AP NEWS

Joe Ganim Tax cut will ease city’s burden

March 31, 2019

Dear Bridgeport residents,

This week, I will present my budget to the Bridgeport City Council. I will also deliver my State of the City Address to business and community leaders.

My administration and the City Council have had to make difficult decisions to get the city budget back on track after inheriting a $20 million deficit in 2015. In each budget thereafter, we have held the line on taxes while trying to balance increasing costs and continued cuts in state aid, including state funding for our schools.

Over the last three and a half years, we have worked diligently to cut discretionary spending, refinance and restructure the city’s debt, work with unions to find savings in wages and health care costs, and reduce where possible the amount of non-emergency personnel throughout our city departments.

On the revenue side, we are proud to see over $1 billion in economic development projects breaking ground across the city, including:

Waterfront development at Steelpointe, $500 million;

Renovations of the historic Poli and Majestic Theaters, $400 million;

A new outdoor amphitheater concert venue, $20 million; and,

The conversion of blighted factories along I-95 into housing and retail space, $250 million.

Now, thanks to those and other great economic development projects happening in our city, we have seen a 5.2 percent increase in our grand list compared to last year, bringing the total grand list to over $6.3 billion.

Because of this growth and our diligence in holding down costs, I am pleased to propose a budget that includes a property tax decrease — the first the city has seen in over 12 years.

For a home valued at $175,000, it will mean an approximate savings of $101; for a $250,000, a $140 savings, and for a $360,000 home, a $201 savings

This tax cut represents an approximate average savings of $150 per household.

While this may be modest relief, we understand that every bit counts towards lessening this burden and we do not take the hard-working residents of Bridgeport for granted.

Of the 16 budgets I have presented to the city, 14 have held the line or decreased taxes. I am pleased that this year’s budget is included in that relief for our overburdened taxpayers. A look back will reveal that this record of cutting taxes is unmatched by any mayor going back at least 50 years of Bridgeport’s history.

Although it is difficult to cut taxes in a city of our size while still providing essential services to our residents, we are committed to keeping costs low and will continue to fight for our fair share of much-needed state aid.

As our city is experiencing an economic resurgence, we will continue to improve public safety. In 2015, I promised to prioritize public safety by hiring 100 new police officers. We exceeded that goal, and later this month we will hire an additional 30 officers. We are also recruiting brave men and women to join the Bridgeport Fire Department. Our communities cannot thrive without being safe places for our residents to live and work.

We are also proud to kick-off our anti-blight and beautification program, “Park City Pickin’ It Up.” This city-wide initiative covers all communities by addressing blight, illegal dumping and littering. We invite engaged residents like you to do your part and join the Health Department and Public Facilities to beautify our city, one neighborhood at a time.

It is evident that our work on development projects and city initiatives holds a brighter future for our city, and for you. As your mayor, I commit that we will continue to fight for the residents through balanced, responsible budgets, grand list growth, and for our city’s share of state aid. The most prosperous days of Bridgeport are ahead of us.

Thank you for your continued support and partnership in Bridgeport’s future.

Joe Ganim is mayor of Bridgeport.