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Bridgeport Council sets slightly lower tax rate

Brian LockhartMay 21, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — Two weeks after approving a new municipal budget, the City Council Monday night approved a very slightly reduced tax or mill rate to pay for it, lowering that figure from 54.37 mills to 53.99.

That downward tweak is supposed to result in an, on average, $50 tax cut per household — down from the $125 to $150 election-year reduction Mayor Joe Ganim had originally proposed. Taxes are based on the assessed value of property multiplied by the mill rate.

Bridgeport’s tax rate, which Ganim and the council — all Democrats — hiked four years ago from 42.2 mills to 54.37, will still remain among the state’s highest.

Although the $565 million, 2019-20 budget the council passed shifted funds from the mayor’s proposed tax cut to education, Ganim on Monday announced he would not exercise his right to veto the fiscal plan or sections of it.

“Thank you very much for your hard work,” the mayor told council members.

Ganim’s original tax decrease would have cost the city $4.5 million. The council decided to give a portion of that — $1.3 million — to the schools, which the mayor had flat-funded for the fourth year in a row. Some council members wanted the full $4.5 million to go to education.

Ganim, who is running for a second term and facing opposition from fellow Democrats state Sen. Marilyn Moore and state Rep. Charlie Stallworth, in a brief speech to the council touted the smaller tax break as historic.

He also sought to defend himself from criticism he does not care about the schools, arguing that last year his administration shifted the city to a state health plan, saving the Board of Education $5 million.

The council Monday also voted for a new, five-year police contract which includes a total of 9.5 percent in raises for officers.

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