When Will It Rain Cranes?

See one of these?

OIB resident curmudgeon Andy Fardy writes frustratingly about the cranes that line the shoreline along I-95, but not his home city. Will we see cranes soon for construction of Bass Prop Shops? Fardy commentary:

I was driving on I-95 this week and noticed all the construction cranes that were in use in towns along I-95. I saw cranes at work in Stamford, Norwalk, Milford and New Haven. There were no construction cranes working in Bridgeport.

What does this mean? It means these other towns are adding to their tax base and are bringing jobs to their cities. One has to ask why don’t we see construction going on in the state’s largest city. We have plenty of vacant land that is available for development. We are offering tax incentives to developers and yet no one comes here. Why is that?

Can anyone remember when a new building and business was built in Bridgeport? New schools don’t count.

We are in negotiations with GE over property that formerly housed large manufacturing buildings. I then read in a local business paper that GE is building a large corporate building with 1,400 jobs in Cincinnati Ohio. Why not Bridgeport?

To me it begs the question, does it cost too much to do business in Bridgeport? Do too many people have their hands out? Years ago when I was a park commissioner we put out an RFP to lease the bathhouse at Seaside Park. We received one bid and after vetting the bidder and making sure he had the financing in place we gave him the bid and allowed him to serve alcohol at his catered events. The contract went to the city attorneys office and came back approved but no liquor could be served. The individual was told to see a connected local lawyer which he did and was told on top of his $1,000,000 investment he needed to come up with another $35,000 so he could serve alcohol at his events. This person told the lawyer to take a hike and he told Bridgeport to take a hike.

Do I think the cost of doing business in Bridgeport is too high? The answer is yes. I have been the recipient of two substantial bribe attempts by people wanting to do business in Bridgeport. Both were refused and both were reported to the Feds. Needless to say, they did squat.

It’s taken 27 years for steel point to get to where it’s at. Nowhere. Everyone says they don’t want big box stores there, well drive by Walmart in Stratford and check out the full parking lot. That’s the sign of money being spent you hear.

Bridgeport’s plans are delusions of grandeur, luxury housing, boat marinas and the like. Okay, where the hell are they? I would rather have a Walmart (which I hate) paying taxes and providing jobs than bullshit dreams of luxury housing.

Maybe it’s time for people in Bridgeport to stand up and ask what the hell is going on. I know that’s asking a lot but if the people do not stand up, these crooked politicians will keep doing what they do and that is screw you and me.



  1. Have you been to the International Crane Foundation in Barraboo WI? Fascinating stuff. Flight paths and long migrations by these big birds with very distinctive plumage. Maybe there is a reason we are not on the flight path, Andy. Do you think the cranes have heard rumors of what happens in Bridgeport and avoid stopping? They do not find such problems in neighboring communities so they gather for a time, do their thing and the community is richer for their visits. Of course it could be another mechanism of bird brains for big old cranes to be averse to settling where finch colonies predominate. Time will tell.

  2. Not THOSE kinds of cranes.
    Beware of the Edifice Complex, that’s where people think buildings and cranes equal progress. In 2014, they don’t.
    In a separate matter, it’s those politicians who robo-sign all those paychecks and pension checks, too. They’re not crooked; they’re handy.
    Disclosure: Local Eyes is my pen name on OIB.
    www .twitter.com/door24

  3. Local,
    To the extent cranes represent new taxable structures developed with primarily private funds, they spell progress in Bridgeport. To the extent there are no or few such cranes while private landowners are removing buildings from sites to decrease their taxpaying responsibilities, we see the reason for declines in the Net Taxable Grand List. When (if) the cranes arrive at Steel Point for digging (and photo-politico shots), we need to ask for the net revenue numbers flowing to the City at large rather than the State of CT or a special taxing district.
    And cranes will also be a sign of progress in Bridgeport because of its small land area. We will build up rather than out, while making sure transportation issues are of good quality and supply for public and private decisions.

    Keep your eyes up in Bridgeport. Look for the cranes. If the project is private, they are a sign of confidence the private decisionmakers have figured a way beyond all the issues involved to avoid risks of return of money as well as return on money in the future. Time will tell.

  4. There is no such thing as a “private” crane. Why?
    BECAUSE you can’t stick a crane in the air without a public commitment anymore. They’ve run out of time, JML.
    Building owners destroying their own edifices to reduce their tax bill is a clear sign tax abatements have reached a tipping point and their continued use is counter-productive. Austerity has failed and doom freaks are getting editorial treatment. We are running out of policy options. Decisions might be made for us.

  5. Local,
    Isn’t it ironic I am conversing with a taxpayer in another town about Bridgeport’s current circumstances.
    Where has austerity been tried in the City, Local? I have not heard the word used in the City Council or in the Mayor’s annual addresses.
    For several years Budget Oversight Bridgeport has pointed out employee positions listed in the Mayor’s budget request that go unfilled. Therefore the money appropriated is used elsewhere and the way things are done, no one knows for sure until seven months after a year. Too late to change course, isn’t it?

    And for the past two years those “ghost positions” voted yes by the Council have been closed down by the administration in the fall in the range of $4-5 millions including benefits.

    This year, the Mayor’s proposed budget ignores a heading in each department personnel summary that would show UNFILLED or VACANT positions. They kept NEW as a heading to cover additions in Police and Fire only from a quick look. But here in April there are over 90 unfilled and/or vacant positions with well over $6 Million of compensation and fringe benefit expense. Will the City Council ask the City for a current listing of such as they review each department? That would be common sense rather than austerity, in my book.

    Decisions are made for us in many ways. The process by which we have arrived where we are in the City today will be looked at by historians and reflect no credit on most of the elected, sad to say. However, an effort to question current process and not act until good facts and figures allow for period of reflection and thought is critical. Time will tell.

    1. Austerity, upon reflection, might suggest a hiring freeze be established immediately on all of these positions. It might also call for identification on the City side where positions listed are actually funded by grants. And good information process would likely also list the active employees in each department who are funded by the operating budget when each financial report is prepared. Are there additional practical improvements? Better believe it. Time will tell.

  6. As long as entitlement programs and lingering wars dictate a policy of continued and expanding debt on the Federal side, austerity will be the only option left to avoid a tax increase on the municipal side.
    If we don’t make good decisions ourselves, Mr. Market will make them for us. That’s called forced austerity and I hope we never see it.


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