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Council Set to Fine Tune Budget for New Fiscal Year; Legislation, Bankruptcies Impact Proposed Revenues

By Julie Perine on March 01, 2018 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

As Bridgeport Council members got their first look at the city’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, City Manager Kim Haws told them a significant amount of request had already been eliminated in order to balance the document.
 
“We’re projecting a fairly level amount of revenue this year,” Haws said. “We don’t anticipate a major drop, but we obviously don’t know. We have no reason to believe there will be.”
 
In the amount of $15.3 million, the working budget will be a focus of Council over the next several weeks as line items are taken one by one and discussed; some potentially eliminated.
 
As always, the working document features proposed expenditures which have been prioritized.
 
“There are priority A items which, in the past, have been included in the one-time (business and occupation) tax discussion, usually around May,” Haws said. “Priority B items are those that – if we still have money left over after one-time B&O tax, we’ll start chipping away at. Most are considered by Council after July when we get an actual fund balance amount that comes in.”
Priority C items are also included, but not as likely to be funded.
 
In addition to potential personnel increases, expenditures deal with requests made by various city department heads.
 
“Generally speaking, I think our administrative staff and department heads feel pretty good about this,” Haws said, asking Council members to carefully review the draft and to make any questions or concerns known.
 
Finance Director Monica Musgrave said one area of revenue which is decreased this year is property tax revenue.
 
“Typically, we look at adding $100,000 or so and this time it’s gone down by $8,800,” she said. “This is the result of legislation passed in 2017 regulating inventory values for Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier, etc.”
 
Also affecting city revenue, Musgrave said, are four Chapter 11 bankruptcies to date since Jan. 1 of businesses located at Meadowbrook Mall.
 
Such decreases in revenue must be budgeted in early in the process, Haws said.
 
Council will reconvene 6 p.m. March 5 to take a thorough look at the proposed budget and meet again prior to the regularly-scheduled March 12 Council meeting. The final budget tweaking session will take place March 19 and must be voted upon at the March 26 Council meeting, Musgrave said.



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