Will Scott Feel The Budget Burn?

city council 2015
Scott Burns, second in from right, front row, with City Council members.

Standing outside O&G’s ominous stockpiling plant in the East End, the wind whipping off Yellow Mill Pond, City Councilman Scott Burns joined Mayor Joe Ganim and several of Burns’ Black Rock constituents last week saluting Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe’s order to shut it down while reminding the construction services firm the battle ahead in its desire to relocate to the West End which Burns also represents. Burns, a former school teacher, has learned a few lessons in his first term. Will he seek another?

“Not sure yet,” he says. One thing’s for sure, however, come two weeks after Ganim submits his spending plan to the City Council, Burns, as co-chair of Budget and Appropriations, will spend an intense and laborious month sorting through the proposed budget, interviewing department heads, conducting public hearings and perhaps wondering why he signed up for the committee assignment. It’s no picnic in paradise.

He’ll have company from council mates, co-chair Denese Taylor-Moye, as well as Evette Brantley, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Anthony Paoletto, Aideee Nieves, Jose Casco, who round out the budget committee.

Ken Flatto
Will budget get a thumbs-up from Finance Director Ken Flatto?

Burns’ noisy constituents were largely clobbered by last year’s budget that factored in revaluation of taxable property. Ganim wants to hold the line on taxes for the budget year starting July 1 to calm the financial nerves of jittery homeowners and build confidence with the investment community.

A lot of this depends on what comes back to the city from Hartford as the state legislature deliberates over Governor Dan Malloy’s spending plan. City bean counters are trying to get their arms around what they can reasonably factor in as state dollars into the local budget. It can be a circuitous funding formula leap of faith. City Finance Director Ken Flatto and Budget Director Nestor Nkwo will be in touch with state finance officials to project the state dollars they can plug into the local spending plan.

This is an election year for the City Council. Perhaps Burns will wait until the budget process is complete before making a final decision about seeking another two-year term. Holding the line on taxes would certainly buoy the genial Burns’ chances. Another increase and it could be sayonara, ciao, adios, see ya.

Or perhaps he’s already made the decision. Burns and committee mates will have a lot of long nights on the horizon. Fire up the espresso machine.

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27 comments

  1. I think Scott Burns makes a fine candidate and a respectable Councilman. Most Black Rockers are intelligent and know the deal. No other Councilman could have made a bitter pill easier to swallow. I think it would be foolish for Scott and Katy to not run! I think they are great representatives for Black Rock and hope they will be more visible down PT way!

    1. Scott Burns has improved since his inception on the City Council (possibly with the help of State Rep Steve Stafstrom). Scott Burns has shown increasing knowledge of city affairs and how the State of Connecticut is indelibly involved with Bridgeport. However, he needs to notch it up more levels to a “community leadership” level. There was one instance where Acting Police Chief Perez did not appear before the Budget and Appropriations subcommittee to review overtime. In last year’s budget work, the Mayor’s office basically ignored the Budget Committee (and, literally, the entire City Council). This is unacceptable. Scott Burns needs to step it up and become a leader.

      1. onlyinbridgeport.com/wordpress/city-council-sets-mil-rate-ganim-signs-budget-claims-lower-tax-burden-walker-disease-has-not-been-treated/

        Wasn’t this the same guy who voted for the budget yet voted against the Mil Rate increase? So either this guy is completely clueless about the process (he is the budget co-chair no less) or a completely calculated move so he could say he voted against the tax increase. Either way, is this leadership you want?

  2. Wait a minute. Enough with this talk of no increase.
    The assessments went through the roof last year. These assessment remain in place for four more years!!!
    That means the Black Rockers pay more than the rest of the city for four more years.
    Grin Ripper chimes in that Scott shouldn’t be burned at the stakes. Why not! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Goose him up a little bit and see how he likes it.

          1. That says Good ‘n’ Plenty that Burns had no culpability in in a state-mandated reval. Now go back to your hovel in Branford.

  3. Black Rock assessments are high but look at the houses that are involved. Walsh, why don’t you throw a pity party for the people in Black Rock?

    1. Andy Fardy, you and most other people have a misconception of the state of housing infrastructure in Black Rock. Yes, the houses close to St. Mary’s by the Sea are above average for Bridgeport and the property taxes show that. Even so, many of these houses would be looked down upon going down the Gold Coast. Areas NORTH of Fairfield Avenue show housing infrastructure distress. A very large percentage of multi-family are not up to 2017 standards. Black Rock is not the goose that lays golden eggs. It is very much middle class with a sliver right at St. Mary’s that might take it to upper middle class. There are plenty of Section 8 inhabitants in the multi-families and we also share with Bridgeport, the P.T. Barnum public housing.

        1. Andy,
          I have reported before that the Black Rock NRZ territory, ratified by the City Council, runs west from Bostwick to the Fairfield Town line, and the other borders are I95 and water including the Sound, Ash Creek and Rooster River (?) depending on how far south that runs.
          Any other way of geographic description would be a “gerrymander” as it would likely force Captain’s Cove from Black Rock, a thought that NRZ founders did not relish. Of course, if folks in Bridgeport have other definitions of the territory, they are welcome to explain the facts any way they wish. Reality? Time will tell.

  4. My taxes on a 1,600 sq foot house in BR went up 55 percent. In researching an appeal, that is the highest I’ve found. And I can’t even get a crater-sized pothole in front of our house fixed.

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