Stratford Building Code

14Mar13
View of Stratford From Town Hall

View of Stratford From Town Hall

Mayor Harkins has released his election year budget. Proposed Budget. As in the past, with an 8 to 2 majority on the Town Council, it is very unlikely there will be any significant changes to the proposed budget. Oh, there will be budget “workshops” and maybe a public forum or two, but rest assured this budget will pass intact. The only discussion that might occur will be here and on other blogs.

As we have stated many times, the most significant decisions that directly effect your mortgage, rent, vehicle, business and your environment are the decisions made in Town Hall. Yet most citizens and businesses merely shrug their shoulders and write their checks. We have provided a link to the proposed budget and urge readers to at least give it a look. Of course, you will see that not much has changed over the last 7 or 8 budgets other than the budget is becoming less clear and less transparent. Oh, the same old tricks are still in use. Our personal favorite remains the Town Attorney’s budget. This year it is only $1.5 million with another $300,000 buried in Human Resources legal fees. That won’t be counting later budget transfers of course. And where, you might ask, does most of this money go? Apparently, we are not entitled to know.

And then there is the Water Pollution Control Authority (sewers). With nearly $500,000 paid directly to the General Fund for “contractual services” and $600,000 in “Miscellaneous Revenue” also paid into the General Fund, it remains a “fee”. Yet we are asked to pay 11% more in sewer use “fees” next year.

And who will question or oppose this budget? No one. Our prediction is that this budget will sail through with a 9 to 1 vote. The only dissenting vote will be Stephanie Phillips. Not a single member of the RTC on the Council will vote against it. And what of the Democrats? They remain a cult of Miron leftovers and are unable to convince anyone that they are a credible organization.

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16 Responses to “Stratford Building Code”

  1. 1 jezebel282

    Update:

    It looks like we’ve made it to number 1! We are now rated as the worst place in the U.S. to live in retirement.
    http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2013/03/11/the-10-worst-places-to-retire

    “And even those who have paid off their mortgages still spend a median of $984 per month in other housing costs”. Other housing costs being property taxes and utilities. According to the article, that is more expensive than either Honolulu or San Diego.

    How did we get here? The answer is simple. Just read the other posts in this topic. What other posts? Exactly. We have ignored our way to the top.

  2. 2 jezebel282

    How disappointing is this?

    http://stratford.patch.com/blog_posts/stratfords-plan-of-conservation-and-development

    The only individual in Stratford who has publicly expressed an interest in being the mayor of Stratford (even Harkins hasn’t committed to that yet) has chosen to ignore the single most important issue to every resident and business; the Town Budget.

    Helpful hints: If you want to talk about the Shakespeare Theater, see Matt Catalano who spent his entire two terms as Councilman trying to get something done. If you want to discuss the Stratford Army Engine Plant contact the U.S. Army/GSA since they own the entire facility and are solely responsible for it.

    In the meantime, I suppose we’ll just wait for the Council to approve this budget 9-1 and write our checks like we always do.

  3. WOW ~ I wonder if any of our Stratford politicians have taken notice of this! We are part of the Bridgeport metro area! It’s not only unaffordable for retirees and seniors, but the regular, middle class blue collar workers are getting pushed out too! Many parts of Connecticut need a political overhaul to eliminate corruption – Stratford is certainly one of those places!

  4. 4 jezebel282

    PCS,

    Maybe we should have a referendum to merge with Shelton? Mayor-for-Life Lauretti just announced a tax decrease. Most of our Town employees already live in Shelton anyway.

  5. 5 mikereynolds

    You are assuming Shelton would want to merge with Stratford. I can’t think of any incentive for Shelton to do that.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Mike,

    Actually…me neither. Maybe we can just pay Lauretti to run this Town as well?

  7. 7 mikereynolds

    Why not? Everyone else is paying him.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Mike,

    Do you know what his going rate is? It has to be less than what we’re paying for the WPCA.

  9. 9 jezebel282

    Update:

    As we predicted with the release of this year’s campaign budget, Harkins will run for re-election:

    Mayor Harkins to Run for Re-election in 2013

    ‘We have more work to do,’ Stratford’s mayor said before announcing his intent to run for re-election at a speaking event Tuesday afternoon.
    http://stratford.patch.com/articles/mayor-harkins-to-run-for-re-election-in-2013
    I suppose he means he hasn’t sold the WPCA to a corporation yet.

    We hope it is now time for Joe Paul or someone to actually say something reasonable before November.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Update:

    Four speak at second budget hearing
    By Stratford Star on April 17, 2013

    After a second public hearing on the 2013-14 fiscal budget drew few speakers – for the second consecutive night – members of the Town Council Ordinance Committee voted to submit the budget proposed by Mayor John A. Harkins to the full council, without recommendation….
    …Residents Walter Rimkunas and James Mihaley called it apathy. Others said the budget does not get people upset.
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/7148/four-speak-at-second-budget-hearing/

    Not upset? Transferring $1.6 million from the WPCA to the General Fund and raising sewer use fees again as well as another $1.8 million for the Town Attorney gets residents upset plenty. Sadly most residents & businesses can also count; an 8-2 Republican majority on the Council pretty much ends any meaningful discussion.

    And what does any member of the Democratic Town Committee that might want to be mayor have to say? Nothing. Not a word.

  11. 11 jezebel282

    Update:

    Tonight the Council will approve Harkins’ election year budget as well as the sale of $200 million in Pension bonds.

    So what?

    The “what” is that property taxes in Stratford make a significant dent in every family’s budget. The dent is even bigger for seniors and the more vulnerable. It is fair to say that the majority of residents cannot simply explain to their employers that their mortgage payment or rent just went up (again) and they’ll need a bigger paycheck just to stay even. What that means is that after tonight’s vote we will all be a little poorer.

    Amazingly not a single politician, director, supervisor, administrator, superintendent, principal or chief thinks that this is a problem. Therefore, without much discussion at all the budget will pass. The only suspense will be whether or not the Council votes 10-0 or 9-1.

  12. 12 jezebel282

    Update:

    We would be remiss if we did not take note that Harkins’ proposal to raise sewer rates yet again was defeated by a motion introduced by Matt Catalano and seconded by Jason Santi.

    Yay, Matt!

  13. 13 jezebel282

    Matt.

    Budget discussion is more appropriate here.

    “The council has asked for a legal accounting but as of yet has not received anything. Funny that.”

    As we have learned during the last seven years of a “strong” mayor, there is no downside for a mayor. He can literally do anything he wants to do with no negative consequence (for himself). A mayor will never lose a day’s pay, never pay a fine and never ever accept blame or responsibility for anything.

    “The new fire truck was approved in the CIP. It was in the schedule”
    If only that was posted and made available to the taxpayers I suppose we could have had a discussion about that. Maybe we can have one for the other fire engine coming in September? How much is that one going to cost us?
    Maybe the lack of current information on the Town website can be brought up with the Town’s “Global” IT Director? Oh wait…that’s the same guy that is the HR Director, isn’t it? Never mind.

    “Yet if all the candidates (from both sides) are cut of the same cloth, then the people are pretty much screwed.”
    Considering the nominating process, what other outcome could be expected? But the voters pretty much screwed themselves when they approved the “Strong” mayor Charter pushed by the RTC.

    “The only recourse for the people of Stratford is in November.”
    May I remind you that the RTC and their candidates OWN the last four years. Republicans have had a super majority on the Council, the BOE and, of, course, the mayor’s office the entire time. How has that worked out for us? You guys might have a problem in November if you weren’t up against the Democratic Town Committee candidates.

  14. 14 jezebel282

    Oh…and mailing the sewer use “fees” in a separate envelope this year doesn’t make it any less of a tax. Seriously, who thought that one up?

  15. 15 jezebel282

    Oh…and while I am at it, didn’t the Council decide to “save” money by doing only one mailing of the tax bills forcing us to keep the bills lying around for six months? Processing a second mailing for the sewer use “fee” kind of makes that idea, well, silly.

    Oh and the sewer use “fee” still says “Taxpayer Copy” and we still make the check out to the Tax Collector and we still mail it back to the Tax Collector and if we don’t mail it on time a tax lien will be imposed and a whole lot of the money goes into the General Fund.

    Tell me again how this is not a tax….

  16. 16 jezebel282

    Update:

    Just as a reminder: The RTC controlled Council and mayor have yet to see fit to post the 2013-2014 approved budget on the Town’s website. Obviously, that did not stop them from mailing the tax bills.
    http://www.townofstratford.com/content/39832/39846/39909/43105/default.aspx

    Is it so transparent that we cannot see it?


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