Public Hearings Set For Mayor’s Proposed Budget

What will the City Council do with Mayor Bill Finch’s budget plan? The mayor has submitted a $522,966,587 spending document 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 budget year begins July 1. The council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee led by Sue Brannelly and Mike Marella has set up a series of meetings with various departments to review the mayor’s budget.

The council’s budget hearing schedule posted on the city’s website lists two public hearings on the general fund for April 24, 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers and May 6, 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. This is your chance to influence budget committee changes. See full budget committee schedule here.



  1. OIB Readers,
    The 2015 budget presented by the Mayor does not represent the real issues the public and CC have to wrestle with. The total city and educational expenses increase from $517 Million to almost $523 Million. And a chart on page 10 of the budget indicates the City plans to increase Education by $9.8 Million. Isn’t that wonderful? Shouldn’t that cover the “minimum budget requirement” the State requires? And the kids will be well served. And doesn’t that cut City spending from last year’s $298 Million to about $293 Million? In spite of new Public Safety 39 positions at about $100,000 per person? That’s good, right?

    Wrong …

    Let’s look at the Mayor’s proposal for IN KIND contributions to Education that are a part of the offered budget. Whether they are on the table or off the table at the moment relative to BOE or State Financial authorities, it is instructive to see how the Mayor has “prepared the way” for the City Council to initially feel it is an easy year that calls for a 1.5% property tax increase. That is a phony number until the BOE contribution is settled.

    IN KIND EXPENSES–proposed transferred to BOE

    Comptroller		    $223,041
    Finance			     135,429
    In-Plant Printing	     217,955
    Purchasing		      29,402
    Treasury		       6,401
    Cit Attorney		     313,590
    Archives		      35,380
    Civil Service	 	      52,161
    Grants Personnel	   1,839,660
    Labor Relations		     387,603
    City IT			     292,299
    Police			   1,548,769
    City Facilities Maintenance  624,120
    Sanitation/Recycling	     606,099
    Engineering		      40,702
    Building Department	     121,398
    Lighthouse/After School	   1,761,761*
    		Total	  $8,235,770
    Supportive Contributions   1,600,000**
                  Grand Total $9,835,770***

    ***Variance Surplus to BOE (Page 10)

    *Lighthouse program expenses are for the entire program. Lighthouse program seeks to gain grants and does receive State/Federal funding each year. Why are these Revenues not shown with the Lighthouse Budget Details on Page 316? When they are received where is the public able to see them offset taxpayer dollars and show a surplus in the after school budget reports? Has the City been receiving funds and not accounted to the public for their expenditure? Why does the Council not receive a Grants budget report along with the monthly financial report?

    **City Supportive Contributions are indicated on pages 329 and 331 of the budget. Those shown total $695,275 and indicate no shift from current expenses. How was a number of this size created by City Finance Department?

    If the City must deal with the BOE “minimum budget requirement” in a more realistic manner, it will likely cause these items to be returned to the Mayor’s City side of the budget. What does it represent as a tax increase? And how will the City meet the minimum budget requirement before June 30 this year? And for next year? Time will tell.

  2. “a modest hike of just under one mil representing a roughly $120 tax increase on the average city homeowner”

    On top of the $2000 my taxes have went up in 10 years, just like last year’s “it’s only another $250 a year.” When is it going to end? This is why no business comes to Bridgeport, we have no clue what we are doing and I don’t blame them a bit.

  3. The clues are getting more obvious. In successful businesses the priority items for attention are kept in the forefront and attended to in a timely way. The City knows State of CT ECS funds are dependent on “minimum budget requirements” coming from the City. Call it poor planning process, call it let’s see what we can get away with this year, or call it the “Sherwood Scramble” where you fake like you are doing something positive and then blame the other guy when your fake show up as false later on. Tom knows the rules but keeps trying the same tactics even though they know his game in Hartford.

    The Mayor has gotten $$$ relief from Hartford on revaluation process, on deferring pension payments, and with sweeteners for education in the past several years including the current year, yet he shows little appreciation. Such is his desperation from failing to identify priorities like education and fiscal strengthening. From his point of view he deserves everything he can get and it’s the Governors election year this fall and not his.

    So look for the BOE budget scheduled to be reviewed on Thursday April 24 at 6:00 PM for the latest on the matter with the City Council. Of more importance obviously is what the BOE decides to do about it. Time will tell.

  4. JML, the State of Connecticut is selling bonds for Steal Pointe. It’s been almost two years without hearing the outcome of the agreement as to who is paying to bury the cables at the Bass Pro site. Can you find how much UI was paid? Why sell bonds and move forward with the project if there isn’t any agreement? It’s obvious at this point an agreement was made and UI got paid.

  5. Joel,
    This is not on my radar while the City Council is reviewing Capital and Operating Budgets and the BOE is left up in the air, though many meetings are ongoing.
    But if you are interested you can probably put in an FOI at OPED as they are likely deeply involved in the infrastructure improvements, and if they are not, they will likely tell you where to go, won’t they?
    My guess is the City has hired contractors to perform work that was necessary and the contractors rather than UI directly have received such funds. If the project comes in at $11 Million or less then perhaps an agreement favorable to the City has been reached. If more expense was required, the tale will be in the numbers.
    If we had an INTERNAL AUDITOR, according to a dormant Ordinance, we would have an Annual Report and a triennial audit of Purchases, but without an Internal Auditor, absent since the Finch administration, you cannot seek your answer there. Keep asking questions and the answers sometimes appear.
    With as much speculation as happens on OIB it would certainly be interesting how negotiations worked out. Does the Mayor and his team negotiate better with Vendors of Stuff and Services or Vendors of Funds, like the State of CT? Time will tell.


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