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More from the MISleader: The tax increase edition

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Time: 5:31 PM

Another gem from the last honest man:

From Boughton's budget proposal:
The impact of our spending plan to our residents is critical as we seek to balance our budget, protect our quality of life, and reduce costs.

After careful analysis and much discussion with our Director of Finance, I am recommending that we “freeze” the phase- in of our state mandated revaluation.

This means that with exceptions of new construction and adjustments, the assessments of all property in the City of Danbury will be frozen at their current level. By suspending the phase-in, we can ensure that the taxpayers of Danbury will not be saddled with an assessment that may not be reflective of current market conditions.
The suspension of the phase-in will also allow our residents to have breathing room in an unsettled economic time.

A suspension of the revaluation will also reduce the impact of our budget for our residents.

In order to implement a suspension of the phase-in, the State Legislature must adopt a bill that is pending before it which has passed out of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee with strong bi-partisan support. It is my understanding that this bill has a strong chance of becoming law.

In addition to the suspension of a phase-in, I have also asked the Legislature to consider the possibility of allowing cities and towns to discard their most recent revaluation and give the authority conduct a new revaluation before the next scheduled revaluation date.

Assuming a “freeze” of the phase-in of the revaluation, the impact of the proposed budget to our taxpayers includes a mill rate increase of .31 or little over 1%. A typical home that is assessed at $239,900 currently pays $5121.86 in property taxes. Under the proposed 2009-2010 budget, that same home would pay $5196.23 a difference of $74.36 for the year or approximately $6.00 per month.

Should the Legislature decide not to allow for a suspension of the phase in of the revaluation, we will adopt a mill rate that will reflect our spending plan and implement the next phase of the revaluation according to law.

There is only one thing wrong with this...Boughton can't shouldn't present a mill rate based on the assumption that the legislature is going to approve a suspension of the revaluation phase-in.

From section 7-4 of the city's charter (Duties of the Common Council on the budget):
The Common Council shall hold one or more public hearings not later than May 1st or the next business day thereafter if May 1st shall not be business day, at which any elector or taxpayer may have an opportunity to be hear[d] regarding appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year. Following receipt of the estimates from the Mayor, the Council shall cause sufficient copies of said estimates to be made available for general distribution in the office of the City Clerk and, at least five (5) days prior to the aforementioned public hearing, the Council shall cause to be published in a newspaper having a circulation in the City a notice of such public hearing and a summary of said proposed budget estimates showing anticipated revenues by major sources, and proposed expenditures by budgets or departments in the same columnar form as prescribed for budget estimates in Section 7-3 of this Chapter, and shall also show the amounts to be raised by taxation. Not later than May 15th[,] or the next business day thereafter if May 15th shall not be a business day, the Council shall adopt a budget and file the same with the City Clerk; provided, however, if the Council shall insert new amounts or programs, increase, decrease or strike out amounts or programs in the budget such changes shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of at least two-thirds [( 2/3)] of all the members of the Council. The ordinance adopting the budget may provide for appropriations by department or function, and such appropriations need not be in greater detail than to indicate the total appropriation for each department or function. At the time when the Council shall adopt the budget, together with a provision for uncollectible taxes reserve, it shall also fix the tax rate in mills which shall be levied on the taxable property in the City for the ensuing fiscal year. Should the Council fail to adopt a budget within the time specified, the budget as transmitted by the Mayor, in accordance with the provisions of Section 7-3 of this Chapter[,] shall be deemed to have been finally adopted by said Council. The tax rate shall forthwith be fixed by the Mayor and thereafter expenditures shall be made in accordance with the budget so adopted.

In other words, tonight, the Common Council must vote on A MILL RATE for "the ensuring fiscal year."

Lets take a look at his words again:
Should the Legislature decide not to allow for a suspension of the phase in of the revaluation, we will adopt a mill rate that will reflect our spending plan and implement the next phase of the revaluation according to law.

Now, this is classic Boughton sleight of hand at work again. You see, the mayor, in his presentation, is in essence presenting the cart before the horse.

I'll explain...

The mayor is attempting to sell a budget proposal with a 1 percent tax increase WITH the assumption that the CT General Assembly will allow municipalities to suspend revaluations. .

It's misleading to suggest a tax increase based upon an assumption which is completely depended upon the decision of state government because it's not reality. Since the CT General Assembly hasn't voted on the revaluation bill AND Gov. Rell hasn't sign the bill, it would be better is Boughton was upfront with the public and presented the budget, with the tax increases, MINUS PROSPECT OF THE SUSPENDING THE REVALUATIONS. If, in the future, he's allowed to suspend the revals, then he make the necessary adjustments...unless he wants to play hardball like they did in Waterbury.

No where is Boughton's budget proposal does he inform the public what they will be paying in taxes if he doesn't suspend the revals (again, he WON'T do this until the General Assembly gives the approval AND the Governor signs off on it). He can "assume" all he wants but until the suspension of the revals are approved up in Hartford (based on Boughton's wording), the mayor is, in essence, selling the public a bag of goods.

...and given the current budget conflict happening in Hartford, don't expect much movement on anything financial wise anytime soon.

posted by ctblogger at 5:31 PM | Permalink|

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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

Plaintiffs request declaratory relief, damages and attorneys fees.

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MAYOR BOUGHTON'S DEPOSITION

CLICK HERE TO READ/DOWNLOAD MIKE McLACHLAN (then MAYOR CHIEF OF STAFF) DEPOSITION

Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants v.
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NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Immigrant's 2006 arrest was flawed Danbury mayor testifies

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(12.14.06) VIDEO: Interview with Yale Law Students at FOI presser

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