Town Budget Theory


The Harkins Method

A system that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have Paul’s support. When the final Town budget is approved Harkins will say that he reduced the Town-side budget. He won’t say that this was accomplished by shifting expenses to other departments and services. The latest BOE budget that includes some Town pension liabilities is the latest example of this. We have already described the siphoning of EMS funds to pay for Town “services”. What we are not seeing are cuts in bloated budget items or any movement towards actually increasing economic development (pizza places and deli’s don’t count). At the end of the fiscal year, nothing will have been done to lower the overall budget or reduce the burden on Stratford taxpayers.

2013 Proposed Budget


43 Responses to “Town Budget Theory”

  1. 1 1george1

    Do you believe in MAGIC?

    Your buddy, James Miron called it smoke and mirrors.

    Last week my letter to the editor called out the lack of transparency
    of the monthly expenses not being updated.
    At Town Council meeting, stephanie thanked Sue collier for updating.

    To give credit where it is due, Jeze noticed it was not updated and
    blogged to that effect.
    I checked and confirmed.
    It made the paper.
    Subsequently, it was updated.
    Good Job Jeze.

    Props to the Patch for coverage on Mrs. Perreira.
    Jason was all over that story with updates in real time.

    John Kovach followed up and did a few stories on the issue.

    The CT POST touched on the story, including front page.

    I asked Jason Bagley to change the picture posted of the Stars
    & Bars near the water damaged ceiling, as it was not appropriate
    & NOT relevant to the CATS ISSUE.

    Jason posted picture of Mrs. Perreira.

    Patch had allowed me extensive blog comments

    I asked Mr. Kovach to cover a couple things he missed and Mrs.
    Perreira expressed her displeasure. Subsequent story balanced.

    Star allowed my Letter to Editor blasting the situation.

    CT POST published my Letter to the Editor on super bowl
    Sunday about the callous and calculating indifference of the
    state and town, including the Public Defender office.

    Props today to each of the Publications as the State has given
    Mrs. Perriera a Public defender.

    * The Criminal Case should be dropped or at least nolle …

    * The Civil Case would be prejudiced by evidence adduced in the
    Criminal case and would be weakened if the Criminal Case was

    * If the above are dropped there is an increased chance for a
    settlement agreement.
    Possibly a Lawyer would find merit representing the less complicated
    issue of seeking settlement with less entanglements?

    I hate bullies.
    I hate cowards.
    I don’t respect people causing unnecessary costs.

    This 90 year old has seen 20 months of persecutution.
    What is appropriate?
    Where is common sense?
    Where is common decency?

    This has cost the Budget already …. and more than it should
    have cost.
    It has hurt people.

    I seek no one fired, nor punished.

    I seek common sense and decency.
    The Journalists have shown that over the government.
    EVEN ….the CT POST …

  2. 2 jezebel282


    “Do you believe in MAGIC?”

    No. And I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy either.

    “Jeze noticed it was not updated and
    blogged to that effect.”
    Maybe the Tooth Fairy was “just swamped”? It seems just as plausible as anything else that has come out of Town Hall.

    The point here in this topic is that not a single dime is being saved anywhere in this particular charade of who pays what.

  3. 3 1george1

    Jeze: “The point here in this topic is that not a single dime is being
    saved anywhere in this particular charade of who pays what.”

    Geo: Does Jeze include even Police & Fire Depts?


    3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or
    essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple,
    homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

    4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically,
    such a moment of revelation and insight.

  4. 4 jezebel282


    “Does Jeze include even Police & Fire Depts?”

    Once again, you don’t get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.

    The Town has had such a poor relationship with it’s unions that negotiating in good faith is no longer possible. It has long ago devolved into an adversarial and hostile process. Let’s also be clear that nothing has improved in the past two years and may have gotten much worse.

    On the one hand, Town officials simply love to whine about overtime yet refuse to fully staff departments. On the other hand, the unions have proposed many money saving plans to the Town and have even gone so far as to file grievances about abuses which have all been completely ignored by the Town.

    The biggest winners are always the consultants and lawyers.

  5. 5 1george1

    Certain police, especially retired during Miron / Burturla,
    and certain fire, are nothing more than L I A R S and THIEFS.

    Most of the REST are decent guys, but NO ONE is gonna make
    waves and possible LOSE outrageous PENSIONS.
    They KNOW it is WRONG.
    NO ONE will rock the BOAT to do the RIGHT THINGS.

    My opinion is Burturla cut deal in 1996 so all of the existing
    police get the BIG PENSIONS & his firm got the Town Attorney.
    – Some might call that FRAUD or CONSPIRACY.
    – Some might call it R.I.C.O. ACT.

    So far they have protection.

    The sands of time and the BIG MONEY from OIL / GAS / WAR /
    DRUGS / INSIDERS – only a matter of time, when they will no
    longer need to honor the old deal ….

    Machiavelli – “the Prince can break his word, whenever convenient!”

  6. 6 1george1

    RTC / LAWYERS BUDGET THEORY – > Abbott & Costello
    One for you – One for me
    Two for you – One, Two for me
    Three for you – One, Two, Three for me

  7. 7 jezebel282


    A link to Harkins complete proposed 2013 Budget has been posted above. Please take a look at it. Hint: it would be helpful if you opened the link in a new tab. It would be more helpful if you take a couple of Rollaids first.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Perspective update:

    FAIRFIELD — During a year in which town officials hired a phalanx of outside lawyers, one thorny issue remains in the wake of the legal eagles.

    Their bills.

    Costs that were orginally estimated to be $537,000 in the 2011-12 budget have ballooned to $720,718. And that number is not expected to decline all that much for the coming fiscal year.

    The legal services budget request is $703,000, a 30.19 percent increase over the initially requested amount this year, and $700,000 of that is for lawyer fees.


    If only Stratford got off that cheap. We pay $2.3 Million for our legal “services”. Three times as much!

  9. 9 1george1

    please specific details per: $ 2.3 million

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Mayor’s 2013 proposed budget:

    Town Attorney: $1,537,000

    HR Legal Fees: $256,500

    Total: $1,793,500 (not counting 2013 budget transfers).

  11. 11 1george1

    We pay $2.3 Million for our legal “services”.
    Total: $1,793,500 (not counting 2013 budget transfers).

    Expected cost to town $ 500,000 deductable legal settlement
    – child killed by PW accident (East Main), if not paid already

    > Legal settlements?
    – Christian Miron
    – Pick a LoSchiavo
    – Pick a fire Man or Rank
    – Pick a police Man or Rank
    – Bridgeport imagination
    – Federal / State suits

  12. 12 jezebel282


    “Expected cost to town $ 500,000 deductable legal settlement
    – child killed by PW accident (East Main), if not paid already”

    This has been accounted for in at least the last three budgets. And yet the full amount has been expended every year. Amazingly every budget has a miniscule (around 0.004%) or a minor deficit. Amazing how that $180+ Million gets spent so accurately isn’t it?

  13. 13 1george1

    People claim they don’t know if the $ 500,000 was spent,
    and if that is why there is so much $$$ sitting in a certain
    pool, which I do not know where that is …. in Budget.

    Direct questions you want asked by Town Councilors at
    Budget Workshops to James Connor who will run the
    April Budget work shops

  14. 14 jezebel282

    Budget Schedule

    Tuesday, April 10th 6:00pm – 8:30pm
    BUDGET WORK SESSION at Town Hall organized and managed/run by CAO
    EMS: Attendees- EMS Director – Phil Onofrio (20 mins)
    Emergency Management: Attendees- Tony Schirillo (10 mins)
    Fire Department: Attendees- Chief McGrath (45 mins)
    Police Department: Attendees- Chief Ridenhour (45 mins)

    Wednesday, April 11th 6:00pm – 8:30pm
    BUDGET WORK SESSION at Town Hall organized and managed/run by CAO
    All Public Works including Sanitation, Short Beach and WPCA & Building Dept: Attendees- Mo McCarthy, Pat Patusky, John Casey, Pete Stallings (1 hour 15 mins)
    Rec, (20 minutes)
    IT: Attendees- Ron Ing and Dave Wright (20 mins)
    HR: Attendees- Ron Ing (30 mins)

    Thursday, April 12th 5:00pm – 7:30pm
    BUDGET WORK SESSION at Town Hall organized and managed/run by CAO
    Sterling House, Attendees: director/Lou Perno (5 minutes)
    Finance -Rev, Debt and OH Attendee: Susan Collier (20 minutes)
    Health Department, Attendees- Andrea (20 minutes)
    Community Services, Attendees- Tammy T (20 minutes)
    Library Attendees: Barbara B. (30 mins)
    Planning, Zoning & Econ Devlpmt, Attendee Steve Nocera (15 minutes)
    Office of the Mayor, CAO, Council Clerk, Attendee: Steve Nocera (20 mins)
    VNA, none (5 minutes)

    Tuesday, April 17th Public Hearing 7:00 – 9:00 pm
    Budget Public Hearing at Bunnell HS organized and managed/run by Council

    Wednesday, April 18th
    Public Hearing 7:00 – 9:00 pm
    Budget Public Hearing at Stratford HS organized and managed/run by Council

    Thursday, April 19th
    BUDGET WORK SESSION at Town Hall organized and managed/run by CAO
    Senior Services, Attendees- Diane Puterski (15 minutes)
    Town Clerk, Attendee Susan Pawluk (15 Mins)
    Registrar of Voters, Attendee TBD (10 Mins)
    Legal (Town Attorney) – Tim Bishop (20 Mins)

    Wednesday May 9th (Tentative)
    Regular Town Council Meeting
    Second reading of ordinance – ordinance passed

    Wednesday June 6th, 2012 (Tentative)
    Ordinance for budget in effect

    Found on p. 68 of proposed budget:

    Sewer use fee increase of 31.8%.
    Sewer use expense increase of 03.5%

    I hope someone has a really good explanation for this.

  15. 15 1george1

    Found on p. 68 of proposed budget: Sewer use fee increase of 31.8%. Sewer use expense increase of 03.5% I hope someone has a really good explanation for this.

    They have to pay Police & Fire Pensions + $ 21,000 extra pay for Harkins.
    If Miron did that …. Nothing from the RTC.
    – Why not email Star, Patch, Post about this.
    – If I didn’t raise issue last year about $ 280 sewer fee when the BONDS
    were PAID – you woulda likely paid $ 345 this past year.
    – Several past Councilors told me the plan is to raise it to over $ 500
    and sell it to private industry, who can further gouge.
    Meanwhile, Shelton & Trumbull access or will access our sewers and
    Bridgeport’s Airport could not stay open without access.

    No one has balls in this town.

  16. 16 1george1

    John Kovach is back at the star.

    Jason of the Patch has list of Budget Work Shops.
    Even anonymous facefook or bloggers can ask them
    questions to have Councilors ask Mayor / Department

    I’ve emailed the CT POST.

    While some bloggers complain about me, who are the people
    causing the problems and costing tax payers money?


    What happens to a HEATED Tea Kettle which can’t release steam?

  17. 17 jezebel282


    “No one has balls in this town.”

    Apparently someone has enough of them to pull the same stunt twice.

  18. 18 1george1

    The Town Council rubber stamped a paid EMS supervisor,
    despite Stephanie’s intelligent questions and point that
    revenues didn’t cost justify $ 55,000…..

    Donofrio claimed the EMS Supervisor could do craft work.

  19. 19 jezebel282


    “The Town Council rubber stamped a paid EMS supervisor”

    With an 8-2 super majority on the Council, did you think anything else would happen?

    I am afraid that we will all be paying more property tax and especially higher sewer use fees come July without any serious debate, explanation or attempt at compromise.

  20. 20 jezebel282


    Another thing….

    “justify $ 55,000”

    According to the posted “proposed” budget the differential is $73,996.
    More (maybe most) significantly there is a whopping drop of $212,160 for per diem paramedics.

  21. 21 1george1

    While Stephanie was making her points and D’Onfrion on the defensive,
    Ron Ing had to be called to explain that other supervisors couldn’t do
    craft work, unless its’ administrative, this supervisor could do paramedic.
    Kubic turned to Jim Connor who was recognize to move it on.

    Then Mr. Stratford was recognized and asked 3 softball questions which
    never touched that $ 600,000 extra had come to the general fund in the
    past and this $ 55,000 for a supervisor was just base, before benefits.

    Stephanie also had asked Mayor Harkins about being paid $ 111,000 on
    a base of $90,000. $ 21,000 Cash out on $ 90,000 salary?
    I guess Mayors, Police & Fire Captains never get sick, nor take vacations.
    Nice $2,500 Bonus for not taking the Town’s $ 23,000 Health care.

    If Jim Miron did stuff like the Republicans pull, DeCilio, Police, & Fire
    would be making headlines . Yet they all quietly rake in their loot.

  22. 22 jezebel282


    First things first: It’s “Onofrio”.

    “Ron Ing had to be called to explain that other supervisors couldn’t do
    craft work, unless its’ administrative”

    What? That makes no sense at all. What “other” supervisors? The four unpaid volunteer supervisors? I know one of them is a paramedic who volunteers large chunks of his time and works his “craft” every weekend for us.

    But getting away from the fantasyland of the council for a moment…

    Why would you want a paid superviser when your very next line item calls for the elimination of 10,000 hours of per diem paramedics? Who is left to surpervise?

    I haven’t even gotten to the FD or PD yet who apparenty need dozens of surpervisors.

  23. 23 jezebel282


    It appears that the budget reflects a breakdown of the per diem pay of paramedics v. EMT’s whereas previously the two were combined. Although we fail to see the necessity for this, we are in error that $212K was cut from paramedic per diem pay. On the other hand, payroll for Directors, Administrators, Supervisor and secretary are all lumped together in one number.

  24. 24 1george1

    “Ron Ing had to be called to explain that other supervisors
    couldn’t do craft work, unless its’ administrative”

    Don o frio is new as are a couple of town councilors.
    They mixed existing town supervisor with this NEW EMS
    position, where there was all kinds of double talk.

    Harkins crew got rid of past supervisors, so now they have a clean
    slate to work with.
    I don’t know donna best, but I do know
    1) there was rebellion by the volunteers
    2) $ 600,000 came from EMS to the General fund
    3) Harkins made a move for 4 full time Supervisors and $ 600,000
    4) Gavin and other on the EMS Committee blocked that grab.

    Jeze is going to hate this.
    Miron was actually more transparent than Harkins
    Miron’s finance people provided timely information which was
    verifiable, whereas Harkins peoples’ information=anyone’s guess?
    – When available?
    – How accurate?

  25. 25 1george1

    Past years – Haven’t bothered to look this year:

    On the other hand, payroll for Directors, Administrators, Supervisor,
    and secretary are all lumped together in one number.

    The Police and Fire Budgets = impossible to see all of the straight
    and other pay in an intelligible format.

    Town Attorney settlements = impossible to find comprehensive
    information, which is easy to break down.

    Board of Ed & Town – Benefits are broken down differently and there
    is difficulty deciphering break downs.

  26. 26 jezebel282


    “Miron was actually more transparent than Harkins”
    He wasn’t called Mayor Moron for nothing. He was proud of his corruption.

    As for Harkins, it is still undetermined whether he is complacent, incompetent or corrupt.

  27. 27 1cyclops

    I vote complacent.

  28. 28 1george1

    I vote all of the above.
    I vote and then some.
    I think of Hypocritical, mean, cowardly, vindictive.

    With Jimmy, it is almost a Greek or Shakespearean Tragety.
    He bought into the Dick Miron political machinations.
    In a different familial environment ….
    In politics people can treat each other visciously.
    Turning the other cheek isn’t SOP.
    Measured and limited responses are SOP.
    Rarely is there true transparency, due to nature of acts of cowards
    and political gangsters who use other peoples money and children..

  29. 29 1george1

    Correction: Measured and limited responses aren’t SOP.

    Politicians are troglodyte Machiavellian wannabees …

  30. 30 jezebel282


    “I vote complacent.”

    Perhaps. But the gimmicks contained in this budget throw doubt on that assessment.

    For example, the Town has apparently decided to begin charging the WPCA (Sewers) $600,000 for “land use” thus raising everyone’s sewer use “fee”. How do they negotiate that? Can the WPCA relocate? Purchase the land?

    Stratford EMS got off easy I guess. They only have to pay the Town $60,000 for the land that they use.

    On the other hand, the RR parking lot and Short Beach Golf Course get “their” land for free. And there is no doubt whatsoever that these “fees” will sail right through the 8-2 Council.

  31. 31 1cyclops

    Too bad – however, absolute power corrupts – and that is what we have in Stratford.

  32. 32 1cyclops

    I found one new 1/2 position in town clerk’s office. Can this be justified? Economy is down; fewer land records; fewer deeds; fewer filings; a lot less department revenue; and the ROV are in charge of elections; why is there so much overtime listed for elections? Does the town clerk now get paid for overtime? Is this an error; perhaps it meant to show a decrease for that position?

  33. 33 1cyclops

    A quick review shows most other departments staying the same or reductions in staff – which is commendable. Is there a place where pay increases can be seen. i.e. non-union v. union and what are the employees paying for health insurance?

  34. 34 1george1

    To Cyclops: Town/BoE employees are paying 13% to 15% for Health Insurance. My company and many others have HSA with 40% paid
    by employees.
    However Town/BoE coverages and costs are so much higher, that
    the 13% might be equivalent to 20%.

    Family plan Health Insurance, cost tax payers in the $ 22,500 range
    for each BoE or Town worker – NOT the EMPLOYEES COST.

    If Health Insurance nation wide was $ 6000 annually, like in 1999
    and that was kited, then a 40% employee share was $ 2,400 and
    employer share was $ 3,600. That’s $ 200 & $ 300 monthly …..

    Town & BoE employees would love to pay that LOW.
    So would everyone else.

    Only 30 % of America are privately insured with average about
    $ 15,000 per year, far lower than Stratford.
    If Health Insurance, employment, and Tax policies were based
    on economic principles, than we would be at 96 % employed
    with over 90% Health Care, greatly reduced by tax credits to
    both Businesses and Individuals, making insurance afforable.

  35. 35 1cyclops

    George, I know employers where the employee and employer split the cost. That means 50% of the premium for each. So, 13% – 15% is a bargain. At this time, employees should pay more.

  36. 36 1george1

    Cyclops – you are preaching to the choir.

    However, what I really try to get across is that everyone is paying
    far higher than the market realistically justifies, just like gasoline /
    oil / coal prices.

    In the “Nature and Logic of Capitalism” there is a legitimate need
    for legitimate profit margins and legitimate pay and benefits.

    However there are outside forces manipulating the free market,
    which is not unlike these 2008 police pensions, where

    Town Department – Police
    ANNUAL PENSION – – – – – – $ 134,525.28
    Base Pay – career pinnacle – $ 84,850.00
    Lifetime contribution – – – -$ 140,107.79
    – Cash out vacation/sick – – $ 44,438.94
    Net life contribution – – – – -$ 95,668.85

    Cyclops – and others – in 30 years @ -$ 134,525
    Is it sustainable as he takes out – – $ 4,035,000
    $ 134,525.00 – annual pension
    /$ 95,668.85 – Net life contribution
    $ 134,525.00 – annual pension
    / $ 84,850.00 – Annual Base Pay
    Is it sustainable?
    Is this legal or had there have to be conspiracy & fraud?
    Are they intentionally trying to break the system and use
    this stuff to overthrow Constitution and have UN police
    the USA, like the USA has done to the world?

    Yeah – tin foil hat?

  37. 37 jezebel282


    Incredible, but true. After passing a $190+ Million budget, the Town Council will consider* bonding $13 million in additional funding tonight. One would think that paying taxes to the tune of $190 million would be enough to run this Town. Not so, apparently. We need to borrow (and pay interest) on $13 million more.

    To be sure, there are critical items that we can’t do without in the bonding request. Expansion of the tee boxes at Short Beach Golf Course made the list, for example. Who wouldn’t see the need to borrow money for that? It’s not like it would come out of, say, revenue. (Where are the revenue numbers for Short Beach Golf Course anyway?)

    And then there is money for fixing up the basement of the PD headquarters where EMS used to be. I’m sure after we get done paying principal and interest it will be beautiful.

    *Everyone except Craig Budnick who will simply trust that the CFO and CAO know what they’re doing.

  38. 38 1george1

    Jeze – In 2008 BOND DEBT was $ 180 million range.
    In SHS Mayor debate I was blindsided by DEBT in $ 210 m range.

    Do you or anyone else know our present series of DEBTS
    – Capital improvement
    – anything else?

    Incidently – This is the last month for citizens to speak to the Town
    Council about the BUDGET and MONEY ISSUES, which YOU & I address

    I was informed LAST MONTH was for RAYMARK SAVE STRATFORD
    THIS MONTH is for talking about SHAKESPEARE & WHITE HOUSE.
    Weren’t the prior MONTHS about ANIMAL SHELTER, LIBRARY,
    and SAVING JASON’S School?

    How dare I bring up any other ISSUES?

    I guess they won’t be pleased with you …. either.

    MY HAT’S off to you on this one!

  39. Does anyone know how much it REALLY costs to run this town?

    Seems to be a lot of expense hiding going on.

  40. 40 1george1

    I can no longer read the TOWN BUDGET on the WEBSITE.

    Neither JEZE nor I can make sense of WPCA BUDGET, with
    zero intent to put words in JEZE mouth or POSTS.

    aware of the EXISTANCE nor IMPORTANCE of the C A F R
    Consolidated Annual Finance Report

    It is Stratford’s equivalent of the DOOMSDAY BOOK
    All Town Assets
    All Town Liabilities

    It includes all of the DEPARTMENTAL REVENUES among other things.

    If I remember in 2008, the Town Budget was around $ 180 million
    and the C A F R was around $ 220 million.

  41. 41 1george1

    Jim, in 1998 the TOWN borrowed $ 95 million for 20 years to FUND
    would PAY the

    the CAP off the 60 % of Base Pay.
    Within the first 3 years, they were above FULLY FUNDED.

    There were not many in the D F P so far.
    The Stock Market had gone straight up 1992-1999 / EARLY 2000.
    A blind monkey with a DART could pick stocks with double digit
    The last “17” years would see outright looting where now $ 19 m
    or 4 mils goes to 630 pensioners with another $ 1 m coming (FIRE D).

    BOND was to be PAID OFF by 2017 (“17”)
    2011 they PAID DOWN EXTRA on the PRINCIPLE and lowered annual
    payments from $ 9.1 million annually to $ 7.36 annually, freeing up
    about “$ 1.7” million annually from the Budget.

    As long as they use the number “17” they try to make themselves
    look like they are Masons (Hint: some are, many aren’t Masons)

    So we have a false positive.

    $ 1.7 million is saved annually from BUDGET, but moved to long
    or longer term DEBT, which I don’t know where to find it?

    PENSION SHORT FALL comparing $ 100 million in PORTFOLIO to
    perhaps $ 300 million in OBLIGATION, is likely over $ 200 million
    in more DEBT?



    ADD over $ 200 million OBLIGATED

    ADD$ 400 MILLION or so for those in the D B P and then those yet
    to get into the D. B. P.

    ADD the WPCA inflated BOND DEBT

    ADD the HIGH SCHOOLS inflated BOND DEBT.

    ADD the POLICE repairs & bondings, the FIRE HOUSE with the
    BRICKS of PURE GOLD and the former FIRE HOUSE, now EMS
    station (I support EMS – JEZE – I question WASTE – not legit
    expenses and they deserve decent professional site)

    I’m not sure which countries don’t have extradition, but when
    -ship Boulevard Development corp, Long Beach West, Lordship,
    Sewer Tratment Plant, Transfer Station, Golf Course, Public Workss
    are all out sourced, I suspect the RTC & DTC will move to some
    country without extradition?

    JEZE I honestly believe all are RELEVANT TO YOUR POST and to

    Did I miss anything as far as Town debts and howmuch it cost
    to RUIN, I mean run this town?

  42. 42 jezebel282


    “Does anyone know how much it REALLY costs to run this town?”

    Sure. We all know the answer to that one: “More”.

  43. 43 1george1

    I wonder if some BONDED / REBONDED MONEY helps pay

    Too bad the SEC & JUSTICE DEPARTMENTS are dunsel

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