Posts Tagged ‘Bloomfield’

Good morning Bloomfield Town Council ….It is our money!

April 12, 2008

The main problem that is not being “felt” with the most of the Council members is that it is our money they are spending.  Watching them toss our dollars around I feel like a parent that has given a 16 year old my credit card and off they go with no one watching over them as they run through the mall spending foolishly.  They cut last week from 5.9% increase to 2.8% and they can go lower for sure – 2.0% would be a great goal or even 0%.

I ask you… when someone looses their job in a household and income drops what does one do?  They start getting rid of expenses they don’t NEED.  What do we need?  Ask that realistically.  What do we really need in this town of Bloomfield?

We have 4 major expenses in town that we have control to lower the bill and/or make more effective.  Public Safety, Wintonbury Golf Course, Board of ED and the Economic Development Commission. 

Things we don’t have control over is our huge MDC bill and the bond expense for the new school.  The MDC bill that is quite large – in the millions – The State of CT is to blame for that bill.  Are we surprised? 

Okay,  we are gearing up for the week of April 14thmeetings and interesting questions and comments have come to me from my very concerned neighbors and people I do business in town and my associate who attends the meetings with me who is Michael Voutsas.

First question is what is the average income of the town of Bloomfield? Confirmed by the Council last week… not one employee makes less than $50,000 that works for the town except for two and they are in the Registrars office and they only work 20 hours a week.  God bless them.  This could be very upsetting if our average income in town is $35,000.  So, we need to get that figure.

How many employees for the town are actually residents of the town of Bloomfield?

The police!  This is absolutely out of control in that our town manager is hiring and desiring more coppers without firm data that we even need them.  We are spending $6 million for a staff of 54 and 33 being coppers for a small town like us of 20,000.  Our town manager is increasing to almost $7 million which is 8%  increase.  Question is, what the actual crime statistics and real numbers to justify these new coppers.  As Michael wrote to Councilman Merritt noting that the Town managers comments when asked why do we need the increase in Public Safety…”do you want another Hartford” does not justify an 8% increase and a bill of $7MM.  What are the stats?  This is an information society now.  We do not operate anymore with off the cuff answers to huge questions.  In my business I have to back up everything I say and I expect that same treatment from our town manager that I would give him.

How many policemen live in Bloomfield?

Another question is since we spend $17,000 per student in town – we are the lowest ranked in education. How many children are actually in town and how many do “not” attend the public schools in Bloomfield?

We all know that Gillette Ridge and Wintonbury have put Bloomfield on the map.  The only way that Bloomfield could get to front row is to increase the scores of our school system and brag about it.  Scream and shout because when buyers are moving into town they look at schools for resale value of their home. 

I have one businessman in town that said to me yesterday “is Bloomfield trying to force me out of town” becuase of taxes?  Why am I staying here  when I could go to Simsbury or Avon and pay the same in taxes and get better appreciation on my house.  Of course I said the same thing last year.  Since I am in the biz of selling property I have looked at moving to Avon or Simsbury because of that same reason even though I do not have children.  We obviously spend enough and it is obvious the $ is not going to the children.  We have too many “secretaries” at the BOE and we should NOT be paying for a teacher to go to China for two weeks that you and I are paying for.  That is absolute thievery!

Next question: Why don’t we have someone in town that we already employee gather data from all over the country on different tax plans that each town that benefits the townspeople?  There are loads of progressive tax plans to help the people in town without basing it on income of the townspeople.  Tax caps, tax freezes, there are loads of programs that are very fair that we are not even studying.  Let’s go – get to work – get the data and let’s get pro-active.  Hmmmmmm – maybe people would want to move to Bloomfield if we were state of the art with our tax plan.  Wow, there’s an idea!!!!!!!

Wintonbury Golf course – it is a disaster in that – if you observe that the course is packed 7 days a week from sun up to sundown wouldn’t you think that it should be paying for itself?  Well, it’s not.  We the town are still paying for Wintonbury GC.  Okay, so where would you look first?  How is it being run?  Managment perhaps?  I do know from extremely knowedgeable sources that Managment is not qualified for their jobs.  We are not sure who hired these people but that is the most obvious place to look.  The GM and the Pro need to be moved out and we need qualified people running the show.  Until that happens things will not change even when we get rid of the $400,000 annual lease payments next year.  Im smellin a rat!

Economic Development Commission.  The person is our town managers pick and the pick has got to either pick up or pack up.  That department is asking for this year $139,737 I believe an 8.66 increase.  I have done research on the department and the person never shows up to meetings and when the person does attend any EDC meetings for other towns they are late.  The person is very ineffective was the general consensus.  Now one of our council members brought up to put another $50K into the pot.  We need to get what we have out and reassign the salary for this job.  We need someone effective in that department and we don’t want our Town Manager to have the say on who it will be this time.

I still think it is pretty lousy that the Talcott Mountain Science Center doesn’t use a Bloomfield address since it is in our town.   

Any questions or comments you want heard or answered please comment from this blog or shoot me an email at Geena@Geena.biz.

I am starting to dream about these issues now – not good for my sleep.  Gotta go and make some money today to stay current with my taxes.

Ciao

 

 

 

 

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“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!