April 7, 2009

Anybody got a spare $1.6 million?

The city's managed to carve its draft spending plan down sharply, according to several councilors, but freezing property taxes remains a bit distant.
The proposed budget, which is far from done, is short about $1.6 million in spending cuts or revenue increases in order to deliver a freeze.
If nothing changes, the mill rate would rise by .39 mills, city Councilor Cliff Block said.
I'll have more details later in the week.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ken Crowley will have a cool $2mil EXTRA pretty soon. Ask him

Anonymous said...

While no one wants a tax increase ever -- and especially in these times -- I think most municipalities would kill to have only a .39 mill increase. After all, all those years of no increases during the Nicastro regime is unarguably part of the mess the City is in now. You can only defer for so long. It's pay now or pay later. And if it's later it will always be even more.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayers are losing their jobs or in the very least, have lost substantial money from their 401k's, yet we are supposed to cave into raises for all city workers, and increase our taxes to do so? No, this has nothing to do with Nicastro. This has everything to do with Mayor Ward making sure his supporters are fully supported by the taxpayers. Raising taxes is not the solution.

Anonymous said...

Screw that! By your logic we should have had a pay increase every year. Nicastro did the right thing holding taxes down. Maybe we should cut services a little. People are too dependent on big government to take care of them. Your argument makes sense a little concerning infrastructure, b/c if we don't maintain we pay for it in the end. However, maybe we should take a hard line on some of the other issues and services. I would vote for Nicastro in a second.

Also, we could make up the difference with the GASB 45 transfer - that hothead Cockayne is right on this issue, but the rest of the counsil, including Frank are either too stupid or too chicken to support it.

Anonymous said...

It's pay now or pay later
April 7, 2009 6:55 PM
```````````````````````````


Unions ALWAYS get their money . It does NOT matter if it is earned , they WILL get paid .

Don't you just love America ??

Concerned Conservative said...

We pay too much in taxes already!

STOP SPENDING NOW.

2 Lazy 2 Do Da Math said...

What does an increase of this amount mean for someone living in a home valued at...say 200K?

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Art Ward.

Anonymous said...

Kiss good-bye quality of life. Word on the street that the code enforcement program is on the way out "so we can keep taxes down." Another example of how short-sighted our elected officials are. Who cares that we are going to have a city no one can be proud of, with blight everywhere, but golly gee we will pander to the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

It would be an excellent year to CUT the mill rate. What a refreshing change that would be.

Anonymous said...

GASB 45...nobody gets hurt ...everybody wins...even the unions. It could save the taxpayers$1.8 Million just this year alone.

Anonymous said...

8:39

Eliminating blight has already gone out the window.

Couture did a great job in starting to clean up the city, Stortz kept it going, and now Ward is going backWARD.

Richard P. Scarola said...

Friends:
Again for those of you that don't know me, I am Richard P. Scarola, candidate for city council, 2nd district. you can get to know my philosophy better by goingtto http://citycouncildistrict2.blogspot.com/ I believe a have a whole list if issues that tie into the present day problems with the city. I also invite you to Facebook me (Richard P. Scarola) so if you do like my message I would appreciae even word of mouth help, I am in the process of jotting down ideas that I believe will truly help this city become fincanciall disciplined and ready for the challenges ahead. Hoever, judging by thier track record, with only 2 republicans on the City council it wont be easy. WE have a fresh you slate full of ideas and while all might not work some will. Some of my ideas are listed in my blog. Take time to feed back to me your concerns and to take the survery in the upper left hand corner that I sarted on wether you think MAyor ward and the city council is doing a good job. Thank you, I will be out to meet yo ushortly. Richard

Anonymous said...

2 Lazy 2 Do the math....A household valued at $200,000 would see an increase of $90. That's not the bullet to swallow, the bullet comes in the form of the recent reassessment that already pushed your taxes higher, despite the fact that house values actually decreased. We need some Republicans on the council to show the Democrats what fiscal restraint is.

Anonymous said...

10:35 we don't need republicans like Cockayne on city council.
It doesn't matter if they are democrat or republican we just need people on city council with common sense. How can the city of Bristol even consider buying more land for the 2 new schools when we are $1.6 million in the hole?...common sense do not spend what you do not have! Bristol needs to scrap the school plan because we cannot afford it.

Anonymous said...

It should be against the law for any city to raise taxes right now - knowing damn will that homes are not worth what they were 2 years agao or even 5 years ago.

Anonymous said...

START THE LAYOFFS. GETRID OF OVER PAID SCHOOL OFFICIALS.DONT BUILD SCHOOLS.

Anonymous said...

Why is the mayor afraid to make cuts does he need to protect the union so he could get votes. Time for frank to come back. Or even ELLEN cant beleive this could keep up . BRISTOL HAS A LARGE UNION PROBLEM.

Anonymous said...

"Couture did a great job in starting to clean up the city, Stortz kept it going, and now Ward is going backWARD."

Neither Couture or Stortz had to deal with a recession. Nicastro left us in debt. Ward's been keeping us on track and moving forWARD.

Anonymous said...

7:19 ~ Again with the evil boogie union spiel? I know you guys haven't got a clue how to run a city, but targeting the union and blaming it for all of our woes is getting REALLY old...

Anonymous said...

Laying people off will only add to the problem,it will not fix it.

Anonymous said...

Bristol needs to take a good look at the NON-UNION BOE employees.
People like to complain about the city unions but there are other city workers who make far too much.
There is a problem when over half of the city's top 50 highest paid workers are in one branch of the city.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the republicons and maybe are country will see better times

Anonymous said...

Code enforcement is not going out the window. Most of the major issues at this time have been addressed. Expenses associated with code enforement eventually (albeit over time) come back to the city in assessments, fines, liens, etc.
I too would like to see some union concessions. We see healthy raises, plump benefit packages, no threats of layoffs - and as we have seen it is near impossible to get rid of the dead wood that doesn't perform and then brings down those that are dedicated, excellent workers!
I would settle for flexibility - the ability to move employees to areas needed - or shifts needed. No more paying four hours overtime if you need someone to come in one hour earlier (e.g.)! It is the petty stuff like that -- that really, really irks me!!!! Give the mayor and council the ability to fire the non-producers who hide behind a contract!

Anonymous said...

Ward needs votes so he will not layoff city workers. He won't screw the Unions either, afterall they paid him big $$ to get elected.

Odin said...

Mr. Scarola:
Don't humor us by "asking what we think". What do YOU think? What would YOU do to balance the budget? Your choices are: raise taxes, cut services, or lay off employees. Which is it going to be?

Anonymous said...

8:57

Stortz had to deal with bad economic times back in 91-93.

He reduced staff, didn't get reelected.

Stort wrote letter of warning in 2007 regarding impending bad economic times. Ignored by Ward.

Anonymous said...

9:08 you are wrong. Unions are a lot of the problem. How the hell do you justify paying a school janitor $23 an hour to start PLUS a lush benefits and retirement package? It's a waste of money and costing us WAY too much. Plain and simple. We could find people to do the job for 1/2 that!! Not to mention they will get like a dollar raise or more every year. Us complaing about unions isn't getting old. What's gettin old is throwing good tax money down the damn drain so Union workers can reap all the benefits. THAT is what is "getting old". Tell me we get outta this? How does it help our city. You are clueless!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah right:
Stortz - America's hero
Stop writing Bill your only making a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

1:49

The whole country was warned that tough economic times were coming...didn't seem to help now, did it? If all of the top financial advisers couldn't do anything to stop the recession from coming, what exactly do you think Ward could do about it?

Anonymous said...

4:28...after a few drinks, anyone could think they can save the world :-)

Anonymous said...

As a councilman(or potential) I give him credit for posting with his name. I have read his blog and there are also other choices namely, make sure there is accountability for every penny that we pay into the system. RAising taxes or stating layoffs is just trying to bait someone into a political black hole. Weren't you one of the ones in an earlier post that asked if he's ever been to a city council meeting? I too agree that at this point change can best be made from the outside. Not some schlep running because he was on the water board. There are a lot of good conservative ideas in his blog but this town isnt ready for a conservative. We moan and B...ch at the state of affairs but yet the same cycle of people still get elected. You get the government you deserve. I think there are a lot of people with a lot of good ideas this cycle if we give them a chance. It's 2 years. if nothing changes, kick them back out on thier arses and put the same people back in power that you are complaining about.

Anonymous said...

4:28

A good manager would have started cutting costs a lot sooner.

Anonymous said...

Sorry 4:05, but I think you're the one who's clueless. Unions are NOT a LOT of the problem. If only 10% of people are union workers, how can they be 100% of the problem? Most city employees are hardworking schleps just like yourself who earn every dime they make (no throwing of good tax money down the damn drain there). If they've got good benefits and a retirement plan...good for them! Lots of people do and lots more wish they did.

I'm sure that there are some who are deadwood (every company has a few), but even if they were all rounded up and fired, it wouldn't amount to the proverbial piss hole in the snow.

The constant union-bashing is just a ploy used by some of our local yokels who don't have any real solutions and nothing to offer but criticism and blame...and it's getting old.

Concerned Conservative said...

The unions need to let their members make concessions.

O-dumb & his "frineds": Don't give us your boiler plate, doom and gloom, black or white, union goon hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

April 8, 4;05 you are the one who is clueless. A school custodian does not make $23 as a starting wage nor do they make that at the top of the pay rate. They also do not get $1 an hour raises any year.
They also pay toward thier insuranse premiums and retirement benefits. I would suggest you get the facts before you shoot your ignorant mouth off.

Anonymous said...

4:05 What is getting old is people like you who have no idea what they are talking about. Almost all of your statements are either greatly exagerrated or completely false. Please stop the nonsense and tell the truth.
$23 to start...lie
$1 yearly raises...lie
lush retirement...lie (workers pay into the retirement fund)

Anonymous said...

4:05,You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading rumors and making false statements.
Get the facts before you make such ridiculous statements.

Anonymous said...

Don't hit up the GASB 45 money... that's money being set aside to fund future liabilities for retirees that won't go away. This falls into the "pay now or pay later" category. Once you get a glut of baby boomers retire, the cost of keeping them on the insurance plan will hit the city very quickly, and you'd see a drastic mill rate increase. You can hold down the mill rate by carving away services, but every year you'd have to cut more, and more, and more, until there's nothing left to cut... and then you're back to 4-6% increases per year no matter what. Go bark at the feds to help control the cost of health insurance. Yell at the State for allowing unions to be as powerful as they are. But I don't think service-slashing and poor financial management are the solutions.

Anonymous said...

"4:28...after a few drinks, anyone could think they can save the world :-)"

...after a few drinks, anyone could think they could write a witty comment ;0)

Anonymous said...

8:44 Right on!

Anonymous said...

4:28

With a warning that the River was cresting, and going to cause a flood, you couldn't stop it.
But you could take steps to mitigate the impact.

Ward didn't!

With cold weather coming, one takes steps to address the issue, and ease the impact.

Ward didn't!

And now we are paying for it!

Managers, good ones, think ahead.

Ward didn't!!

Anonymous said...

It would be refreshing to see the Kens do something (ANYTHING!) other than bash the union...but, I guess I won't hold my breath (where has Ken J been anyway?).

Odin said...

Sure, I give Scarola lots of credit for putting his name out there. But bravery has consequences (or it wouldn't be brave). So I ask again, what would you do? Cut services (which ones?), raise taxes (how much is acceptable?), or layoffs (which positions)?

Anonymous said...

"With a warning that the River was cresting, and going to cause a flood, you couldn't stop it.
But you could take steps to mitigate the impact.

Ward didn't!"
____________________

This recession isn't some piddly little flood, it's a raging tsunami! Managers, even the country's best and brightest, couldn't mitigate the impact. Trying to blame the fallout on Ward is pathetic.

Even sadder is the childish behavior of our local yokels. Name calling, finger pointing, temper tantrums and criticism is all some of our "so-called" community leaders have to offer..not a fresh or productive idea in the bunch...how very sad! :0(

Score said...

11:41 - Hopefully, ward never got to meet you because that would be a step BACKWARD.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:05, 8:54 and 11:10- I got news for you, the Custodians DO start at $20-$23 an hour!! I saw it myself on the CITY OF BRISTOL job postings a couple weeks ago. Both positions have since been filled and the job posting isn't online anymore. Looks like you folks need a reality check and shouldn't be opening your mouths so soon!!! Know ur role and shut ur hole.

Anonymous said...

2:26 3:21

Other towns ARE mitigating the impact.
There have been staff reductions, concessions gotten, reduction of expenses.

Not Bristol! Not Ward!

We the taxpayers are taking it on the chin, now and in the future.

All so ward can get reelected (maybe).

Anonymous said...

Ward's son-in-law is a city custodian, I bet he makes over $30 an hour.

Anonymous said...

Ward= "W"astes taxpayer money - "A"nswers to the Unions - "R"election rhetoric & "D"- well you fill in the blank on that one..and use your imagination, LOL

Anonymous said...

3.25,School custodians do not make $20
-$23 to start or the top of the pay rate.
I don't think you read very well.
I know for a fact because I am one of them.
Take your own advise on your last statement.

Embarrassed for you said...

6:56 Sweetie, what grade are you in?

Concerned Conservative said...

O-dumb:

The key word to remedy this problem is "CONCESSION".

Is that not in your vocabulary or scope of understanding?

Anonymous said...

7:02...it looks like you were left behind on the pay scale then. Because the job posting clearly said high school custodian and then $20somthin an hour. I don't recall the exact amount but it was between $21-$23. Don't believe me then go check for yourself at Human Resource or whatever you folks call it. And it also showed a pay increase of $1 an hour the first year. I've seen this posting several times and the next time I see it I will be SURE to post the link here since you fools don't want to believe me.

Odin said...

First off, Concerned Conservative, don't assume I'm opposed to concessions. Second, what are you, his mother? I don't want to hear from you; I want to hear from Mr. Scarola.

Anonymous said...

I would applaud the unions for making some major concessions.

As far as the Republican goes, why don't you ask him in a more traditional format such as the candidate forums?

Isn't it funny that Ken Johnson, TJ Money-bags, Hank the Crank, Gary the girl and the rest the good-for-nothing bunch of imbeciles can't get a better candidate than this?

Concerned Conservative said...

Odin:

Major concessions would be applauded and i applead you for implying they are necessary.

But what does Kate What's-her-face have to say about the budget situation? Is she not the heir apparent to one of the council seats?

Let me guess. She's for more education funding, more social welfare programs, more government, more litigation, better relations with the Europeans, gay "rights", reproductive "rights", get out of Iraq and appease socialist dictators. Anything I missed? But more importantly, she'll be a lackey for the Democrat special interests that she is sure to be indebted to when she someday seeks a seat in the Legislature.

Thanks.

Spelling bea failure said...

6:56 - ANONYMOUS stands for " a non opportunistic, non-producing yoyo, mussing over unsubstantiated means of avoiding any positive solutions - "IDIOT."

Anonymous said...

Ward must think that the taxpayers have spare millions the way he is spending our money?

What has he actually cut, other than inflated requests?