June 8, 2009

Hey, folks, you ain't seen nothin' yet

With this year’s municipal budget finished, city officials are already looking to next year’s spending plan with dread.

“There’s two or three more tough years down the pike,” said Ron Messier, a Board of Finance member.

Officials this year dipped into the rainy day fund for $2.5 million that won’t be there the next time around, emptied out equipment and other accounts and otherwise left the cupboard bare in their quest to deliver a property tax freeze this year without slashing city services.

Next year, said Janet Moylan, a finance commissioner, “we’re going to have to cut.”

Three-term city Councilor Craig Minor said, “This is not a rainy day, folks. This is climate change.”

John Smith, another finance board member, said  that cuts alone are not going to do it next year.

Smith said leaders need to reorganize the way the city does business to find ways to deliver services better and more efficiently, just as private industry has had to do.

Smith said the city may have to reduce the services it offers in order to hold spending in check.

“That is just reality,” said Smith “and if we don’t pay attention to it, we have our heads in the sand.”

Even if the city were to need $170.8 million again next year, it would need to raise taxes more than half a mill simply to get the revenue next time around that it secured by snitching from existing accounts this year.

That assumes, of course, that costs don’t rise. If employees demand the raises they’ve already negotiated, it would take even more money, at a time when state aid is widely considered to be on the chopping block.

This year’s budget is “easy compared to next year’s,” city Councilor Ken Cockayne said, particularly since the city may lose some of its state assistance in 2010 as it tries to cope with a multi-billion dollar deficit.

Mayor Art Ward said that Bristol “has the potential to feel even more pain” in the coming year as finances grow ever tighter.

This year, he said, the city relied on one-time sources that won’t be available again.

The only alternative is “to be frugal, be conservative and be conscious of every single penny of spending.”

City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who is also the 79th District’s state representative, said the financial position “is not all doom and gloom.”

“We will get out of this,” Nicastro said, “though it will hurt.”


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

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Three-term city Councilor Craig Minor said, “This is not a rainy day, folks. This is climate change.”

THANK GOD HE IS NOT RUNNING AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

Well maybe Ward should stop playing the shell game with the rainy day fund. Start the lay-offs and start making city employees pay more for their health insurance. The ONLY reason Ward didn't want to raise taxes this year is that he gets re-elected. Stop playing games Mayor - the only reason you want to be Mayor again is to push up your retirement check. What a piece of work you are.

stupid is as stupid does said...

3:04 would be wise to admit that they know nothing about the budget system because the city council and finance board vote on what, when, where and how the mill rate is determined. might even think about knowing what you are talking about idiot.

Anonymous said...

3:04, Ever think that maybe Ward didn't want to raise taxes because he realizes that many of Bristol's citizens are in a real financial bind due to the recession? Ever think that the reason he wants to be mayor again is because he really cares about Bristol? Ever think at all? What a piece of work you are!

Anonymous said...

start raising fees..

Anonymous said...

3:04 PM:

No one in their right mind would put themselves under public scrutiny, withstand all the mud slinging, name calling, insults and criticism just to push up their retirement check. People like you make being a mayor or a public servant a nightmare! (and you think that Ward is a piece of work??!!).

Embarrassed for you said...

"The ONLY reason Ward didn't want to raise taxes this year is that he gets re-elected."

Really? He told you that? Or are these just more false assumptions and allegations made up in your own little mind so you could take a cheap shot?...Yah, I thought so!

Anonymous said...

WE NEED NOT A FEW BUT MANY LAYOFFS IN ALL DEPT.

Anonymous said...

How about we try one of the solutions offered up by Ken C? Let's revisit the GASB 45.

And I don't care if this idea was supposedly brought up b/f by the unions themselves. That is BS! This issue would never have gotten as far as it did if it weren't or Cockayne. Maybe Ward can get behind it now and we can get something done that will help everyone.

A good idea is a good idea no matter what party is pushing it.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me all those defending Ward are the same person over and over again. Ward only cares about himself - get real when you say he cares for Bristol.

Anonymous said...

3:34pm every one knows Ward and Mize are best of friends - you don't think they talk behind closed doors? Man you certainly have your head up your butt.

Odin said...

"Well maybe Ward should stop playing the shell game with the rainy day fund. Start the lay-offs and start making city employees pay more for their health insurance."

I'll bet my co-pay against yours that you don't even know how much city employees pay for their health insurance.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that those few comments attacking Ward are actually the being made by the same person over and over again, hence the redundant rhetoric. :-O

wow - idiot said...

FYI -Ward retired from the state last year so he doesn't get any increase in his retirement from that point on - try to find another whining point - hope your blazing saddle burns your ass.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor appoints the BOF and is Klokos boss.
They want to keep their jobs: they go along with his honor.
Mize is a puppet for Kloko, mize owns so much property that he gains by no tax increase.
Ward is an egomaniac and this is his time in the sun.

We will all be paying for it, big time.

Anonymous said...

Ward did not layoff, and Ward did not raise taxes because he wants to get reelected.

Many many games were played with the budget: unfortunately very little information is provided and reported.

PWKS director had some real savings, but Wards buddies would have been affected so the ideas were not implemented.

Anonymous said...

Those city leaders that created the BOF out of need back in the 30's must be turning over in their graves right now.

We need a new Board of Finance!

Anonymous said...

Too bad the media didn't dig a little deeper during the budget process.

Too much is done without seeing daylight, until it is all over.

Anonymous said...

9:27pm - Nice language Mayor!

Anonymous said...

Ward did not retire from the state last year - he took a leave of absence - now who is the idiot?

Anonymous said...

Ward wants to take care of his buddies - PW, BOF, all of them. So don't expect him to make any moves to do that. He will however blame others for his shortcomings.

Steve Collins said...

6:58 -- "The media" is just me when it comes to the city budget. And I devoted more hours to it than could reasonably be justified.
What's really too bad is that Bristol lacks the sort of interested groups that many others towns have, from taxpayer organizations to political opponents who routinely stay on top of what's going on.

Anonymous said...

7:44 - Once again, false assumptions and also once again ~ WRONG!

Anonymous said...

I like reading the threads on BHA better than the ones for the city because the recurring commentaries are so boring and uninsightful... same mindless banter you see in every town. Attack the mayor, declare how useless municipal employees are, call for cuts to pay and benefits, get on your overalls and wave the torches and pitchforks.

When you run a city, you rely on your people... there's only so much you can push before they let the wheels grind to a hault. Not to mention, ever sit on the management side of the table at an arbitration in CT? It's like playing tennis with a featherduster... you're at a significant disadvantage.

Revisit GASB45? If you're not a Certified Public Accountant I'm seriously not interested in your opinions regarding the ammortization of actuarial post employment benefit liabilities. You're just setting yourself up for a disaster if you underfund future obligations of that magnitude.

I'm not suggesting I have the answers, and I think the Mayor's pulling back the budget calendar because he expects it'll take a long time to find answers if there are any good ones. But here's all of Bristol's budget info:

http://www.ci.bristol.ct.us/content/5900/default.aspx

I agree with Steve, there needs to be more informed budget discussion in this city, and more civic involvement. I could tell you what I'm doing but then I wouldn't be very anonymous... but all the abusive stuff is what keeps public officials from even trying to listen.

Get informed, get organized, and be constructuve.

actions prove it said...

the idiot is you 7:45

Anonymous said...

9:49am - You are the idiot. Talking about things you have no clue about. Get a life.

Anonymous said...

I hope Bill Stortz gets involved again. He used to go to meetings and ask meaningful questions!

Anonymous said...

Should have started this two years ago not wait till we are at the edge of the cliff .Ward was warned. I am sure he reads more than the sports page .He should have been proactive .

Anonymous said...

He,along with the then BOF were given a heads up: guess he didn't understand.

Anonymous said...

I agree with poster 3:04. Poster 3:34 is way out of line. I think Ward is not raising taxes just to get re-elected. After all, he will probably step down after two terms. If he doesn't, he's crazy. Not having citizens pay taxes now is crazy. Do you realize how large the hike will be when we DO have to have an increase? I, along with many others, would rather see a small, incremental increase than a huge hike like the one we'll see. Sure, we're all in dire straits, but it's easier to try to swallow a small increase rather than gulp a large one!

Mark my words. He wasn't thinking about the citizens at all. He was thinking how he could manage to get through this election and then leave it to the next mayor to clean up the tax mess!

Anonymous said...

10:54 Poster,

I hope Stortz say's away! He was one of the worst mayors Bristol had. He was only good in his mind!

Anonymous said...

Art, lead or get out of the way!

Anonymous said...

Clean house, starting with mayor Ward!!!

Anonymous said...

9"37

I agree!

Anonymous said...

Me Too!

Anonymous said...

9.37

AMEN!