.
The proposed 0.8 mill rate tax cut will cost $4.5 Million and will save the average homeowner a few dollars per month depending on home value.
Overall, budget growth is due in part to pension obligations and underperformance (due to last year’s down market) as well as contractually obligated salary increases for unionized staff (over 90% of city employees are in unions). One of our pension plans (Plan A) remains dangerously underfunded (it is currently only about 25% funded).
Bridgeport public schools are facing a $11 Million deficit to maintain current staffing and services.
The Office of Economic Development is asking for money to fund projects that will make Bridgeport appealing to businesses and developers, which can potentially grow the Grand List and bring new revenue to the city.
The fire department wants more money for Narcan (very expensive) and to train an new class of firefighters (many current firefighters are at retirement age).
The police department says it is understaffed and wants a realistic budget for overtime.
These are just a few of the requests the city council’s budget and appropriations committee has heard this month.
This Saturday (4/27) through May 4 is when the rubber hits the road in terms of committee negotiations and decision-making over the budget. We have added another budget discussion meeting on Monday, 4/29 because there is still much to discuss and decide.
FYI: All city council budget meetings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. See my page for the most recent schedule.