Budget Time

23Mar15
Time to Change Methods. It's a Brick Wall, Silly.

Time to Change Methods. It’s a Brick Wall, Silly.

Both the Town and the BOE proposed budgets have been released.

BOE Budget: http://stratfordk12.org/images/customer-files//2015.16ItemizedEstimateofExpenditures3.2.2015.pdf

Town Budget: http://www.townofstratford.com/filestorage/39879/43107/66139/Operating_Budget.pdf

As we will see in coming posts, no effort has been made by anyone to save the taxpayer anything. None at all. If you are looking for significant reductions you certainly won’t find them in either budget. You will have similar disappointment when you look for clear data or explanations. In fact, some of the explanations we’ve heard in the “press” are pretty funny. Well, they would be funny if they didn’t cost us so much. Recently the Mayor Harkins released a statement advising us that, due to revaluation, we’ve lost a significant amount of value in the properties we (you and me) own. But, according to the mayor, that’s okay. Don’t worry about that because he’ll raise the mill rate to adjust for that! Everyone that is not in a union and works for the Town or BOE can still get a raise.

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37 Responses to “Budget Time”

  1. 1 stfdprofessor1

    Whore [hawr, hohr or, often, hoo r] – a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual intercourse, usually for money; prostitute; harlot; strumpet.

    At $108,000, that would make someone the highest paid strumpet in town. I guess they call their customers “Johns” for a reason.

  2. 2 stfdprofessor1

    I think we can lower the mill rate if someone wants to forward this to the Mayor: http://www.laconciergeagency.com/

  3. 3 jezebel282

    Prof,

    Moving on….

    In the rainbow & puppy world of Harkins’ press releases we come across this:

    Harkins sees bright future for Sikorsky, Stratford
    Hugh Bailey
    Updated 10:46 pm, Tuesday, March 24, 2015
    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Harkins-sees-bright-future-for-Sikorsky-Stratford-6156021.php

    “In the meantime, Harkins spoke highly of the town’s economic development efforts.” No. Not those efforts!

    “Harkins cited expansions by companies including Nuovo Pasta, Connecticut Distributors and Two Roads Brewery.”

    Not quite the manufacturing/engineering jobs that used to be here are they? But let’s take a moment. Harkins has been mayor for nearly six (count ’em, 6) years and he can only point to three companies (not counting pizza restaurants and nail salons) that didn’t move out. Is there a list of companies that did move out? And do those three companies pay more than, say, $108,000/year plus benefits in property taxes?

    “He also said to expect an announcement on the transferal of the former Stratford Army Engine Plant property from the Army to a team of developers”

    We’ve been expecting this for nearly 25 years now. And let’s remember that due to the shenanigans of previous Town Councils we’ve been shut out of the process.

    “I think it will turn out well in the end,” he said. “There’s nothing definitive yet, whether it stays with UTC or goes in another direction. It’s definitely not a bad thing if it ends up an independent company.”

    So essentially, his guess is as good as ours.

    “UTC’s board of directors is currently exploring its options for Sikorsky.”

    Harkins does not have a seat on that particular board. We doubt they will be calling Harkins for his opinion either.

    What we are left with in Harkins sunny outlook is the Town providing less services (by selling off the WPCA/Sewer Plant) and raising our taxes. Maybe the future of Stratford is bright for someone, but it won’t be the taxpayer.

  4. 4 Rockannand

    So uplifting and inspiring to read. Makes you want to start your own parade down Main St to celebrate the great Town of Stratford, but since most of the Main St businesses are closing, there won’t be any customers there to come and throw confetti on our parade. But we will soon have a parking garage in place of Colonial Square and one less historic building to care for to accommodate that project. Guess we can just print flyers to place on the windshields of all those parked cars.

    Oh joy or is that Ode to Joy?

  5. 5 jezebel282

    Rock,

    Take heart. As bad as the Town budget is, the BOE budget (over half of our tax dollars) is even worse. The BOE budget is completely incomprehensible. But no one ever seems to notice.

  6. 6 stratfordvillageidiot

    What did the Economic Development office due to convince Connecticut Distributor’s from moving out of town? Apply some political pressure to have a construction permit approved to build a warehouse in an area zoned for industrial warehouses?!?

    And if I’m not mistaken wasn’t the groundwork laid for Nuovo Pasta and Two Roads Brewery all done by the late Economic Development Director Bruce Alessie?

    How soon we forget?

    Then again Economic Development and the word “laid” seem to be synonymous with the Mayor’s office.

  7. 7 stfdprofessor1

    “Then again Economic Development and the word “laid” seem to be synonymous with the Mayor’s office.”

    HAAAAAAAHAAAAHAAAhaaaahaaaaaha!!!! Viva Viagra!

    Speaking of “laid”, how much are we getting “laid” or SCREWED out of this year in the mayors proposed budget for the town attorney Jez?

    After seeing that jackass town attorney’s picture from St. Patricks Day in the stratford star dressed like “the Riddler” from Batman, I question whether or not a man with judgement that bad should be given 35 cents of the taxpayers money to manage.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Prof,

    The Town Attorney will drag every case out to the bitter end and then appeal it for another couple of years all the while billing us by the hour.

    In the meantime, between the mayor and CAO office, we are up to $447,896. Who knows what the “Chief of Staff” is paid?There’s no line item for that. Sorta like the BOE doesn’t specify what the Superintendent, COO or anyone else is actually paid.

    It’s only tax money….

  9. 9 jezebel282

    But while we are at it, why aren’t we selling off Short Beach Golf Course? This year we expect to lose $193,942. Maybe because there’s something called a “Pension Deposit” cost of $129,916? Not as bad as the $1,053,449 Harkins sucks out of the WPCA/Sewer fees to pay Town-wide pensions, but still…..

    I suppose we should be thankful he’s not sucking it out of something important like EMS. Oh wait! There’s that $450,000 taken directly of of EMS. Never mind.

  10. 10 stratfordvillageidiot

    When it comes to Economic Development and selling off town assets I think someone needs to remind the Mayor that the “best laid plans of mice and men”….darn it….there’s that world “laid” again when it comes to the Mayor and Economic Development!

  11. 11 stfdprofessor1

    “In the meantime, between the mayor and CAO office, we are up to $447,896. Who knows what the “Chief of Staff” is paid?”

    To think 10 years ago it was done much better with only ONE person…the Town Manager. The town was run much more efficiently at 20% of the cost. This town will never improve until we revert the charter back to that form of town government.

    The wonderfully ineffective chamber of commerce jammed this mayor nonsense through, now there is less and less “commerce” in Stratford every day. I defy anyony to travel 1/4 mile in any direction and not see a closed business or three “For Sale” signs.

    Great job Chamber of Commerce, Town Clowncil and Mayor “John” Harkins 😉

  12. 12 stfdprofessor1

    BTW “John” did your girlfriend get her new car (supplyed by taxpayer dollars) yet? It must be nice.

  13. 13 stratfordvillageidiot

    Is there anything in the town charter about the number of signatures required on a petition to trigger a potential recall or independent investigation of the Mayor?

  14. I hate to say it but Harkins’ brains seem to have left the building. While it’s great to have a craft micro-brewery in Town, does not employ all that many people; and the let’s see how long the pasta place will last. As for Connecticut Distributors – hmm, they supply all the booze to the biggies at Blues on the Beach, so perhaps, in turn for that, any zoning apps slid through like vodka on an ice luge.

    We have no economic development – what we have is an high paid economic development “director” with a jazzed up office (I heard with a couch).

    In his speech, not one mention of the theatre either. Why? Because we all know what that game is: hand-pick your RTC friends and their girlfriends for the HDC and Arts Commission to stall any progress. The only things that move forward are the things that THEY want!

    The budgets – both are pieces of crap – the BOE budget again was again prepared by someone who obviously has no clue how to prepare a budget. The increases are fabricated in many areas – probably to hide money! E.g., custodian increases are tied to a Collective Bargaining Agreement – no way is there a custodian getting a 35% increase! If there is, something is seriously wrong in the BOE! I’m honestly not sure where these people come from or how the Chairwoman could, in good conscience, sign off on that piece of crap! The same goes for the Town’s budget. Stop with the raises, increases, etc. $108,000 for an Economic Development Director who does what? With whom? If that’s not playing favorites in Town Hall….. OH MY!

  15. 15 jezebel282

    Actually there is nothing in the charter about a mayoral recall. Maybe it’s covered in CT statutes?

    The Council has the power and authority to investigate anything it wants. With a 9-1 RTC majority, good luck with that.

    Miron was right when he screamed, “I’m the f@$;?#g mayor! I can do whatever I f@$;?=#=g want!”

  16. I don’t think Connecticut is one of the States with recall rights! I think it’s been tried, but…..

  17. 17 jezebel282

    Speaking of petitions, it would take a mere 10% of registered voters ( about 3,300) signatures to force a referendum on the sale of the WPCA/Sewer Plant.

  18. 18 stfdprofessor1

    “$108,000 for an Economic Development Director who does what? With whom? If that’s not playing favorites in Town Hall….. OH MY!”

    What do you think the couch in that jizzed up office is for.

  19. 19 stfdprofessor1

    Sorry typo…I meant jazzed up office.

  20. 20 jezebel282

    Prof,

    We must say that we do not believe your statement at all. We just don’t think you meant to type “jazzed”.

  21. 21 stfdprofessor1

    Perhaps this explains it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freudian_slip

  22. 22 stfdprofessor1

    ;0

  23. 23 jezebel282

    Update:

    Ann Martorana said the council should fully fund the school budget as it’s in the best interest of the students.

    “We’re way behind in technology. My son doesn’t even know what a smartboard is,” she said.
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/34961/speakers-urge-town-council-to-restore-schools-budget-request/

    As if smartboards actually make you smart by looking at them.

    Ms. Martorana should look at the budget. She will see that in the proposed budget (the one with the extra $2 million) school supplies are not increased. In fact they are cut. Page after page of educational materials. You know, like text books. Secretaries are cut (the ones who actually do the work), repairs and maintenance are cut, Special Education and Pupil Services are cut and Improvement of Instruction are cut.

    You know what’s not cut? Administrator compensation. That is increased.

    As soon as someone is able to demonstrate how raising an administrator’s salary improves a child’s education….

  24. I keep arguing this point, but some parents just don’t get it! I am a parent of a child attending a Stratford elementary school! I am sick of the East Broadway administration and their antics too! One woman posted that maybe they should take away the $800 clothing allowance for each of the custodians – like that will amount to much. What would that provide? Education costs for maybe two children?

    I mentioned to a councilperson that what appears to be happening is that we are hiring based on a degree held. Without mentioning names, e.g., the two (part-time) people who took Vincent Carbone’s place – one holds a JD, the other is a “double-dipper” – both are making exhorbitant salaries. The guy who took Mike Feeney’s place – again, holds a JD. We aren’t paying these people high salaries because they are good at their jobs, we are paying these people these high salaries because of their education levels! Are you flipping kidding me? And they keep getting crazy increases!

    Sure, my husband is a custodian at Center School – go ahead and look at his line in comparison with all of the others. That is why I know that much of this is fluff and fabrication! It has nothing to do with retro pay because I doubt very much that one custodian had enough retro pay to increase his line to $81k! It’s a bunch of BS and we keep getting it shoved down our throats over and over! Come on people! WAKE THE HECK UP!

  25. 25 jezebel282

    PCS,

    A lawyer would not be my first choice for a Chief Operating Officer. Maybe that’s why the BOE budget makes no sense?

  26. Jez ~ the more “brains” they hire, the less things make sense!

  27. 27 jezebel282

    Maybe it’s not the brains. Maybe we just pay them too much for too little. A reasonably readable budget using our money is not that much to ask.

  28. 28 jezebel282

    Let’s remember that according to this BOE budget that we are paying them $14,000/year per student for a mediocre public school education. Every year.

    Upon graduation we will have spent $182,000 and more on each student. Makes college look cheap.

  29. 29 jezebel282

    Does anyone remember the good old days when the budgets were clear and readable? When everyone’s compensation was clearly labeled and listed? When you actually believed the numbers? You know, when the budget made sense?

    Stratford Man Is Appointed New Greenwich Town Administrator
    By Barbara Heins (Patch Staff) April 21, 2015
    http://patch.com/connecticut/greenwich/new-greenwich-town-administrator-appointed-0

    “The Greenwich Board of Education Managing Director of Operations, Ben Branyan of Stratford, has been appointed the Greenwich Town Administrator…Before coming to Greenwich, Branyan was the chief operating officer for Stratford Public Schools after serving as the district’s school business administrator. Before that, he worked for more than 10 years as the assistant town manager and chief administrative officer for the town of Stratford.” He was also the Town Manager for eighteen months. “She added, “He has great integrity. When Ben says something, he has all of the information. It is accurate. He is not self-promoting. He is humble and has great people skills.”

    It has been nine years since we have seen that sort of integrity in Stratford Town Hall. Oh wait! That’s how long we’ve had a mayor, isn’t it?

    Congratulations, Ben! You’ve earned it…and so have we.

  30. 30 jezebel282

    Update:

    And while the members of the BOE bicker with each other about whether or not they compromised with Harkins (Of course they didn’t. Why would Harkins compromise with anyone?), the Superintendent is very busy laying off the lowest paid employees and planning how she will spend her raise.

    And there is still not a readable comprehensible budget from the Superintendent.

  31. 31 stfdprofessor1

    That’s because incompetence breeds…especially in Stratford.

  32. 32 jezebel282

    Prof,

    It makes you wonder who the BOE Chairman was that hired this superintendent.

    Hey wait a minute! It was Gavin Forrester!

  33. 33 stfdprofessor1

    Watch it lady…that’s the next mayor of Stratford your talking about (yet another great reason to bring back the town manager).

  34. 34 stfdprofessor1

    Mayor Forrester’s first day on the job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSxCT1Faw6k

  35. 35 jezebel282

    Update:

    The Board of Education, also dominated by Republican Town Committee members (5-2), will be meeting tonight to finalize their budget.

    Of course, they will be complaining that the BOE budget was cut by the Council and mayor. This is far from the truth. “The budget includes a $475,000 increase for the Stratford Board of Education’s budget, giving the school district $99.995 million to spend next year…. that gives the school district nearly $2 million more than the current spending plan.” http://www.stratfordstar.com/35820/divide-on-schools-budget/

    The BOE will probably do what they always do. They will moan that their budget has been “cut” and take “drastic” measures. They will cut secretaries and young teachers without seniority. They will cut supplies, equipment and programs. They will leave intact all of the Administrators and their raises.

    And so we are not mistaken, the budget gives the Board of Education more money than it has ever had in it’s entire history.

  36. So, I watched some of the BOE Finance Committee meeting. I was amused that while they kept talking about the “contractual obligations” e.g., the union increases, not one thing addressed raises given to themselves and whether they will be foregoing those during these “hard times” as Theresa Sheehy indicated at one point in the meeting. If the times ARE that hard, then there needs to be a belt-tightening on things. If the times ARE that hard so as to impact the education our children are receiving, then the frivolous spending (e.g., those catered trays of sandwiches that are visible in the video) should be foregone. The $7,500 cap for spending before Board approval is required should be decreased significantly. Corporations have money to spend; municipalities don’t. Stop spending our money like there is no bottom in the bank!

    Cut non-union salaries instead of world language programs! Increase the amounts required to be input by non-union employees to the HSA account, as has been done with union employees. Go through each department and see where the fact is and cut it out! Stop terminating employees only to rewrite the jobs to require outrageous degrees – that only leads to overpayment of overqualified individuals. The ridiculousness is never ending in the BOE!

    REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER on this one too! And, when elected, say no to the kool-aid!

  37. 37 jezebel282

    PCS,

    You seem to be the only parent in Stratford that is paying attention to BOE Budget shenanigans. The taxpayer wasn’t even provided with an approved budget document last year. We literally have no idea how $95 million was spent.

    This year it’s even worse. The BOE is receiving $100 million. More money than Stratford has ever spent on the BOE. Yet the only thing they are able to cut are 11 secretarial positions. And they haven’t voted on a revised budget yet! Why are they in such a rush to dump 11 secretaries? Oh wait! Isn’t their union about to win a judgement against the BOE about back pay and bad faith bargaining on the BOE’s part? Can you spell “R-e-t-r-i-b-u-t-i-o-n”? 25% of the secretarial workforce should be a sufficient message, don’t you think? That should cost the taxpayer plenty in legal fees.

    In the meantime, no wage freezes for administrators. Again.

    Parents with children in the school system should be demanding an accounting from their elected BOE members. Show us how increased administrator salaries improve our childrens’ education!

    Oh wait. You don’t know who your Board member is? Allow us:

    Andrea Veilleux (R)
    Chairman, Term: 2011-2015
    441 Washington Parkway
    Stratford, CT 06615
    203-380-1938
    veilleuxa.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Christian Barnaby (R)
    Member, Term: 2013-2017
    100 Ash Street
    Stratford, CT 06615
    203-386-1506
    barnabyc.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Robert Chaloux (R)
    Vice-Chairman, Term: 2011-2015
    70 Foxhill Road
    Stratford, CT 06614
    203-375-7670
    chalouxr.boe@stratfordk12.org

    James Feehan (R)
    Member, Term: 2013-2017
    930 Beaver Dam Rd
    Stratford, CT 06614
    203-386-8922
    feehanj.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Theresa Sheehy (R)
    Member, Term: 2013-2017
    190 Chapel Street
    Stratford, CT 06614
    203-375-3463
    sheehyt.boe@stratfordk12.org

    We are listing the Democrats too, although their vote hardly matters.

    Jancee Pust-Marcone (D)
    Secretary, Term: 2011-2015
    275 Luanne Road
    Stratford, CT 06614
    203-375-9659
    pust-marconej.boe@stratfordk12.org

    Leonard Petruccelli (D)
    Member, Term: 2013-2017
    105 Euclid Avenue
    Stratford, CT 06615
    203-383-2315
    petruccellil.boe@stratfordk12.org


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