Say it isn’t so!
Citizens of Black Rock are rallying to say sayonara to Bridgeport over the latest tax hike. Facebook posts are calling it “BRexit,” a clever take on the mess that’s currently happening in the EU.
Their situation is equally as messy. The latest municipal budget increased their taxes by about 29%, which translates to an additional $2,000 on their bill. Former mayoral candidate Mary-Jane Foster is calling the new tax burden “unconscionable.”
CT Post writes that tensions between the Black Rock community and Bridgeport have reached an all-time high. Angry residents plan to actively protest during today’s City Council meeting and start exploring possible options, which includes seceding from Bridgeport.
Much of the ire is directed at current mayor Joe Ganim, who handily won this past election by running on promises to not raise taxes, lower the burden on home owners, and fix the previous administration’s $20 million deficit. Residents say he has gone back on his word and accuse him of “playing coy” with this year’s budget, by keeping the budget increases quiet until the last possible minute.
His administration is fighting back, claiming they have always been open about the tax jump, which stems from a recent state-mandated property revaluation that lowered two-thirds of Bridgeport’s property values. Because it reduced what homeowners owe to the government, they had to make up for the lost revanue.
The administration says the overall value of properties in the Black Rock community remained stable or improved, so their bills reflect that.
With a $552 million budget a shrinking rainy-day fund, Ganim’s administration says they had to make the tough call to raise taxes, which enraged voters city-wide.
Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker has since issued a call to action to storm today’s council meeting.
“Former Comptroller General of the United States and Black Rock resident David Walker is strongly encouraging all residents to attend the City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 5th as a show of our unified outrage and strong disapproval of the recently passed municipal budget which has resulted in a 29% mil rate increase. David Walker and others are expected to address the Council between 6:30 and 7:00 with calls for specific actions to address this disastrous situation so it is imperative that residents arrive by 6:15 to show their support. Please make every effort to attend and please distribute this announcement to your respective distribution lists.”
Will their voices be heard?