The Public Hearing On Finch’s Spending Plan–A Chance For Budget Cops And Ed Advocates To Step Up

Tonight is the night all the budget police have been waiting for: the public hearing on Mayor Bill Finch’s spending plan before the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee, 6 p.m. City Council chambers. Council members say privately the mayor’s proposed 2.7 mil tax increase to fund $7 million more for education and millions more in pension payments is too big a tax hit representing more than $400 for the average homeowner, much higher in areas such as Black Rock, Brooklawn, the North End and Upper East Side, which traditionally scream the loudest about taxes.

The public hearing is also a chance for education advocates to come out and show support for Finch’s proposal. Finch says after more than four years as mayor the pieces are in place to put his prestige on the line to support more funding for schools after offering no additional dollars the prior three budgets. The mayor says progress is being made by Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas and the reconstituted school board that will remain in place until the results of the September 4 special election for four open school board seats are certified, per order of the Connecticut Supreme Court that overturned state control of schools.

Council members are examining potential cuts to Finch’s school funding request and also the legal obligation involved in funding city pension contributions. Council members say a $500 tax increase will be enough to put many folks out of their homes in this economic environment.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee will likely vote on the budget next week. The full council is expected to vote on May 7. If they mess too much with Finch’s proposal the mayor has strong veto power. The council would need a two-thirds vote to override.

Education has emerged as a legacy issue for Finch and it’s doubtful he will back down from his school spending request. Where else can council members cut?



  1. *** Nothing more than a “let off some taxpayer steam” meeting to council members who can’t see, hear or speak of any budget evils! *** Bring a snack & drink! ***

    1. I thought most of the City Council members were in the Dominican Republic delivering used fire trucks. Maybe they will bring us some umbrella drinks and a boatload of money.

  2. Ripped from the pages of the CT Post:
    A five year school improvement plan approved by the city’s Interim School Superintendent Paul Vallas does call for more textbooks.

    Wow. Thank you, Paul. B’port never knew we needed textbooks in our schools. Paul Vallas is a godsend. Is this at the beginning or the end of the five years?

  3. As we approach tax hike time tonight again in Bridgeport–this time after state takeover of BOE–let’s be clear on something that has not been reported in the press …

    The BOE was taken over by the state because of a citizen’s audit group that volunteered to identify issues that would reduce costs and increase transparency. The group was called the Citizens Review and Advisory Committee and though its inception was reported in the CT Post, its connection with the state takeover was not.

    When budget savings information began to disseminate, the highly paid Bridgeport Superintendent and some board members became ‘dysfunctional’ in a case of lashing out at what seemed like the bearer of bad news. In this case though, they should have been thankful. Saving money is crucial and it impacts you the taxpayer, as you can see now with tax hikes. You might have thought the state would push for a thorough audit, instead we are told this is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

    Nor has the BRBC-sponsored Gibson Consulting Group Efficiency Study been implemented, from what I am told, with for example over $200k/year savings possible just by adjusting the custodian work hours, and much more.

  4. Does anyone have valid expectations the City Council can put the organizational dysfunction on standby for a few hours to make sense of this? Seems to me Mark Anastasi will be sticking his spoon into the pot, lobbying on behalf of Mr. Finch.

  5. *** The entire city council by now should want to turn over the yearly budget process to a certified experienced legal firm, to rid themselves of the same old budget song & dance! It would be in the best interest of the council, city government and the taxpayers, thus removing the negative political stigma behind the whole process. This city budget hearing tonight is simply going through the legal motions of letting the public’s voice fall on deaf ears! Watch and see just how many Finch admin/staff, city council and BOE admin. and board members show up! *** DRINKS ON THE HOUSE! ***


Leave a Reply