Your Chance To Squawk About The City Budget

Home stretch time for City Council action on Mayor Joe Ganim’s $561 million proposed city budget. See proposed spending plan here. See meeting schedule here that includes tonight’s public hearing on the Board of Education budget, 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

Most of the budget review is done at the committee level by Budget and Appropriations members  Denese Taylor-Moye, Maria Viggiano, Jeanette Herron, Mary McBride-Lee, Tom McCarthy, Christina Smith and Nessah Smith. The mayor’s proposal calls for no tax increase but has some caveats regarding library and education spending.

Wednesday at 5:30 pm,  the full council is expected to vote on the capital plan, in City Council Chambers.

Upcoming meetings by the budget committee with various departments, according to the budget hearing schedule, include:

Wednesday, 6 p.m. Registrar of Voters/Labor Relations/Civil Service/Benefits, Wheeler Rooms, City Hall.

Thursday 6 p.m. Chief Administrative Office, Office of Policy and Management general budget discussion, Wheeler Rooms, City Hall.

May 2, 6 p.m. City Attorney’s Office, Wheeler Rooms, City Hall.

May 3, 6 p.m., public hearing: city budget/general budget discussion–possible budget (committee) vote, City Council Chambers/Wheeler Rooms.

May 5,  9 a.m. general budget discussion (possible budget committee vote), Legislative Services Office: 999 Broad Street.

The full council vote on the budget will take place May 7 or 8. It then goes back to the mayor for possible veto action before returning to the full council and then the setting of the mil rate in June.



  1. People talking about ‘crickets’. When has the Mayor invited citizens, taxpayers and voters to come out, listen to him give an ordered and brief financial presentation naming priorities and how he is meeting them for all of us? How many Council members put the schedule out for the rest of us to know when they would “hear us”??
    Why is the budget review schedule only slightly more than one month in duration while New Haven legislative body, 30 Aldermen, have almost two months to learn, research and answer?
    When folks are learning a new subject, they often have questions which they wish to get answers for. Why does the Mayor and CC process allow no time, regular and dependable for:
    **Attending a Committee meeting and asking one question??
    **Attending a special hearing or other gathering to learn more about how a budget is formed, reviewed, accounted for, etc.?
    **Attending a special set of conferences that explain the how and why of Bridgeport process….as if we were attempting to learn and set in motion “best governance practices” across the board. Isn’t that what the Mayor is all about? Time will tell.

    1. Last night Pete Spain went live on Facebook to allow people who could not attend the ability to watch. Why the city has not embraced such technology is appalling. Failing to do so reinforces the sentiment that city hall wants to keep the populace ignorant.

  2. Nothing would aid Bridgeport’s operating budget more than selling Sikorsky Memorial Airport.
    Lasting ownership of a scarce and historical landmark is worth more than a year’s operating budget.
    The market has changed and the time is ripe. Buyers are few and easy to identify.

    1. Sports betting and marijuana are also excellent sources if tax revenue. Legalizing both would probably lower the cost of Tangueray, Grey Goose and other the other distilled beverages you are so fond of.

      1. I was too incoherent? You were so plastered you couldn’t explain yourself. I tip the bottle, maybe more than Iought to. You were seriously damged tht night. What job offer? You were just bloviating about computers.

    2. Tolls were a GREAT idea in the past. They were NOT a revue item. Tolls in CT were only used to pay off the construction bonds for RT 15 and the Connecticut Trunpike. The tools did not go into the general fund and could not be used for road maintenance. There were no tolls on I-91 or I-84 as they were built with Federal National Defense Highway Funds (Eisenhower Roads). This is why the current proposals only are to have tolls on 96 and RT 15 as no Federal yearly money is at risk.
      I held CT Thruway Authority 2% 30 year bonds of 1957 and they paid off in full 5 years early in 1982 because usage of the roads was higher than expected.
      Some readers of OIB may remember the Flood of 55. A section of the Merritt in Norwalk was wiped out. A temporary bridge was erected in Norwlk with a 10 cent toll to pay for repair of the highway. When the highway was fully reopened a couple of years later and a new bridge in place the 10 toll was removed.

    3. Bridgeport has an enterprise zone as well as a tax free trade zone. I was unable to establish when they were established with my limited search skills. However, I question just what economic development either has brought to our fair city. Can you tell me?

  3. NOBODY comes to Connecticut because of our tolls but ENTERPRISE ZONES could bring biz newcomers.
    OPED should aim a package at BREXIT refugees in London. Bridgeport has an ideal location and many are anxious to move. Why not here?
    While others fight over their share of the pie, others try to make the pie bigger.

    1. Sports betting and legal weed would provide nearly immediate tax revenue. Enterprize zones take time to set up.

      Brits relocating to Bridgeport? You are mad. That would be like moving from Nottingham, England, to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

  4. Enterprise Zones have a known track record of luring Brits and others to our shores.
    The power of money has a strong appeal in all fifty states, too.
    E-Zones are easier to start than tolls which have many time restraints.

  5. Bridgeport is broke and bankrupt. Many people(most people) seem to be in denial about this. But The Local Government/City of Bridgeport is unable to access funds through property taxes to fund the City of Bridgeport Budget.

    1. Not quite bankrupt, Frank. The budget is running on fumes. The city of Bridgeport has been going to hell in a straw basket, for a long time. Joe Ganim saw the re-election as a stepping stone to something else. The City Council has been a rubber stmping agency for decades. The Democratic Town Committee has nothing in common with the ideals of the Democratic Party. Yet the suck up artists still crow about Joe Ganim, about the tough job Mario Testa has keeping 90 DTC members in line, blah-blah-blah.

      Give it a rest. We all know the biggest problem in Bridgeport is a restaurateur on Madison Avenue and his egomaniacal favorite son, the ex con that wants to be the guv’nor.

  6. This is all about the present situation. Back in 1988 it made sense to move budget oversight to the city council via charter revision. It is no longer a viable model. Are they accountable to voters? Yes, but the body as a whole is essentially appointed by the DTC. Are they accountable to tax-payers? As a body, do they have the skills and ability to oversee a municipal budget?

    Charter revision of 1993 established a monthly budget review requirement. Some council members and watchdogs such as John Lee have tried to make use of it but the relevance of it is lost on most council members. Instead, the review process is left to an approach that dates back to when department budgets were done on ledgers and index cards by people who have no work experience or education background.

    So, why squawk. All in favor?

  7. Another Tale of Two Cities: The City of New Haven does not appear to have a Print Shop operated as a department of City government. Bridgeport does have such a unit with 5.5 people with salary and benefits about $460,000 and the other department expenses showing at $310,000.
    The City of New Haven supports its 30 Alderpersons with 9-10 employees who help them do good research, raise great questions, and get to better and more confident answers than does our own City Council. Those support expenses could be covered with similar personnel expense to what we do in Print Shop. And printing could still be done, out sourced to a local private business person who bids on assignments. Which alternative sounds more productive for Bridgeport citizens and taxpayers? Joe Ganim, candidate for Governor, what do you think? And what do you think CT voters will think about your answer, or failure to answer? Time will tell.


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