Posts Tagged ‘Bloomfield CT Town Manager’


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  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.