Archive for the ‘Bloomfield Ct’ Category

BLOOMFIELD CT SCHOOLS & TEACHERS ARE LAZY – WE SHOULD BE RIP ROARING ANGRY!

April 17, 2008

                                                              

                                                                     Red Hot Poker

 

This morning as I am zipping through my emails and sipping on my coffee I read the following quote from a teacher that is discussing immigration and the education system in our country.  Here is this teachers confession…

“My principal ‘encouraged’ me to promote students to the next grade level even when they failed to demonstrate competence at their grade level. Those kids faltered in the classroom because their parents failed them as to homework and educational attitude”. 

It gets better…

“Teachers called it “affirmative action grading.” Students learned they could goof off, never turn in homework and still be advanced to the next grade. By the time they reached their senior year, they enjoyed full-fledged avoidance of academic work for passing grades. They graduated, essentially illiterate, to move on to “affirmative action jobs.” In other words, they got something for nothing! Then, they took jobs where they ‘showed up’ for a paycheck”.

Okay, now how do you feel after reading this quote? 

I’m not done…

“In California, students speak over 100 languages. Connecticut features 140 languages. Every state suffers multiple languages that wreak havoc in American schools”.

Now I understand why Bloomfield’s school system score ratings are the lowest in the state.  We the taxpayers on a local and national level are paying for teachers to conform with the Governments and local school requirements which in this case are proving not to work by our scoring system. 

In Bloomfield we do know we have too many secretaries in the Board of Education in Bloomfield.  To compare scores go to www.Raveis.com/Geena and compare Bloomfield scores with other towns.  One secretary at the Board of Edcuation hasa  job  to go fetch food for the other secretaries.   One teacher is going to China for two weeks to a conference and the taxpayers are paying for it. 

This explains why are scores are at rock bottom in Bloomfield and the USA in major cities.  We are spending over 35 million in the town of Bloomfield for bad educations and  billions of dollars in the US  on educating children from foreign countries that live illegally in the United States.  Who knows how many kids are illegal in  Bloomfield? 

Micromanagers – where are you when we need you????

 

 

BLOOMFIELD CT TOWN COUNCIL MEETING – April 14th 2008

April 15, 2008

Everyone must know that if we want to not pass this budget we need to get 900 signaures from registered voters in this town.  Who’s game?

Second, there was a Budget Hearing on the calendar for Tuesday the 15th on www.bloomfieldct.org and it was canceled without any notice anywhere.  The Town council pulled a fast one on us for sure.  Thank goodness Roy Duncan was in communication with one of the council members and gave us the heads up.

Okay, if everyone is so concerned about their tax bill then they have to actually show up at the committee meetings and the town council meetings and say what is on their mind or just sit and show some interest.  There were less than 10 people in the room last night at the council meeting.  I can see that maybe it is because we realize that the council doesn’t listen.  I saw a chink in the armour last night.

Now, here is a list of the meetings that are coming up if you don’t want to check on www.bloomfieldct.org

If you are unhappy about our finances in town then attend the finance meeting next Monday night @ 7:00.  Discussions about building a new school to consolidate 3 buildings will be on the table. 

If you are unhappy about how many police we have in town then attend the meeting on April 28th@ 6:00 p.m. Then at 7:30 there is a Town Council meeting.

If you are unhappy with where Bloomfield is heading or have ideas on the vision of where Bloomfield should be going then attend the Economic Development meeting this Thursday night @ 7:00 p.m.

If you are furious that we paid for Wintonbury Golf Course from soup to nuts and think it is being mismanaged since we all know it is a cash cow and we the residents are still paying for the course then please attend the May 12th Golf meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Last night’s meeting was televised.  Town Council allowed comments.  Mr. Roy Duncan once again stood up for the citizens of Bloomfield and wanted answers to a lot of great questions.  His opening line which is on the minds of all is that it was too darn warm in the building.  Truthfully it had to be 70 plus degrees as it always is when we have gone to these meetings.    Yes, we all conserve in our homes to save money and it was suggested that the Town Hall building do the same.   We have all of the money and we have all of the staff to perform all things in our town but nothing is being managed properly.  Leaking roofs, burnt out lights in parking lots, etc.

The second slap in the face for us was as we walked into the Town Hall there was a sign in the middle of the hallway saying “Now Hiring Police – starting pay $56,+++”….. Does Hartford pay their policeman that much?  Again, we ask what is the average income for the entire town of Bloomfield?  How many policeman live in Bloomfield?  

How many town employees live in Bloomfield?  If we find the average income for Bloomfield is $35,000 – pretty sad that our town employees are making more then $50,000 except for two people.

Next was the line we all know…show us the money!  Roy mentioned that there were funds given to Bloomfield for drainage ditch repairs in the Foothills area of Bloomfield.  Money has been given to Bloomfield to ramp up Filley Pond – we are hearing to the tune of $1 million.  Where are these funds and why aren’t they being used?  People are extremely unhappy about both  areas not being repaired or replaced and they are making it known to all of the powers that be and still no progress.

We the tax payers simply can’t justify these costs in Public Safety, Board of Education, Economic Development Commission, Wintonbury Golf course and other areas until we know we need the service.

The Town Council did not come up with answers to Roy Duncan’s list of questions that were all spot on and all stated in the blogs.  I’m not clear if they are going to come up with the answers.  My take on this is it’s in our lap to get the stat’s ourselves.

We did get an accurate Per Student cost in Bloomfield which is approx. $13,000 plus not $17,000 or $19,000 that has been floating around.  Roy did mention scores are the lowest in the state and in our popluation rank of 30 towns we rank 29th.  Scores have to improve in this town. 

Board of Ed – there is fat that needs to be trimmed. Too many secretaries and a paid trip for a teacher to China for two weeks is not acceptable.  Who knows what else lurks.  Testing scores for the kids are not acceptable and we should not allow any increases in their budget until the scores go up.  It is that simple.  

Question still unanswered is how many children in town in total and how many do NOT attend the public school system vs how many attend our schools in this town that do not live in this town.   I guess I will have to call the superintendents office to find that out.

Crime statistics – where is the crime and how much do we have?  Police department should have those statistics.

Finance Committee meeting is next Monday as I mentioned earlier – one of the topics will be to consolidate the elementary schools in town into one and build a New larger school.  Compare that to keeping 3 older buildings that all 3 need major renovations.  If we have a new larger school with designs to have the small classrooms for Preschool to Grade 3 – the State of CT would be involved with funding that project at a larger level I gathered.  A new central school building would be more efficient to maintain.  

Good news time:  Our theater is having a Grand Opening next Thursday the 24th @ 5:00 p.m.!  Whoohooo!  Great news.  Keep in mind this would be a great place for us to get our “referendum” started since we need 900 votes to squash the budget.

If anyone watched 60 minutes this Sunday and saw those kids in Venezuela perform on stage – well, we have that same talent right in Bloomfield.  Bloomfield’s child musicians, instrumentalists and singers were on stage performing at the Bushnell last Friday night with the theme of “Visions”.  Some of the Council members attended and noted that the audience was so moved by the performance they were in tears during their performance. Scot Haney and Brad Davis were the MC’s.  Brad’s quote was “seven years ago there were just a handful of musicians at Bloomfield High…”

 Bravo Bloomfield!

 

 

                                                 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL PLAN AND PROPOSED BUDGE’T FOR BLOOMFIELD CT 2008-2009

April 10, 2008

The \

The Council Budged on the Budget!!!!!!

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 www.Raveis.com/geena  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 with 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. 

Now, let’s look at the subject that was brought up a few times regarding the Economic Development Commission.  The Council expressed a more than once that the EDC should have an extra thrown into their pot of approx $50K plus to really promote Bloomfield.  Well, myself and Michael were scrambling at our first meeting looking for that page regarding the EDC which was F9.  It was missing!  Well, the EDC receives $139,737 and they are asking for an increase of $11,076 or 8.6%.  I did some investigating since I was on the EDC for Metro Hartford Alliance and checked into what was perceived of our existing EDC of Bloomfield.  We have one person that is in charge of the EDC and I do not know what her salary is but from other sources from very accomplished departments of the Metro EDC they said our EDC is very ineffective and does not participate at EDC meetings and went on and on.

So, here lies the problem once again.  We are paying a lot of people in our Board of Ed, our EDC department, our public works department that actually are not doing their job.  When I heard last week that our 15 year old roof at our police department is leaking and has been leaking and light bulbs are out in school parking lots.  Come onnnnnn…..designate a couple of days to replace the burned out light bulb day.  What is so hard about this?    Get a roofer and get the flashing or the shingles replaced – pronto.  Now we run the risk of mold in the sheet rock because the leak is ongoing so it will now cost more money because of people having the funds to get things done but they are not doing their job.  Now, I would think our town manager would be holding everyone accountable for these tasks but I see that people are getting away with slacking off.  Yes, we know this goes on everywhere in every organization but when times are very hard now and will continue to be hard you don’t go asking for salary increases or more funds for a department when they really aren’t needed.  They think throwing more money will solve the problem when really lets use the money we have and put it to work the right way. 

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.

Our town manager if very knowledgable about a lot of things which I was quite impressed with but everyone has something no matter how much they try that they just can’t seem to grasp.  I think he has needs to really now focus on what is not going on in each department.  Do a little MBWA – remember that?  Manage By Walking Around.  

There also was more discussion on tonds and our debt service and Moody’s requirements for us a town with surplus, etc. which actually was quite interesting.

I love the idea that CL&P will subsidize window replacement for the town building.  One of the Councilman announced that which was a nice surprise. 

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”. 

All in All Bloomfield residents – we have a great Council that is very devoted and dedicated for the betterment of our town.  We have a Town manager that is very knowledgeable and capable.  I just am al little uncomfortable with his unwillingness to let go of some police.  And in order for the town to really come to that conclusion we need to see real data on our crime and where it is happening and how often.  Real stats to prove that we need 33 and growing police officers for 20,000 people.  Let’s see it!  I also am unhappy with Economic Development person that we have doing this job.  I think our Town Manager needs to look at what she has done for the town and look at hiring someone else since she obviously has gotten very comfortable and is getting away with being not effective.  We don’t need to throw more money into the EDC we need to wake up the EDC.

 

“Don’t Tread On Me”… in Bloomfield, CT. – Taxes to Increase Again? Are you kidding me?

April 2, 2008

crying-babies.jpgTo set the tone of where I am going with this…I was so unnerved by the town budget meeting last night I had dreams of being in this room debating with the town council.  I have lived in this town the first go around for almost 7 years and then came back and have been here for 11 1/2 years.  We have the best luxury condo’s and apartments in Hartford County and we also have gorgeous custom built estate homes that are the perfect size for empty-nester’s.  Gillette Ridge Golf Course was built 3 years ago and we have built luxury free standing houses all around the golf course and other locations near the golf course.  Bloomfield is only 6 miles from downtown Hartford and 5 to 8 minutes to I-91 and I-84 and less than 15 min to Bradley International Airport. 

I printed the 205 page Budget proposal on-line and reviewed every page over the weekend only to find out that 5 key pages were missing and one of the town council members was polite enough to let us look at his copy.   

Revenues in town are $73,031,428 – which $61,864,885 come from property taxes.

They want to spend $73,031,428 for this year.  This is where I get madder than a hornet.

We have 33 police officers in this tiny town – Fixed Budget of $6,885,081.

Last night I hear our 15 year old police department roof is leaking and we have lots of light bulbs out in the parking lots at our schools.  Okay what are they doing with the $2,386,932 that we pay in for public works?  Do you think we have salaried employees in this town that are like dogs on welfare?  They are not getting in their trucks and actually doing their job.  No one is accountable to anyone in this town.

Our education budget for 2400 students – are you tranquilized right now?  $39,055,093 is our proposed budget number. That is almost $17,000 per student.  This is why we are the empty nester town… get ready…. In Connecticut in our population size of 15,000 to 25,000 of 30 towns – guess what? According to “Connecticut Magazine” Issue November of 2006.  Bloomfield ranked #29 as “the” worst education in CT.   I was chuckling when one town council member last night wanted to throw in an additional $50,000 to our already $139,000 Economic Development Commission budget to promote Bloomfield to the world.  Excuse me? One of the biggest draws to any town are RESALE values.  Bloomfield’s rankings are such that no one wants to buy in town if they know they have sell in 3 to 5 years. Schools drive the economic engine of towns.  Just go to www.raveis.com/geena and click on “NEIGHBORHOOD MAPPING” and then go to “LOCAL HOUSING DATE” and compare the educations and values in all of the towns in CT and see for yourself.

Bloomfield population is approximately 20,000 –  Setting of the room last night for a 7:00 p.m. meeting is a small conference room – 1/3 of it had food enough to feed an army that was catered.     I arrive at 7:15.  Everyone’s belly is full.  The room is about 100 degrees. The conference table is in the middle filled with the town council members and our town manager and finance director (11 people). There are chairs set up all around the walls of this room and they are filled – my associate from my company Michael Voutsas saved me a seat.  I am already shocked that we are not in one of our large conference rooms complete with video cameras so this can be shown on our local Channel 5.  As I sit I realize that all of the people in the chairs around the room are EMPLOYEES of the town.  I can’t wait to find out at the next meeting how many of these salaried employees actually live in Bloomfield!  I do know that one of our top positions in town our town planner does not live in Bloomfield.  Shock!  That will be my next blog believe me.

In this one hour meeting these people through around $500,000 like it was paper-towels.  They were spending my money and the air was so cavalier.  They were numb and half conscious throughout the entire one hour.  Rubbing their eyes – ready for naps.  If we were in China burping I’m sure would have been added.  Who wouldn’t after the feast they just had.  All that was needed at this meeting –  coke’s, coffee and cookies to keep this group alive and also to save money! 

Okay here it comes… “quote of the week”

2008-2009 – First Budget hearing for Bloomfield.  Drum roll…….. One of our town council members stated towards the end of the meeting at 8:05  discussing a huge dredging cost of a very small pond that we use for skating in the winter in the center of town which could cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars says… “we need to spend the money like it was our own”….

Whattttttttt??????  It is our money!