There’s Moolah In That Poop

Okay, this is some good shit to increase city revenues. Now that we know that Shelton is just as corrupt (grin) as pols in the Park City (maybe Shelton more so) it’s incumbent upon OIB readers to suggest ways to increase revenues to close this budget deficit.

As OIB has reported, Shelton-based developer Bob Scinto, raised in Bridgeport, has a $200 million plan to relocate the Jewish Home for the Elderly from Fairfield to a 40-acre site he owns on Main Street in Monroe close to the Trumbull line. In order to get the deal done Monroe, which lacks a sewer system, must pipe in to the nearby Trumbull system that’s connected to Bridgeport.

From what we know, the property taxes generated from the relocation, $1.5 million, would split evenly between the three towns–$500K annually each into the general funds of cash-starved Trumbull and Bridgeport plus an additional sewer-user fee to be determined.

Why would such a development generate so much in taxes from a non-profit? The proposal calls for a full residential section and Scinto owns the property. Monroe First Selectman Tom Buzi wants the deal done. He needs the revenue too.

But is it such a great deal for the city as proposed? Will it exacerbate the strain on the city’s sewage treatment system leaving city taxpayers with the cost?

How will Mayor Bill Finch, staring at a $20 million hole this budget year and more for the projected budget year starting July 2009, maximize revenues to help his bottom line?

There’s talk in City Hall that hizzoner may seek an upfront, one-shot payment to help close the budget gap in lieu of the long-term benefit: for instance, a one-time $5 million payment. It’s understandable considering the state of finances, but think about the revenue the city would throw away over the long haul.

Something similar occurred under former Mayor Lenny Paoletta more than 20 years ago when he undervalued Bridgeport as host city for the regional garbage plant in the city’s West End used by more than a dozen towns.

Lots of questions here. Must this deal be approved by both the Water Pollution Control Authority and City Council? If so, how do you split the revenues?

And I think we should start a campaign to persuade Scinto to reinvest in Bridgeport. Are we now any worse than Shelton?

Something tells me Shelton Mayor (Public Official #1) Mark Lauretti’s gonna need a couch, a bathroom and a good lawyer.



  1. Tom Buzi should be commended for his ongoing support of Scinto’s Jewish home project in Monroe (and I am a Republican). It only makes sense!

    Get this–should a big-box store (e.g. Walmart) go in there we are talking about $300k or so from taxes. With Scinto’s development you are talking $500k (one third for Monroe) plus other personal property taxes which is great revenue for Monroe.

    With Bridgeport being so strapped for cash, they should also not turn it down. I get so frustrated with those people in Monroe especially who hate economic development and smart projects that will contribute to the tax base.

    The only downside I ever hear (from R’s and D’s alike in Monroe) is that this project will strain some resources like EMT in Monroe. Scinto has said that he would get a private firm to handle EMS issues–so it’s not even Monroe’s problem to worry about! Sure there are some kinks to be worked out, but Monroe/Trumbull/Bridgeport will do well to approve this project and get some tax relief–especially to Monroe!

  2. cato: you are right on. Bridgeport needs this deal and it will go a long way toward resolving the immediate fiscal crisis. I trust that our elected public servants will do the right thing for their constituents.

  3. This sewer deal is a bad deal for Bridgeport. We do get the $500K or a one-shot deal of $5 million buy-out but what we also get is a sewer system that is already near capacity getting closer to capacity.
    When the sewer system is full it will be Bridgeport’s responsibility to update and expand its sewer system at a cost to only the Bridgeport taxpayers.
    We would have to bond for this expansion and it would be our credit rating and our borrowing limits that will suffer. Trumbull and Monroe would escape any of these expansion costs.
    We have already given Trumbull a sweetheart deal where they pay the same rates as a Bridgeport resident and we assume all the responsibility.
    The Economic Development Dept has an engineering study that is available and it shows the sewage treatment plants are near capacity and in fact it shows if Steel Point were built we would not have enough capacity to handle the sewage from that project.
    Paoletta’s deal with the trash plant cost the city in excess of $100 Million in taxes for a one-time shot in the arm. After 20 years of getting screwed we are now getting $10 million a year in taxes. Do the math!!!
    BTW not all of the sewer capacity being requested by Monroe is for the elderly. They plan to set aside some of the capacity for future economic development.
    To Bob Scinto screw you, you have done nothing in Bridgeport and you have made it a career to bypass Bridgeport. Build your home for the elderly here, we can find the land you need.

  4. Or negotiate a clause that states, should it become necessary to expand the sewage treatment plant, all users of the plant must pay their pro rata share of the improvement. Regionalism at work.

  5. Oh and by the way, that extra property tax revenue from the trash-to-energy plant was made possible by the combined efforts of the 8 Legislators (including Finch and Caruso) and Mayor Fabrizi in 2007. Every Bridgeport Legislator signed that bill, it and the City’s legislative liaison (MCAT) sheparded it through the quagmire. Lesson … working together can be done.

  6. Excuse me, and meaning no disrespect to the Blogmaster, but what’s up with all the feces humor? Is it a guy thing? Do they just like to say poopy, stinky, shitty, doo doo, fart and such? ‘Cause it’s not a major turn-on with girls. The whole stinky sandwich thing made me wanna gag. Maybe that was the point? Hmmm, I guess a minion such as myself should not be questioning the infinite wisdom of the lord of the blog. But can you do me a giant fav and lay off the crap synonyms for a bit ’cause it’s really hard to read this thing at lunch.

  7. Clichebpt; first off I believe that if Scinto could have built in Trumbull he would have. Trumbull’s problem is they have already filled up their borders with apts and commercial buildings. If he did build in Trumbull we could get the rates for what he used. It’s time for Bpt to stop settling for the crumbs.
    A clause sharing the cost of plant expansion is a good idea but I don’t see Trumbull signing it as they are already piped into our sewers.
    The trash plan was the initial work of John Marsillio and the legislation was in fact introduced by Gomes and backed by our entire delegation. It was a great piece of work.

  8. Wondering you’re right it was a great piece of work and many people did the leg work, including those you mentioned. It was largely due to Senator Eileen Daly giving her approval to let the legislation go forward. Without getting that, it would have died in the Finance Committee. So I know who did the heavy lifting. At any rate, it all goes back to that contract. A good example of a product of desperate times.

    I was at a Scinto presentation of the plan a month ago and he did say he had an alternate site in Trumbull except the location wasn’t as good. However, if Bridgeport and Monroe both give him crap (sorry Abby) then he might settle for Trumbull and both Monroe and Bridgeport go away empty handed. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 🙂

  9. This is a no-brainer. These are desperate financial times. The city should not delay. The “home for the elderly” proposal must be approved. The city should hold out for the best possible deal–but it should not be so arrogant so as to lose it altogether. This is a giant bonanza and it could not have come at a more needy period.

  10. clichebpt: While its true that a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush the results are not always good. With the sewer system at or near capacity using what’s left for out-of-town development and a small amount of money does not seem worth it. If in the end we have to spend $100 million for expanding the sewer plants we gained nothing.
    With the ever-expanding suburbs it’s time for them to build their own infrastructure and handle their own problems. Look, Scinto has been no friend to Bridgeport and I feel no need to help him out.
    If Stratford can maintain their own sewer system why can’t the towns of Monroe and Trumbull do the same? It’s time for them to take care of their own.

  11. Monroe is not only the home of NIMBY but more like BANANA–build absolutely nothing anywhere near anything. The same intellectually deficient morons who don’t what to spend nothing on anything at anytime and complain about a lack of services and falling property values are now complaining that Monroe is getting the short end of the deal. This is a financial gain for all parties, and if capacity is a concern, address it in the contract. Trumbull needs to cooperate because they need more flow. Plus if this is a win-win-win situation it becomes the poster child for further joint projects.

  12. clichebpt, I usually vehemently disagree with most everything you write–but in this case you are correct.

    I just hope the liberals don’t start using this as the “poster child” for a regionalism approach like Finch talks about. Whenever he goes off on that type of rant he sounds like a true socialist!

  13. Cato if we don’t pull together as a region, no one survives. We can’t keep running purely on property taxes and surviving. Towns and Cities need alternate forms of revenue to survive, or the whole state goes to hell. We can’t afford to be isolationists, us and them. There are too many towns that want to demonize Bridgeport and too many City Dwellers that think small towns don’t have problems too. This country has suffered under the reign of the past administration’s fear mongering. It isn’t socialism it is smart and practical. How is business going to survive without a consumer? I think everyone forgets it is the middle class that keeps businesses going. But if we continue the way we were heading our nation, our state and our county would become a country of haves and have nots.

    What consumer will buy when their houses are in foreclosure, when they have to choose between paying property taxes or heating their homes and are buried under a mountain of debt?

    It’s funny I never read anything that indicated you vehemently disagreed with me. However, look at this we agree on something. 🙂

  14. Ewww, like sometimes when you get a bird in the hand, you could get weird birdish diseases, feathers flying and it might try to peck your eye out. And two in the bush … now that’s just gross.

  15. Speculation is so much fun. I am proud to be thought of so highly. I could be MCAT or then again I could be her friend, or I could be someone who happens to sound like her. If you do your homework, you’ll find that we have often disagreed and for a Cat she has no real claws. I am only egalitarian some of the time, maybe I am her evil twin. Plus you know the cliche–birds of a feather flock together–

  16. clichebpt- how collectivist of you.

    I am sure you love the thought of regionalism because it acknowledges the primacy of the core city–Bridgeport, to the detriment of surrounding towns like Trumbull and Monroe.

    As a small government kinda guy, I would like to believe that regionalism could lead to smaller government through the consolidation of services–but sufficient evidence suggests that this is not the case.

    I remember when this idea was floated by Hartford when they wanted to make one large school district of 30+ towns. I remember hearing Finch talk about something similar (on a smaller scale) at a BRBC breakfast meeting. I doubt that adding another layer of government will solve Bridgeport’s ills. Moving kids from Bridgeport schools to suburban schools is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Why is it Monroe’s or Trumbull’s responsibility to take care of Bridgeport?

    What Bridgeport needs to do is not add another layer of government or have tax base rich suburban towns subsidize tax base poor communities like Bridgeport. Bridgeport needs better managed resources–streamlined and efficient. For education (which is an important issue when discussing regionalism) Bridgeport should try to lessen the achievment gap by attracting good teachers into the schools (and it’s my hope that programs like Teach for America, etc. will help this).

    We need to make sure that towns make decisions for themselves. This regionalism (distribution of wealth in my eyes) takes this away from all towns that are involved. Bridgeport must take care of its own problems and not force these problems on surrounding communities.

    I love Bridgeport and I want to see it succeed, but not do it at the cost of the surrounding suburbs. I love that CT does not have a county government system, and I hope we do not move toward this, and Finch drops this rhetoric.

    As far as a regionalism approach to other services like garbage removal, water, etc. … let’s move to PRIVATIZE these services to make them cheaper for cities to afford and try to get those property taxes down!

  17. *** Scinto wants no dealings of any sort if @ all possible with Bpt.! He’ll wait it out if need be to get what he wants, where he wants it.*** How about the town of Stratford moving forward after the (Nov.4th) voting referendum on the beach site? Something which I backed during the Spring Season of “2008,” spoke about to the Bpt. city council, @ a public speaking opportunity before one of their council meetings. There were #2 things I spoke in favor of that nite, first one was to approve the deal with the Kuchma Corp. to continue the property developement 1/2 done in downtown. The second thing was to ask the council to think about voting in favor of a voter referendum for (Nov. 4th) “2008” on the sale of Pleasure Beach to the Feds. My words exactly, council members do not take this decision on the chin, let the voters decide “yes or No” on the sale of Pleasure Beach to the Feds on election day! Well, the rest is history now, even though it could have been “some” type of revenue for the city to look forward to, maybe before the new fiscal budget year? Bpt. continues to lag & follow, while other towns & cities move forward towards the future! ***

  18. Mojo- even if the Bpt beach sale was finalized, I think it would be YEARS before revenue was actualized due to the funding mechanism of the entire deal. It’s not like the feds have all of those millions of bucks just lying around …

  19. Oy vey, cato you sure presume a lot. I don’t enjoy words being stuffed in my mouth.

    1) I said nothing about forcing any situation, I talked about mutual collaboration and benefit.

    2) I said nothing about redistributing pre-existing wealth, I talk about maximizing the benefit to the whole region of wealth to be realized. Wealth that otherwise would not be possible but for some cooperation, i.e. the Jewish Home which you praised in post #1.

    3) Suburbs and Cities serve two different functions and can complement each other, as they can drain each other. Private sector solutions that help fix the problems should by all means be considered.

    4) Suburbs benefit from all that the City provides, hospitals, colleges, non-profits, ball parks, beaches, recycling, energy plants, sewage plants and in return it is rewarded by having much of that property tax exempt, while still having to pay for services such as police, fire, ems, garbage removal and bearing the brunt of out-of-town traffic on its infrastructure, all for the pleasure of providing these services.

    5) Do you mean to tell me if Trumbull built a huge shopping mall on Monroe’s borders and it impacted Monroe’s traffic, took away from Monroe’s businesses and Monroe received no benefits only the burdens you wouldn’t be screaming “unfair!!!”?

    6) Why be economic rivals when we can cooperate and develop a regional development plan where all that are impacted are compensated and each town and/or city can focus on attracting the development that is in keeping with the character of their rural, suburban or urban area? Instead we are all clamoring for the pizza place, the nail salon, the corporate headquarters or any economic development that comes down the pike.

    7) Schools and diversity issues are best solved by supporting our Magnet schools. NO parent wants their children forced to a school. All students would be much better served by having the best educational system possible close to their home. But should this mean excluding ideas such as like bulk buying of textbooks, a cooperative regular conference of school board members and superintendents can share ideas about cost cutting, curriculums they find helpful and perhaps they learn from each other so that Bridgeport and Monroe and Norwalk all get a little closer to the education provided in Westport?

    8) Why do you want to foster mistrust and fear? What have you really got to lose in saying OK perhaps a thriving city is to my benefit, i.e. property values, social services, culture, sports, shopping.

    9) I remember as a little girl, my mother dressing me up with white gloves and patent leather shoes and driving to Bridgeport to spend the day shopping and it was a very big deal. I remember that I had health issues and it was necessary for us to drive to Bridgeport to see a specialist every two weeks. I remember that the first time I ate at McDonalds it was in Bridgeport. I remember that it was the highlight of the year to go on the class trip to Barnum Museum and the Beardsley Zoo. If you are over 50 chances are you have memories of these things too.

    10) Why not be part of the solution and the common good? Especially if it actually helps your wallet, because isn’t that what you care about? It is a sad commentary on the state of the richest nation in the world when you have to show people how it will make them richer or better off in order for them to extend a helping hand, and not inspire them out of the sense that it is the right thing to do.

  20. Oh lordy … you really get me going!

    1- It can’t be mutual collaboration and benefit. There will be winners and losers. The suburbs would lose, and Bridgeport would win. If we have a “regional” school district–teachers in Bpt would demand more pay b/c the school system would be widely dispersed into surrounding communities, costing taxpayers more. This is only one example where just the cost would be more–to say nothing of local control, bigger government, and more bureaucracy.

    2- Regionalism IS re-distributing wealth! I am much younger than 50, but I know enough to know that you must take some resources to give to other towns, that’s the definition of regionalism. The jewish home is mutual benefit (defined, equal, and ONE transaction annually) which is much different from any formal regionalist arrangement.

    3- I agree that private sector solutions should be considered. I would argue (again, I must say I like Bridgeport, work in Bridgeport, and I want to see it succeed) that Bridgeport is a bigger drain on the suburbs than vice versa.

    4- Those things might be tax exempt, but you are not taking into account the residual effects that those places have. When I catch a game at harbor yard I go eat at Ralph n Richs, bringing money into downtown. How can you quantify those types of things, and don’t they ultimately outweigh the costs of fire/emt/police, etc for Bridgeport?

    5- Trust me, I’m a pretty big free enterprise, capitalist, libertarian type of guy. I would not be crowing if a mall came to Trumbull and “hurt” Monroe businesses. Hopefully it would bring jobs, create competition, and translate into lower-priced goods for people to consume.

    6- You must hate competition. You say, ‘hey, why compete for businesses when we can all share.’ The reason you compete for business and people is because it creates incentives for lower taxes, smaller government, and a better quality of life! If businesses can’t survive in Bridgeport because taxes are crushing, then Bridgeport should (gulp!) stop corruption, wasteful spending, and overtaxing its citizenry so it can try to attract these businesses. If Shelton has lower taxes and it gets more business, then Bridgeport should adapt and compete–and therefore everyone will survive and thrive. We have different views of the world–I believe that towns that compete for residents, businesses, etc is a GOOD thing and will help bring wealth and prosperity. You hate competition because it means having to actually compete!

    7- I have said enough about how regionalism harms the educational system in my view.

    8- My memory of Bridgeport is when a family member lost his business because of the crushing burden of local taxes and the state ban on smoking. Maybe this accounts for my libertarian leanings, but it’s something I won’t forget soon.

    9- Don’t take things personally because I disagree with you. What you are too blind to see is that I have the same ultimate goal as you do–to see Bridgeport become a shining beacon of a city to the benefit of everyone in the region. We differ on how this is done. Obviously I believe regionalism will further inhibit both Bridgeport and its neighbors. You believe it will help. We disagree on this point. I think Bridgeport needs to rid itself of corruption, slash the cost of operation, privatize many city functions, sell off assets that we know it doesn’t need, and make government SMALLER so Bridgeport can tax LESS.

    10- I’ve missed blogging for the past year, and I am glad to be back here–but keep it to the issues and don’t make it personal.

  21. Cato & Clichbpt: Great posts and great give and take thanks. I would just like to add that I don’t think regionalization would work. What Bridgeport needs is to be properly compensated for the services it provides the suburbs and the state.
    It must be noted that 53% of our grand list is tax free and covered by the State Pilot Program. However the money that we are paid under the Pilot program does not really cover the true value of the tax-free property. Thus the other 47% pay the difference.
    While Trumbull resident do pay for using the sewer treatment plant they pay the same rates that Bridgeport residents pay with none of the responsibility. With the plants being close to capacity who is going to pay to expand the sewer plants? Bridgeport residents while Trumbull gets a pass on these construction costs thus they are not paying their fair share. For 20 years the region got a break on the disposal of their trash and Bridgeport took it on the chin vis a vis taxes.
    All we want for the surrounding towns that use our services is to pay your fair share.

  22. If Clichebpt is MCAT or MCAT is Clichebpt or neither is either–all I have to say is look what has been lost with the defeat of Michele Mount. She is truly a beacon and Bpt lost a good friend. I hope she will stay as involved as she has obviously been and seek election to a state office in the future or give Hovey another run in 2010. We need elected representatives like her.

  23. 1Junkyardog, thank you for your kind words now and in the past. I won’t disappear. Although some would like me too. I am true believer that if a door closes a window opens. And sometimes the window is much bigger than the door.

    RedWhiteandBlue, I consider the comparison a compliment since it comes from you. You are the epitome of bad judgment.

  24. 23- Understood on Bpt. not getting the entire amount for Pleasure Beach right away, however a good-faith downpayment on the deal could be possible! Plus, it’s a step forward for the possible future changes @ Pleasure Beach for Bpt. and all those concerned. During the Fabrizi admin. Bpt. was a city with a possible bright future. Today, it’s a city that seems to be standing still in the dark shadows of despair! ***

  25. MCAT or clichebpt or whoever you are, the epitome of bad judgement? How would you know … ? Lighten up. I have read your posts as clichebpt over the past months. You have made some inaccurate and nasty accusations or assumptions. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. MCAT may be book smart but I wonder what has happened to her sense recently. She seems bitter and angry. I hope she gets back to the way she was.


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