Ganim Putting Finishing Touches On Budget Proposal To City Council

Mayor Joe Ganim, according to the City Charter, is scheduled to submit the first budget of JG2 to the City Council no later than next Tuesday April 5. This is a tricky budget for Ganim and city bean counters because it will reflect the revaluation of city property that kicks in for the budget year starting July 1.

Ganim has visited Hartford on several occasions the past few weeks to schmooze state legislators on preserving money for the state’s largest city. What happens in Hartford impacts the city’s spending plan. Finance Director Ken Flatto and Office of Policy and Management Director Nestor Kkwo are finalizing the spending plan they predict will produce a mixed bag for taxpayers based on the implementation of reval. Some taxpayers, finance officials say, will receive tax bills about the same, some will see a cut, some will experience an increase.

After Ganim submits his budget it will be referred to the Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by Denese Taylor-Moye and Scott Burns. Councilors Evette Brantley, AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia, Anthony Paoletto, Aidee Nieves and Jose Casco fill out the committee. Most of the City Council action on the spending plan will be handled by the budget committee. The full council will vote on the final budget and set a mil rate.

How much will City Council President Tom McCarthy weigh in on the budget publicly? He has become vocal on Ganim administration initiatives now that he’s no longer on the city payroll.

The language below, culled from the City Charter, spells out the duties of the City Council regarding the budget.

Not later than the first Tuesday in April of each year, the mayor shall present to the city council a proposed budget for the ensuing fiscal year. The proposed budget shall include the following information: (1) an itemized statement of appropriations proposed by the mayor for current expenses, capital items and permanent improvements for each budgeted agency for the ensuing fiscal year together with comparative statements, in parallel columns of the requests made by the various budgeted agency of the appropriations and expenditures for the current and preceding fiscal years; the increase and decrease between the current and ensuing fiscal years in the appropriations recommend; and the expenditure estimates required by clause (c)(3) of this section; (2) an itemized statement of the taxes required and of the estimated revenues of the city from all other sources for the ensuing fiscal year with comparative statements, in parallel columns, of the taxes and other revenues for current and preceding fiscal years; of the increase and decrease estimated or proposed, and the revenue estimates required by clause (c)(3) of this section; (3) an estimate of the expenditures required by each budgeted agency for the fiscal year following the next ensuing fiscal year and an estimate of the taxes required and of the estimated revenues of the city from all other sources for the fiscal year following the next ensuing fiscal year; (4) a statement of the assumptions on which the estimates required by clause (c)(3) are based; and (5) such other information as the city council shall, by ordinance, require. The estimates and statements required by clauses (c)(3) and (c)(4) of this Section shall be advisory only.

The city council shall have the following powers with respect to any item in the budget recommended by the mayor.

It shall have the power to reduce or delete any item in the budget recommended by the mayor by a majority vote of the council members present and voting;

It shall have the power to increase any item in said budget or add new items to said budget only on a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the entire membership of the council.

Prior to taking final action on the proposed budget and mil rate the city council shall hold at least one public hearing at which members of the public shall be allowed to comment thereon.

Not later than the seventh day after action on the budget is completed, the city council shall, by resolution, set a mil rate for the ensuing fiscal year, which shall, together with other sources of revenue, generate sufficient funds to support the budget adopted by the city council. Such resolution may be disapproved by the mayor in the manner set forth in subSection (e) of this section. For the purposes of this section, action on the budget shall be deemed to be completed when (1) the budget takes effect pursuant to subSection (h) of this section; or (2) the mayor approves the budget or it becomes effective without the mayor’s approval pursuant to subSection (g) of this section; or (3) the city council completes action on any and all items disapproved by the mayor pursuant to subSection (g) of this section.

The budget adopted by the city council as provided in subSection (b) shall be submitted to the mayor not later than the second Tuesday in May of each year. The mayor shall sign the adopted budget if he/she approves it, or within fourteen days after adoption of the budget by the city council as provided herein, the mayor may veto any action taken by the city council pursuant to subSection (d) of this section. The veto power of the mayor shall be that of a line item veto only, and any such veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the city council. If the mayor shall disapprove any action by the city council, he/she shall, no later than the close of business on the last day of said fourteen day period, return the proposed budget to the city council with a statement of objections. Thereupon, the president of the city council shall call a meeting of said council to be held no later than seven days after the receipt of the mayor’s veto. At such meeting the mayor’s statement of his reasons for disapproving any item shall be read to the city council and thereafter another vote shall be taken on such item and if it passes the city council by a two-thirds vote of the whole number of council members, it shall become operative and effectual without the approval of the mayor. If, within fourteen days after the adoption of a budget by the city council, as provided herein, the mayor neither signs the adopted budget nor disapproves any action of the city council, said budget shall become operative and effectual without such approval.

If the city council fails to adopt the budget by the second Tuesday in May of any year, the budget proposed by the mayor shall become the budget of the city for the ensuing fiscal year.

Transfers between line items of the adopted budget may be requested by the mayor, the director of policy and management or the head of any budgeted agency and be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the council members present and voting. Such transfers may be disapproved in the manner set forth in Chapter 5 of this charter.



  1. Mayor Ganim needs to propose significant budget cuts. If he fails to do so it will make it clear he is not serious. Property taxes in Bridgeport have gone up much faster than inflation. CT needs to impose a cap on property taxes. I and others will strongly oppose any attempt to raise taxes on our homes again. Property taxes on our home have already gone up four times more than inflation since 2008. Enough is enough!!!

  2. Half of the people on the City Council I wouldn’t trust with a prepaid debit card and they are supposed to oversee the financial viability of an entire municipality. Most of them couldn’t tell you the difference between a budget and a statement of cash flows.

  3. Of the 20 Council members, Brick, I am not sure how many have signed up for the STIPEND debit cards, are you? That is not the way the old, unmodified STIPEND REIMBURSEMENT ordinance is supposed to work, but that is the ‘reformation’ administratively that happened during the Finch-Sherwood-McCarthy years. The law says one thing. The elected do something else, despite the fact they have been informed of the failure to follow their own law or to update this old ordinance.
    So what you may be saying is by ignoring the statute, all the CC members are favored with taxpayer funds deposited quarterly in advance to their STIPEND DEBIT card and spending those funds with little regard for the taxpayer.
    When the budget schedule is posted, it will be interesting to see how many public meetings are held, when they are scheduled and the nature of the material provided to the CC B&A committee is provided to the public at large in line with OATH values. Time will tell.

  4. I know I am getting repetitive, but John people need to be reminded of the abuses this council heaped upon the taxpaying public. Two of the council people from the Seaside Park area used their debit cards to shop at Stop & Shop, in one case it was used 57 times. They both used the debit card to pay their cable bills.
    A North End council person donated $1,000 to Pal. Councilmen Marella then in turn donated $1,000 to a senior drum corps the two of them belong to. There was another $30,000 donated to other charities. All of the above is illegal and people should have been arrested, but not in this city and not by the authorities.

  5. Andy, I have no problem with repetition, yours or mine. As youth we were offered a fair amount of repetition under the guise of “drills,” so answers would become more automatic on the part of the student. With basic learning whether alphabet, phonics, or basic math applications, we were able to get out on our own and wrestle with more complex questions and even raise some of our own that required more research and learning.
    So keep the stories of illegal governance actions by the City Council members in 2013 in mind. The Council President held meetings with enough Council members to have 15 of them participate in the raid on the City taxpayer. No meeting announced. No agenda or minutes. And no one would have been the wiser about their largesse with taxpayer funds sent to local charities if there had not been a 2013 City of Bridgeport FINAL monthly financial report requested and prepared. City Council distributions from their own Other Services Line Item but the City got no services and Council members took credit for using taxpayer money to build relations in an election year. AND THE CT POST NEVER BOTHERED WITH THE STORY. They ignored an illegal event and evidence of this behavior even after it was shared with the public and them.
    The CT Post is looking for? The US Attorney is seeking???? Behavior??? A call for a sheriff in multiple instances goes unheeded. Time will tell.

  6. Mojo,
    The City Council in recent years at each of its Monday meetings usually selects someone in the audience, often a Council person to lead the community in a brief prayer. Often the words reference a gift of wisdom so the Council persons can guide the community to “a better place” with their decisions.

    I believe you were on the Council at one time. I also see you continue to pray. Can you think of any specific initiative, to be started and practiced over a period of time that might assist the Council members, IN ADDITION TO PRAYER? Time will tell.

  7. John, with this gang of 20 the prayer is a waste of time but an initiative for this group could be a hot dog, fries and a large soda from the greeks if they don’t use their stipend card for a month.

  8. While there might be money in Bridgeport’s budget that is misapplied and that should be transferred from one area to another, there is likely little or no real fat to yield any indicated, overall cut to Bridgeport’s budget. With the school budget so underfunded–and this is only one obvious area of need–there shouldn’t be any budget cuts.

    Now, there are taxpaying entities that aren’t covering their use of city services/infrastructure/tax base/surrounding tax base devaluation, in terms of their tax liability to the city (entities that aren’t tax-abated, just not subject to an equitable assessment code, e.g. power plants, waste storage/transfer operations/construction materials/debris storage/transfer). There are other non-assessable entities that aren’t appropriately accounted for by state PILOT $ compensations (e.g., Sacred Heart University housing).

    These areas should be addressed by appropriate state legislation/action and revision of the city’s tax code. These things should happen even as the city’s 2016-2017 budget is being developed.

  9. Well, there are the old standbys, closing fire companies and laying off police officers. We can gamble on the health, safety and life of the residents of Bridgeport to save money.


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