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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Budget Cuts

We had 2 entries in the contest to see what I would post next and the budget issue won.
There has been a lot of talk - supposedly the mayor has asked that current budgets be reduced by 2%.
While 2% does not seem like a lot, as the mayor said when he submitted them in the beginning of the year to the Board of Finance -this is a no fat budget.
So what does cutting a no fat budget mean?
1) People will lose their jobs.
2) service will become worse.
3) overtime will be cut out for after hours events.
4) needed equipment will not be purchased
5) broken equipment will not be repaired
6) Roads will not be fixed

I think you get the picture


Lots of current reason I can think of, but the real issue goes way back, when Stamford decided that it would be a corporate head quarters for large companies and that is maybe 30 years ago.
The current mayor has nothing to do with that, but has had to play this hand as best as he can.
While this may seem like a good thing because it seems to bring in people to shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants, many commute back from where they really live.
This is one reason Stamford for many years during this hayday was such a ghost town after 5 or 6.
But most of these corporations have their own kitchens, so the people only go out when they want a change, not out of necessity.
We get money back from the State for the tax breaks that they get, but that I don't think is a complete picture and JT or Mr. Stamford can correct my misinformation.
The people who do stay have been the main reason the price of housing went through the roof.
I do not bad mouth people with money, but why would any developer want to make affordable condos for regular peons like me, when they can sell Trump style places for a great deal more profit.
Living wage in Stamford becomes $120,000 for 2 and poverty is under $55,000 for one.
There is a demand for service jobs, but people can't afford to live in Stamford in Legal Housing at $14,000 a year, so they either move to Bridgeport and commute (price of gas anyone?) or they live in substandard illegal housing or crowd themselves into single rooms with their families.
This doesn't help anything except increase the need for more inspectors and after hour visits which I just said are getting cut.
The tax burden because of all of this is on the single family home owner, and so people on fixed incomes who have lived here all their lives have to move out.
The mayor was surprised at how much FD Rich bought the buildings on Summer St for and said that the buildings really need re -evaluation. the implied statement is that the buildings which are being rented for business are undervalued and under taxed. And again the homeowners bear the burden.
We, the home owners, also bear the burden of all the budget cuts.
The mayor has to hold the line, but I have heard that the offer to the largest union in Stamford, whose contract ends next July, is to offer a 1 year continuation, which would be a 3% raise.
so the 2% might be held to try to make up the balance of the 3% when it comes in July.
Of course it might be to pay the mayer and his cabinet the 12% raise that everyone readily gave him when he asked, but I think that was already budgeted.
Talk to me!
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