UPDATE: includes proposed budget here. Mayor Bill Finch has submitted a $522,966,587 spending plan to the City Council that calls for a modest hike of just under one mil representing a roughly $120 tax increase on the average city homeowner if approved by the city’s budget-making body. The council will officially receive the budget at its regularly scheduled session Monday night. The budget year begins July 1. The current year’s budget is $517,105,830.
The mayor’s budget was filed with the City Clerk on Wednesday. The council has historically trimmed back the mayor’s proposal so the tax increase could be less depending on action taken by the council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee chaired by Finch supporters Sue Brannelly and Mike Marella.
Sometimes the penultimate election year budget is more critical to an incumbent’s reelection fortunes. If taxes are raised too high a year before, an incumbent risks an electorate breaking point even if holding the line in an election year. So the mayor is hoping a small increase will bolster his reelection chances next year. This, however, would be the third consecutive tax increase of Finch’s second four-year term.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee will spend the next two months reviewing the mayor’s proposal before voting on the budget and sending it to the full council. The spending plan then goes back to the mayor for possible veto action before the council sets the mil rate in June.
According to the budget plan, spending increases are driven largely by additional police and fire personnel including 21 police officers and 16 firefighters who had been covered under federal grants. The city is also making an additional $1.6 million contribution to the Board of Education. The state finances most of the education budget. “City budget complies with mandated state MBR (minimum budget requirement) statute,” according to the budget document.
The budget also reflects a $10.10 minimum wage for all employees on the city side of the budget covering approximately 125 employees.
School spending (43.7 percent) and public safety (29.2 percent) comprise the largest spending items in the budget. The 1.87 percentage budget increase is less than most area municipalities, according to the budget summary.
Is Rep. Brannelly breathing heavy in anticipation?
We in Black Rock Love the Tax Lady.
The Black Rock syndrome, higher taxes or captor bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger of higher taxes, or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.
Thank You, Sue Brannelly and Mayor Finch.
The writer of this article (Lennie) states the following. “The council has historically trimmed back the mayor’s proposal so the tax increase could be less depending on action taken by the council’s Budget and Appropriations.” I have followed the budget process for several years and have not seen the council trim anything from the budget.
Last year the B & A did not bother to review the mayor’s office budget and no one knows to this day how much was in his office budget.
We have had a tax increase every year this jerk has been in office, modest or not. BTW where is my $600 tax rebate? Just so you know, the mayor still has not received the union givebacks he claims to need to balance last year’s budget.
Andy, Finch’s proposed tax increase last year was higher than the actual budget document approved by the council in a council election year. It could be the budget submitted was designed for the council to cut some things to look better in an election year. Also, the council last year added in additional employee givebacks the administration is trying to secure.
I would agree the mayor pads the budget so the council looks “good” by letting them cut some things. It would make them look good if they actually reduced the mil rate modestly.
If you add this new tax increase he proposes, my taxes on my house have gone up $479.00 since 2010. I challenge Lennie or anyone in the administration to tell me what area of any budget was actually cut in the last three years. I will tell you in advance. NONE, ZERO, ZILCH, BUPKIS and anyone who tells you differently is full of shit.
What makes me feel like my political light in Bridgeport shines brighter than ACF’s?
Answer: page two of today’s CT Post!
Thank you Rick Torres for your lone voice in the wilderness.
A modest tax increase is an offense in light of the current economic conditions.
What city hall needs to do is get rid of the waste and have an across-the-board 10% salary reduction for anyone earning more than $75,000 per year. But that won’t happen because they are sucking the city dry and really don’t care about the city’s populace one bit. They only care about “earning money.” Yours.
OH, YES … IT’S ELECTION YEAR FOR THE DEMOCRATS.
DON’T FORGET WHO IS DOING THIS TO YOU, PEOPLE OF BRIDGEPORT … IT’S BILL FINCH, JOHN STAFSTROM, CHARLES CARROLL, TOMMY MCCARTHY, MARIO TESTA AND THE REST OF THE FLIES AND LEECHES WHO ARE SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF THIS ONCE-GREAT CITY.
Still Great City. Bridgeport is a magnet for winners. If you don’t think you belong here, I will buy you a one-way ticket to the city of your choice.
Buy a ticket for these dolts to Trumbull, they can be your neighbor. BTW you can’t really change retirement benefits. Look at the city budget and you will find the waste and it’s not pension money.
Please name some of the winners. All I see is a downtown that looks like Dresden after WWII. All I see is the likes of Timpanelli milking the coffers. All I see is inept leadership that has no clue how to generate positive revenues without raising taxes. Please … enlighten all of us.
When several people suggested a tax hike could be avoided by restructuring rising retirement costs for former city employees, the Mayor intervened to prevent it.
Regarding the above post, why bother challenging readers if you’ve already determined their guilt?
Just a modest $120 … does it ever end? $120, $300, $500, the only thing people remember is tax increase. The adjective used to describe it doesn’t change the message. Modest, minor, small, itsy-bitsy tax increase is still an increase. Not good for promoting the city.
On a sidebar it was very nice seeing city employees cleaning the streets this morning on Main Street in the North End, however I am concerned about the garbage and dumping going on up the street on Glendale Avenue across from the Glendale/Delmar Condos and behind Coachlight Square. It is disgusting. This morning driving by it made me sick. All I was thinking was “are people really so used to garbage all over the place they do not see it? I will be sending an email to my council people Michelle Lyons and AmyMarie Paniccia. I am certain this garbage will be taken care of.
On another sidebar, “why does our council not put a ban on plastic garbage for the entire city,” we are supposed to be the green city, no? Westport has gone back to paper bags years ago. Plastic bags just add to the garbage as non-biodegradable crap decorating the trees of the Park City.
The only thing people who don’t pay property taxes, live in subsidized housing and vote by AB remember are the trips to the casino and the free ferry rides.
When it comes to balancing the protection of taxpayer dollars while securing an effective and efficient level of services, the City Council structure and process is:
IMPORTANT? or IMPOTENT?
I do not care how you pronounce either word, but what do you think? And what evidence would you summon to prove your point?
Budget Oversight Bridgeport has pursued the “reality” of City fiscal process for more than three years. Perhaps because we have identified Charter violations we get a monthly financial report that had a final June report with audited results for the 2013 fiscal year. Does not seem like much to say for all the writing. However, based on that report and by unearthing some other Charter and Ordinance violations, with the assistance of media, you can make your own decision as to IMPORTANT or IMPOTENT very shortly.
Mayor Finch has previewed the 2015 budget so he has seen it. I have not. Comments reserved until it becomes available next week. However, he provided some comments regarding funding BOE next year at an appropriate level, but ignored addressing whether the current year’s minimum budget requirement will be met this year. And whether he is signing the letter about next year requested by the State. I mean if your Federal grant is running out for public safety personnel and you are committed to pay for them with City funds, why is MBR for education more affordable next year than this year, when State windfalls of more than $2.5 Million are receivable this year and we are getting Federal funds for public safety?
Why is there no mention of internal study to determine effectiveness of all departments and efficiency of operations? Perhaps because that would include employee performance evaluations this administration has avoided or ignored. Should we count on a Budget & Appropriations chair who took nearly two years to push for “monthly financial report” reviews as a standing agenda item, but then has left no evidence in committee minutes this has actually happened? Why didn’t that committee commit any time to reviewing the June 2013 final report that had Finance Department errors obvious, not for the first time; do they review their work product? Where did the Comptroller find $500,000 of uncontemplated cash revenue AFTER THE DRAFT REPORT BUT AVAILABLE FOR THE PREVIOUSLY NOT ISSUED FOR TWENTY YEARS FINAL REPORT? Is City Council review IMPORTANT or IMPOTENT? Time will tell.
JML, I’ve loaded a link to the budget at the top of the story.
Here is one of the tricks Tom Sherwood and Mayor Finch pulled on the council.
Last year and the two previous years the police department received Federal Monies to put 24 patrolmen on the streets. The Feds paid for everything, training, uniforms and salaries for three years. Last year and I believe the year before Finch and Sherwood put these 24 positions in the salary account for the PD. This salary account is actually a budget request. That means Finch & Sherwood had a slush fund that consisted of 24 police salaries paid for by the Feds. They did the same thing in the Fire Department.
The Feds need to come here and do an audit just based on the police and fire budget.
There needs to be a management study done especially of the Police Department. How do they generate so much overtime even after adding 43 officers? Something is wrong. Where is the OT going? We only have 105 patrol cops and 105 supervisors leaving 210 plus or minus cops doing what? It may be time to tighten the PD budget and force them to account for each position, same goes for the FD and the firefighters put on with Federal funds.
You know I am generally serious about fiscal matters, but your questions are right on. Perhaps the men and women trained to carry weapons and use them to protect the public are working in positions where riding horses and segways or a chair with rollers is inconsistent with their public safety training. Are paper cuts putting officers out on disability? So a management review would seem wise.
Despite the attention and “work” claimed by the administration on controlling overtime, when June 2014 closes, the Finance Office is predicting a fourth year of “overtime excess above budget” from the police. And the revenue side of “outside overtime” is still lagging. Why does that continue?
Time will tell.
The police department needs to do a management study as to how their resources are being utilized. There are questions that need to be answered. How many officers are on extended sick or injury leave? How many have a realistic shot at coming back to full duty? If they don’t they should be pensioned off. If the injuries are line-of-duty their pensions are tax-free and they should get at least 2/3 pay. I know it sounds harsh but it’s got to be done.
Management needs to look at how many cops are working inside and the question is why are they inside.
It’s time for those freaking horses to go. My taxes go up every year and we still pay cops to be horse riders, give me a break.
The management of the PD ,which basically is the good-old-boy system has to change or be replaced. Right now they are not managing the PD as it should be.
Still waiting for my $600.
Lennie, the other day you did something you should do more often and continue doing. Maybe you wanted to put Maria Pereira on the spot when you did that “Rewind.” I see flubadud didn’t forget about his $600. Forget about that $600 refund and do a $24,000-plus rewind. This is how much more taxpayers are shelling out since Bill Finch took over as mayor.