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Your Chance To Review Proposed City Budget Prior To Public Hearing

April 14th, 2017 · 12 Comments · Analysis and Comment, City Budget, City Council, News and Events

It’s a big document that’s now available for public review. The first public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, 6 p.m. in City Council chambers, Mayor Joe Ganim’s $542 million spending plan for the budget year starting July 1 can be absorbed here. Grab a cup of joe, it’s 365 pages, or cherry pick the departments of interest. The proposed budget can also be found on the home page of the city’s website by clicking Find City Budgets under the header How Do I?

Tuesday’s public hearing will be conducted by the council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee that is reviewing the budget and interviewing department heads. Ganim’s proposal has no tax increase, but is predicated on what happens with the state budget under review by the legislature. So some tweaks will be made, perhaps small, or big, depending on the state budget that is a work in progress.

Most of the budget work will be done in committee, then goes to a full vote of the City Council, and back to the mayor for possible veto action with the setting of the mil rate in June. The current mil rate for residential and commercial is 54.

If you wanna scream about the budget do it now. Yelling after you receive your tax bill won’t matter.

Ganim noted in his cover letter to the City Council “We are projecting a tax DECREASE for all our residents who own a motor vehicle. The automobile taxes will drop by almost 14% per vehicle. This is a 5 mil decrease from 37 down to 32 mills.”

Ganim is referring to a state program that brings motor vehicle rates for high-tax communities in line with the average combined mil rates of Connecticut’s cities and towns. The state reimburses the city the revenue difference for a drop in the motor vehicle mil rate.

The City Council will meet in regular session Monday night. See agenda here.

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Frank Gyure

    I may sound like a broken record. Same old strategy with the 4 year mayoral term and that is why I think we should return to the 2 year mayoral term. Can we even imagine that we would have the oppurtunity to either re-elect of fire Joe Ganim this November 2017 or choose another person. We need to get rid of the 4 year BPT mayoral term. So,November 2017 we are just left with City Council elections and Joe Ganim has basically ignored the city Council. Going back to the 4 year tax strategy. Increase it as much as possible in the first year because the people of Bridgeport are screwed and can’t do much. Do the minimum,no increase on year two and three and reduce it by one mill in year 4..with re-election around the corner. A lot of chit-chatn here on OIB about a Ganim statewide run. Ganim is dead in the water when it comes to any statewide run. Who’s fooling who here???

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Problem is Frank going back to a two-year term requires a city charter change. Voters approved a four-year term in 1998 (to start 1999 election) when Ganim was at height of popularity. Four-year term proposals had been defeated a few times by voters prior to 1998.

      • Frank Gyure

        Lennie,you are right. But’s what’s wrong with going back to the people of The City of Bridgeport ans saying/asking..let’s return to the two-year mayoral term . Put it on the ballot,let’s talk about and the people of Bridgeport will make a decision. we’ve had some experience with 4 year terms. Are The People of Bridgeport happy and satisfied with 4 year terms?

  • Ron Mackey

    With a four year there should be the right to recall.

    • Frank Gyure

      Ron.. i would agree with you about a recall–to some degree. The only problem is that recalls are construed to be difficult and usually favor the office-holder. There is no practical rationale that the Mayor of Bridgeport should have a term of office equivalent
      to that of the President of The United States.

      • Ron Mackey

        Frank, I understand but don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good, a recall is better than what we have now and that’s nothing.

    • Dave Walker

      Ron,

      I agree with you. The problem is that the Democratic Machine in Bridgeport likes it the way it currently is. They exist for their members, friends and family and but the people of Bridgeport as a whole. We need many Charter revisions. Candidly, if we had the right to recall Ganim would be out of office after last year’s tax increase. He is a typical career politician who spins, dodges, and avoids telling the real truth and making tough choices. The new proposed budget is just another example of how out of touch with reality he is. The City has fiscal cancer and the Mayor is trying to treat it with BS and a bandaid. Why would businesses want to locate here with our 54+ mill rate and poor balance sheet? It’s time to get real and make tough choices at both the local and state level.

  • Frank Gyure

    I will really really really try to be there. I will look at the budget but I have a big-time learning curve to overcome. But like I have said. The goal,come hell or high water,is no tax increase. That is the plan for year 2 of the 4 year mayoral term.

    • Maria Pereira

      There is no recall in CT. This was already decided by the CT Supreme Court. There are only two municipalities that allow recall because it was part of a special act many, many years ago.

  • Pete Spain

    Link to mayor’s proposed budget –>

    http://bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/89019/96401/340431/2017_2018_Proposed_Budget_4.7.17.pdf

    1. Why is the budget $10 million less than for the current year’s budget, but no change to mill rate? Did that $10 million got toward settlement with Wheelabrator or what?

    2. In his proposed budget, the Mayor has the city contributing approximately $199 million to public education. But, our education leaders requested approximately $256 million. A $57 million difference. How will that be dealt with? Currently, the city contributes $227.6 million to education in our current budget year. What?!

    See you Tuesday at 6 PM at City Hall.

  • Maria Pereira

    Thank you to Better Bridgeport for sending out a Facebook notification of Tuesday’s Public Hearing on Tuesday at 6:00 pm at 45 Lyon Terrace.

    The Board of Education must have a minimum of $11.4 million over last year just to maintain current staff and programming. This includes bringing back kindergarten paraprofessiinaks.

    We needed $15,000,000 last year and Mayor Ganim and the City Council gave us ZERO. We lost $911,000 in the Alliance Grant and both Fran Rabinowitz and the CT Post broadcast that the Mayor had agreed to offset the Alliance Grant reduction by appropriating $905,000.

    In October,CFO Marlene Seigel contacted Nestor from the City of Bridgeport because the $905,000 was not in our account. Nestor notified Me. Siegel that only $59,000 was appropriated. Ms. Siegel wrote a formal letter to Fran Rabinowitz in October. Fran Rabinowitz NEVER notified the board of this. It has now been 9 weeks since I publicly requested Mr. Larcheveque contact Scott Burns regarding this matter. If it was appropriated it becomes locked into our Minimum Budget Requirement and cannot be withdrawn. I have placed it on the agenda four times to follow up with Mr. Larcheveque publicly. After seven weeks, he still does not have an answer. He doesn’t see this as a HUGE issue, there is no sense of urgency, etc.

    Over Christmas Break, the state Department of Education notified us they had reduced our Alliance Grant by another $250,000.

    In essence, we had to deal with a gap of over $16,000,000 which required us to make devastating cuts. We have had significant cuts in state and federal grants as well. For example, Aquaculture has had its grants reduced by $300,000 in the last three years.

    The Mayor has ZERO appropriated for the BOE once again. And, on top of that his henchmen has notified our CFO they have REDUCED our appropriation by over $2,000,000 ILLEGALLY. These crooks and thieves notified the CFO they are taking $860,000 to pay for crossing guards which is in violation of a vote of the board, and they are taking $1.1 million to pay for a Lieutenant, Captain, Sargent, and five SROs.

    They have lost their minds. This is THEFT.

    We are creating fliers with the photos, email addresses and phone numbers of the appropriate City Council members for each school. Every flier will feature a photo of Mayor Ganim and his contact info.

    We will be standing in front of schools next week handing the fliers to our true public school parents, educating them about what our Mayor and twenty city council people did last year and that ALL twenty city council members are up for re-election this Summer.

    We are looking for volunteers to man every public school in Bridgeport. If you can help, please email me at mpereira0667@yahoo.com.

    Mayor Ganim and the City Council must be exposed and our parents must be educated.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I am against any increase in the education budget until they straighten out their mainstreaming issues. A friend of mine has at least 5 kids that should not be mainstreamed but they are. Kids with certain illnesses or defecits should not be mainstreamed. I know someone will sat I am wrong and all kids should be together but when a teachers has to stop teaching because of a disruptive students all of the kids suffer. All Spanish speaking kids that can not speak English should be sent to a separate school where English is the only subject taught. When these students speak English at a set rate they go back to a regular school.

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