May 17, 2008

City's 2009 tax hike could dwarf this year's total

By scraping every spare penny to make ends meet, city leaders are prepared Monday to approve a $170 million spending plan that will hike property taxes a bit less than 4 percent.
But the one mill property tax hike – which will hit even harder because revaluation tilted the tax burden slightly toward homeowners – may look paltry when next year’s budget comes up for approval
Though some officials are ready to postpone purchases of police cruisers, put off buying new public works equipment, skimp on contingency money and a host of other money-saving gimmicks this time around, many of the tricks won’t be available a second time.
That means that when city councilors and Board of Finance members get ready to pass a budget next year, they almost certainly can’t ask police officers to drive aging cars into the ground or delay once again buying other costly equipment that needed replacing this year.
Then, too, the $100 million school budget will, if recent history means anything, rise to about $106 million next year – or an extra mill and a half in property taxes. New growth in town won’t cover anywhere near that much.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro said that additional looming expenses are the two new kindergarten to eighth grade schools that will likely cost at least $115 million – or more, given the soaring price of steel and other products.
To pay for them, said city Comptroller Glenn Klocko, “we would likely double our debt service,” effectively raising the tax rate as much as another half a mill.
Klocko said, however, that given the slow pace of purchasing the necessary property, he figures that the debt for the new schools won’t even hit taxpayers until 2010 or later.
When they are finished, the extra operating costs might add another quarter of a mill to the tax rate annually, Klocko said.
“Education is expensive,” said city Councilor Cliff Block.
Nicastro, who is also a state representative from the 79th District, said that the state isn’t likely to be much help in closing the gap in 2009.
"The governor has made it clear that next year will be worse," Nicastro said.
The prospect of a hefty tax hike next time around isn’t making politicians feel any better, since the mayor and the entire council is up for reelection in 2009. None of them is keen to explain to struggling taxpayers why the city is asking for more.
For now, however, the city has pared the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 about as far as most officials are willing to go.
Still, at least two councilors – Republicans Mike Rimcoski and Ken Cockayne – are pushing to hold the line on any mill rate hike this year. But they haven’t got the votes to do it.
A joint session of the finance board and the council will give final approval to the spending plan at 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be held at City Hall.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

And, revenues are going to slow down, just as predicted.

Sounds like Frank is running for mayor again, already.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, clear and objective, remember that the full Education budget does not come from local property taxes: the state chips in more than half.

So a 6 million dollar increase would not equate to a 6 million dollar increase in local property taxes.

Lets keep the record straight.

Anonymous said...

Maybe next year Republicans Mike Rimcoski and Ken Cockayne will have the votes if we property owner vote out all the democrats out and demand to lays off and more cuts, if you cant live within your means, then you start to cut out items, soon you are going
to push too many property owners into foreclosure and then you will have less property
tax owners to tax.

Anonymous said...

This is not rocket science, and should not be a surprise to anyone who has been even halfway engaged in issues over the last few years. Which explains why the current mayor is struggling so much. Its unfortunate and makes the case for a city manager as far as I can see. People worried about re-electin do not make good decisions.

Anonymous said...

We need a new Board of Finance!

Anonymous said...

And Cockayne wants a Zero tax increase this year?

Irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Won't the state pay for about 70% of the new school construction?

Maybe Klocko should produce a spread sheet for all to see, regarding school costs.

Anonymous said...

Let's see what the budget shows for expenses on the downtown black hole
(center mall) alone. There is your tax increase. The city had the chance to purchase that property dirt cheap during the Nicastro administration but at the time the Nicastro mantra was "we are not in the real estate business." Instead of 1.2 million we are at 6 million and counting... BRILLIANT!

Anonymous said...

Let's see how much the budget allows for the downtown black hole (center mall) alone. THERE is your tax increase. The city had the chance to purchase the mall during the Nicastro administration but at the time , Nicastro's mantra was "We are not in the real estate business". Instead of 1.2 million we are at 6 million and counting...BRILLIANT!

Anonymous said...

this council is killing us slowly. you idiots have your heads buried in the sand. we can all see it on t.v when the general public comes up to speak everything goes in one ear and out the other. none of you on the council care at all about what we the taxpayers have to say. this revaluation was a big scam they knew it was going to raise taxes among other things.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't tax stupid

Anonymous said...

I think the schools should be put on hold well at least one of them.

Anonymous said...

To the 1st poster...Frank Nicastro is not running again, so Bill Stortz stop your paranoia and go back on your meds.

Anonymous said...

We don't need a new Board of Finance..we need a COO.

Anonymous said...

They should have seen this coming.

Thet were given fair warning, but did nothing.

Anonymous said...

This article is right on - the changes they made at the 11th hour to this budget WILL have a cost and impact future budgets. This could have been avoided if someone had a spine and faced the unions, made personnel cuts - which would have kept SAVING every year from now on instead of "borrowing" until after the next election. For 2009 - my wish list includes a mayor with enough cajones to stand up to the unions, make decisions based on the taxpayers best interest, is educated enough to not have to rely on the comptroller to make budget decisions and has enough of a spine to make the tough decisions to make Bristol better - I don't care what political party, gender or race that person is.

Tim Gamache said...

Yes, let's lay them all off.It's OK as long as it's not YOUR job or YOUR means of providing for your family.Next you'll be screaming that your not receiving all the services you feel the city should provide,right?Do you seriously think that other communities of comparable population aren't dealing with the same problems?

Anonymous said...

7:19

We had one like that and did not support him!

Anonymous said...

Tim,
Other communities are dealing with the same issues but are dealing with where to cut a little more realistically - where the costs are - personnel. Bridgeport cut positions and did layoffs, positions in Terryville are going unfilled, and there are downsizeing going on everywhere with golden handshakes and not filling positions. Your mayor however, can't stand when people don't like him, so he said (his words) "cut more, but don't cut personnel."

Anonymous said...

TIME FOR BIG LAYOFFS AND START WITH SOME DEPT HEADS AND WORK DOWN THEY WONT BE MISSED.

Anonymous said...

YES LETS START SAYING TO THE MAYOR AND FRANK AND KEVIN YOUR ALL DONE NOW. THE PARTY IS OVER YOU COULD ALL THANK PETOSA FOR YOUR FAILURES.

Anonymous said...

NO NEW SCHOOLS!!!

Anonymous said...

GASB 45.

Support transferring the funds and we will save at least a half mil and some forever.

That is an easy first step.

Anonymous said...

WE NEED LAY OFFS.

Anonymous said...

Bridgeport and Teryville are not cities that I want to be compared to!

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Mike Petosa. He's just doing his job as leader of the Labor Council. He's a good guy.

Blame the voters and the politicians who make the decisions you disagree with.

Anonymous said...

To quote Casey Stengel: " Can't anyone here play this game"?

Anonymous said...

Hey at least McCauley is watching those city truck tires (though no one has tried to steal yet anyway).

Anonymous said...

"TIME FOR BIG LAYOFFS AND START WITH SOME DEPT HEADS AND WORK DOWN THEY WONT BE MISSED."

~ Once again, just because your bonehead comments are in all caps doesn't mean that they're intelligent or true ~ JUST BIG.

Betcha you'd be the first one screaming when the police or fire department didn't respond fast enough to your emergency call because they didn't have enough manpower...Layoffs are not the answer to all of our city's woes. The entire country is facing hard economic times and some of Bristol's political hacks are using our fear to promote their own agenda. Don't let em pee on our collective leg and tell us it's raining!

Anonymous said...

When I started working for my company 30 years ago the company paid 100% for all my benefits and my family included. Now the split is 65/35 and I have to pay the 35%. It's time the city employees started to pony up like the rest of the residents.

Anonymous said...

May 19, 2008 3:35 PM

You're correct sir (or madam).

Flabbergasted Citizen said...

I have to pay the 35%. It's time the city employees started to pony up like the rest of the residents.

May 19, 2008 3:35 PM


City Employees do pay for there Benefits... You should know the facts before you make a blanket statement and remove all doubt that your an uninformed posting hack.

Anonymous said...

May 20, 2008 6:22 PM:

First of all it's "their benefits" not "there benefits".

Next is a question. Do you pay 35% or do you have any idea? I'll bet "not and no".

Anonymous said...

Can anyone recall when any workers were ever laid off?

Anonymous said...

Bristol is the new Brooklyn.

Wait until next year!

Anonymous said...

Last time it happened the mayor got defeated when he ran for reelection.

Anonymous said...

They were given aheads up and failed to listen.

Blame Ward, Klocko, Miecznikowski.

Anonymous said...

I just received my escrow statement, my property tax will go up 25%, about $ 1200 next year, this is insane, I will mail the house key to mortgage company and walk away from this propety.