Will Public Hearing On City Budget Be Yeller Or Yawner?

This budget cycle hasn’t been as noisy as last year when Black Rockers in particular voiced strong opposition to Mayor Bill Finch’s proposed spending plan at a public hearing hosted by the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee. If you want to squawk about the budget that calls for about a $120 increase on the average homeowner, a public hearing will take place Tuesday 6 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The budget year starts July 1.

Last week the Connecticut legislature, with the backing of Governor Dan Malloy, rescued the mayor from a budget inferno by delaying state-mandated revaluation of city property for two years.

In a joint news release, the two state senators representing Bridgeport, Andres Ayala and Anthony Musto, touted the move as a buying time initiative in the hope some of the city’s economic development initiatives will produce new commercial revenues in two years. Both state senators could face August primaries.

“This bill will allow for a delay in revaluation while Bridgeport’s substantial commercial developments to continue evolving and open, promoting a more equitable financial structure in our city,” said Senator Ayala. “This will allow the market to continue to turn up and property values to continue their rise, creating a bright economic future for Bridgeport residents.”

“We are allowing municipalities, should they so choose, to develop their own structure that is fair and equitable for city residents and the new commercial developments,” said Senator Musto. “This bill puts the responsibility and power back where it belongs, on the municipalities.”

The bill passed by the legislature applies to a number of cities and towns in the state, but was driven by Bridgeport after city bean counters pondered a tax rate increase of possibly 20 mils from the city’s current 41.85 mils, jacking property, auto and business taxes. Talk about a phew! moment for the mayor.

Connecticut law requires all real estate to be revalued for assessment purposes every five years to bring about uniformity in property values and ensuring everyone pays their fair share, or so it goes. Your tax bill is a function of your property assessment based on 70 percent of value. In the economic downturn property values have collapsed so as a general rule the mil rate approved by the City Council will spike to make up for the reduced assessments in order to fund the budget proposed by the mayor.

The mayor wants to avoid this spike until presumably some of the economic development proposals such as the Steel Point redevelopment area materialize and have an actual effect on taxes. Yes, it’s a leap of faith. The mayor’s buying time with his reelection campaign on the horizon next year.



    1. It’s photo number six, but who’s counting?

      By your (deeply flawed) reasoning, everyone who shows up at every political event is paid by the organizers.

      Megan may or may not be financially backed by ConnCAN, but her mere presence at their event doesn’t “prove” anything.

      1. Megan DeSombre in her own words:
        “I’m just a 20-something with a political background, time on my hands and a keen interest in education and all of the competing reform ideas floating around.”

        Source: educationbridgeport.com/about/

        … so Megan was probably just “floating around” and happened upon this party of ConnCANners.

        In addition to having “time on her hands,” DeSombre has a nice video device and tripod … and shows up to videorecord each BOE meeting. And, oh yeah, according to her, since August 2013, she’s been living in the greater Bridgeport area looking for a job and, all the while, has survived with no visible means of support.

        It all makes perfect sense.

        Again, how stupid do you think we are, Mr. Sackler? Your losing streak in Bridgeport shows no signs of letting up.

      2. Booty, Megan DeSombre moved to Bridgeport CT in June 2013, not even one year ago. She has claimed on her own blog she got up and moved away from her entire family in New Jersey to move to Bridgeport with NO JOB PROSPECTS. She sets up her b1og by mid July and attends and videotapes 95% of every BBOE meeting. She claimed on her blog in less than two months of moving to Bridgeport, she became concerned about education issues in Bridgeport. She has never attended a school in Connecticut or Bridgeport and she has no children. She has also claimed she is not working with or being funded by any education organization, including ConnCAN. However, outside of Dr. Perry’s Charter School Public Hearing, she is seen huddled with Jennifer Alexander, the CEO of ConnCAN. When a member of the opposition spots both her and Ms. Alexander, she scurries away like a little mouse.

        She has lived in Bridgeport less than a year, but receives an invitation to a ConnCAN event with some of the biggest players in the charter school movement in CT? Yeah, I am sure you’re right, she was just an invited guest.

        1. You can’t get away that easily, Megan DeSombre! Here is the photo ConnCAN removed from their website with such urgency. You have both been caught, ConnCAN and Megan DeSombre.

          1. Dave–when you get that picture you can post it side by side with your heroine’s mug shot … LOL LOL

          2. Should I also add your hero’s photo, Mayor Finch? You do remember his incident in Storrs, don’t you?

        2. Booty, since you believe it was no bid deal for Megan DeSombre to attend the ConnCAN Block Party; can you offer us any insight as to why ConnCAN has already removed her photo from their website? BUSTED!

          1. I have no clue about his “Storrs” incident … nor do I care about anything Finch does. But if you want to put his picture up, go ahead. =
            Finch … my hero. LOL.
            Perhaps you can put them all up and list each person’s incident. Educate the public on the actions of their city officials and activists.

  1. Andres Ayala stated the following, “‘This bill will allow for a delay in revaluation while Bridgeport’s substantial commercial developments to continue evolving and open, promoting a more equitable financial structure in our city,’ said Senator Ayala.”
    What substantial economic development is he talking about? Can I get some of what Ayala is smoking? Jesus, postponing the revaluation is just postponing the inevitable. Our taxes will be going up no matter what is done because this mayor and this council will not make the necessary budget cuts. This years budget is still carrying salary and benefits for 90 vacant positions. Besides, we will need to hire smoking cops to enforce the new law.

  2. What a clown, send him out to Steal Point with a tent to live and see how long he would have to stay there before there’s development surrounding him for shelter from Mother Nature.
    How many made-up jobs were handed out to unqualified friends of Finch in that last month alone?

  3. State Law calling for property revaluations every five years are there to more fairly apply taxes to property. Uniformity of values is the phrase that is important. If most property in Bridgeport has decreased in value since 2008 and then some property has begun a slow rebound, then UNIFORMITY is not what is happening. Auto taxes are applied to cars that are revalued each year, so these values do not get far from fair, if at all. But if your neighborhood has had more foreclosures and they are still happening then chances are your property would get a lower value after the 2013 valuation relative to other neighborhoods. BUT BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE WENT ALONG WITH THE FINCH FIX, unfair results will occur. Relatively poorer neighborhoods will subsidize relatively more advantaged areas of the City. The only way to disprove that is to require the City to post the results of the mostly completed revaluation we taxpayers funded. What is the Mayor likely to do? Pay attention? Time will tell.

  4. The biggest surprise in this year’s budget was the transfer of $8.2 Million of City department IN KIND appropriations to the Public Schools. By adding $1.6 Million of COLD HARD CASH (instead of the $5.2 Million necessary), the Mayor made it look like he is a pro-education Mayor. However, he was part of a negotiation in November 2013 that came up with a two-year patch on BOE funding. It was not the $9.8 deal he stuck in the budget.

    Has his office commented on any of this? Did he show up at the BOE meeting to explain his moves? Has anyone on the B&A made any type of statement that the CT Post has picked up and not made public? Perhaps I am going deaf and blind …
    What are the Mayor’s priorities? Economic development as has been practiced in Bridgeport will need far longer than two years to let rising values provide for bloated payrolls and benefits and inefficient process. (How much did the City spend in training funds in 2013 … $1,500!) The meter is running on lack of executive and management abilities. Time will tell.

    1. John Marshall Lee, I believe your last post makes it much easier for all of us to read and understand, there are times to much at one time people just don’t care to follow. Time will tell.

  5. This is basically a lie. What economic development projects will be thwarted by following the law? Steelepointe? Just tired of lies manifested in “party lines.” When a new mayor and new leadership comes in 2015 the new leaders will have to clean up this mess.

  6. I served on the City Council the last time the city put off reval and it was a complete disaster. Some of my constituents were paying as much in taxes as they were in mortgage payments on a monthly basis. And some people in the city were saying these residents were getting a great deal.
    It would be a great deal but once the city started delaying and couldn’t stop so this went on and on and on.
    Andres Ayala should realize it is the minority populations that live in the East End and East Side, the very constituency he is supposed to represent who will be hit the hardest.
    But apparently he doesn’t care or believes the development fairy will come along and sprinkle millions on the city.
    And shame on Bill Finch because he was on the council at the time so when he feigns ignorance in two years, you can just chalk it up to another bald-faced lie.

  7. I would have much more respect for Senator Ayala if he could actually name the 10 new revenue sources and dollar amounts that will occur in the next two years that persuaded him to support the mayor’s request. Then explain how based on these new sources of revenue, there will be enough money to offset the imbalance that would be created by implementing reval.
    But my guess is he did not even bother to ask even if it was just to provide him with some cover.

    1. Let’s make it easier and drop that number to five new revenue sources and five areas for cuts. If he had no problem cutting (taking back) Social Services funding to the tune of $120,000,000, this should be a cakewalk.

    2. Now let’s see if the candidates (challengers) will raise this issue with the voters. Keep an eye on the number of bank foreclosures today and the direction it goes in the future.

  8. It’s going to be a yawner. Two years from now it’s going to be a yeller but it’ll be too late to bitch about it. The damage is done, it is so severe there should be immunity for those who grab those responsible and leave them hanged. I nominate James P. Callahan to do the hanging.

  9. Senator Ayala, you truly suck at “governmentese.”
    Carefully listen to his BS. You got my vote, right after Bass Pro moves in.
    Senator, can you show us a copy of the agreement to build the Bass Pro Shops store?

  10. Senator Musto seems to be a huge fan of “home rule” when it comes to reval, not so much though when it comes to conflicts of interest. The word “hypocrite” comes to mind.


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