Well, tonight was our 3rd night sitting in on the budget hearing with the town council members, town manager and our finance director.  The setting in the room.  Nice dinner, snacks, bottled water, lots of M&M’s.  Michael  also a town resident and also of Geena & Company  were the only regular attendees out of a total of THREE.  Pretty sad to say the least.

The town manager asked for a 5.9% increase in our budget and tonight I am happy to say they ended up with a vote to only increase 2.8% with a new mill rate of 35.29.  I think they could have been more aggressive which I’ll explain why.

I was very happy to see the Republicans and the Democrats almost saying the same thing.  Tough times are here for another year and half and after that we don’t know what will happen.  Keep spending down because it is not going to get better. 

Key issues were Board of Ed has a lot of waste in their budget.  We have a member of our town council who is a retired school teacher and stated that there are too many secretaries in our Board of Ed.  Our Town Planner has two secretaries and they run an entire town whereas the BOE has several including one girl that her job is to go and get coffees and food for staff.  Another point she made which really was disturbing.  She noted that when she went to a conference it was her expense.  The BOE would allow her to take off from school and get a substitute teacher.  She learned that a teacher is going to China for two weeks on Bloomfield’s bill.  That absolutely should not be allowed. Now I am seeing why we are spending $17,000 per student and we are the worst ranked school in the state.  Bloomfield Board of Ed is out of control.  They are spending our money carelessly and they are not held accountable. to anyone.

Fill in Filley Pond!  That was the real consensus about the pond in the room. We say put in a Starbucks! It’s great land and a great location and we are hearing that it is going to cost ONE MILLION $ to dredge the pond and beautify with a new bridge. One council member was fighting for the pond because 50% of the people he runs into ask him to take care of the pond.  50%?  If he ran into 4 people that means only 2 people said something.  Soooooooo!   It was agreed to get the funds thru fund-raising events by a separate volunteer group and not have the town pay for it.  YES!

Our beautiful new golf course Wintonbury Hills is still being breast fed by the town of Bloomfield. Yes, it was agreed to have the golf course start paying for itself.  Next year the lease payments for equipment stop to a tune of $400,000 but the golf course is going to ask us for $1.5MM for capital improvements which means they want to increase the restaurant.   Another issue about the golf course is that the non resident fees were increased 5% and 66% of the players are non resident.  I think that is fine but they need to look at the General Manager that is being paid a lot to run the golf course and the restaurant and he is not qualified.  The restaurant is disgusting as far as atmosphere and food.  The GM is a golf pro running the food division and being paid a lot of money to do a bad job.  The second problem is they have a retired police officer as the Pro for the golf course.  He also is not qualified and overpaid.  The problem lies within the club.  The club is packed wtih players 7 days a week so it is glaring that it is not being run right.  Council needs to dig a little deeper into that issue. They need a restaurant guy running the restaurant and a golf pro that can break 100 running the golf division.

Now our police department. Deep breath…. Our town manager who I think is a very qualified person and we are lucky to have him.  He is living in total fear about something.  We have 33 patrolman included in public safety staff of 54 for a town of 20,000 people.   Our manager said tonight that we need more policeman.   It was brought up several times that they do not need an 8% increase in pay.  It was mentioned 6% would be plenty.  We the townspeople say… how about no pay raise and let’s get rid of a few.  Our town manager will not let that happen. Hmmmmmm…..

It was also stated that not one person in the town of Bloomfield makes less than $50,000 a year.  Then we found out two people make less than $50K a year and that is our Registrar of Voters department.  These two are asking for a pay raise of $2500 each and they do not work more than 20 hours per week.  That did not go over well with the Council. 

They also announced that our P & Z dept is asking (Town Planning and Zoning)for an enforcer of the building codes.  That is all his job would be.  Hmmmm.  I know there is not going to be a lot of building permits being taken out for the next few years.  Not too worry.  They also are increasing our building permit license by $1.00 and demolition license.  Okay well, nothing times whatever is nothing.  That department won’t be too busy for a long while.

So, by Thursday I am going to provide the Council with some real etate data about Bloomfield that will shock them all since they are planning for $700K in revenues on taxes from transfer of property.  They will see that they will not be able to count on that figure being that high based on our declining market.

Ah yes… and GET RID OF THE MINI BUS!   And, we were happy to here the Masonic building is being torn down so we can wipe out the $25,000 a year in maintenance of a building we are getting rid of. 

One councilman is very worried about buildings being torn down in bad times.  How it looks to people.  Well, it is a sign of better things to come – could mean a sign of growth.

Quote of the night… $250,000 is like candy bars – it’s nothing…

Whewwwwww.  Tough to sit without make comments.





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