Sunday, July 01, 2007

Good News for a change?

(From the 6/21/07 West Haven Voice article entitled "Details of Purchase Revealed")

Yale's purchase of the Bayer campus holds promise - in addition to the 70% reimbursement from the PILOT program (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for taxes not paid by an educational institution, Bayer is pledging to pay $250 per onsite employee per year, or a minimum of $600,000. That's a fair chunk of change.

Did anyone attend the public forum this past June 19 at Bailey Middle School? I'd be interested in hearing what was told.

I wonder what this means for the Science Park properties that Yale owns in New Haven.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Audit delayed...

The New Haven Register reported today that the audit of the 2005-2006 records has been delayed due at least in part to bad record keeping and the lack of a finance director to assist...

Monday, February 26, 2007

West Haven not to divert Sewage to New Haven

A 2/22/07 article from the New Haven Register makes it clear that West Haven will not be able to send waste to New Haven as an alternative. In fact, studies show that our best option is to keep our current technology and contracts with neighboring towns. Why not increase the fees to the towns to help cover the necessary renovations?

More on board of Ed "perks"

The cell phone photo is not the best, but my friend emailed me some images this morning... that's not a public road that snow plow is down... and that worker is in front of a Board of Ed house.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Star Distributors Eyes Expansion

Accord to a 2/11/07 West Haven Voice article entitled "Star Distributors, Inc. announces multi-million dollar expansion", Star Distributors has bought or has reached an agreement to buy three different properties on Frontage Road totaling 18 acres, and is planning a multi-million dollar expansion (pending P&Z and inland-wetlands approval). Part of the plan would be to bring the 25 employees from its North Haven wine distributorship to West Haven - this means 190 workers total based in West Haven.

This sounds enormously promising, not just for West Haven, but for family-owned Star Distributors as well. They will more than double their property, and will gain access to the railroad, too - well done!

Board of Education perks?

Got a wake up call today from a friend... who mentioned that certain Board of Ed members are getting their private driveways plowed by city workers in city vehicles. Sigh.

State Income Tax Increase to aid State School Aid; other tax changes as well are likely

According to the 2/12/07 article in the New Haven Register entitled "Income Tax Increase Certain", Jodi Rell wishes to increase the state income tax over the next two years, increasing in July 2007 and July 2008 by 1/4% each time. This would apparently raise taxes by $1.3 billion.

Some have expressed concern as to why Rell wishes to raise taxes when we have $1 billion in the state's "Rainy Day Fund" and a projected $500+ million budget surplus, particularly when the cost of electricity has so dramatically risen. Some have called for a 'stepped' increase that would more greatly burden the wealthy, and less dramatically affect the poor.

Additionally, Jodi Rell has indicated that she wishes to increase the tax on cigarettes from $1.51 to $2 per pack. (There's less opposition voiced here, apparently given the ill health effects of cigarette smoking).

In the area of reducing taxes, Rell wishes to eliminate the estate tax, which according to the article "would reduce state revenue by about $20 million in the first year".

How much more can West Haven Taxpayers bear? I've seen houses reduce their selling prices by *1/3* in order to try to sell, now... and more are going on the market...

Notre Dame confirms commitment to stay and expand

According to an article in today's New Haven Register entitled "Notre Dame to expand, upgrade building", Notre Dame High School is expelling rumors of relocation out of town, and has presented a roughly $8.5-10 million plan to expand and renovate by 2010. In doing so, they chose a West Haven firm, Sapienza & Lessig Architects & Planners, to devise the plan. As Notre Dame is a private school, the cost of these renovations aren't going to be born by taxpayers; 1/2 will be raised through private fundraising, and half will come through nonprofit bonding.

A big hurray! to Notre Dame for staying...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nalini Srinivas denies resigning

Today would be an interesting day to be a fly on the wall at City Hall. According to today's New Haven Register, Nalini Srinivas is denying having tendered her resignation, and plans to report to work today, saying:
"I have not offered my resignation. As far as the (investigative) report is concerned, I have not assaulted anyone. I have not harassed anyone, and the police report clearly states I have not done such things," she added.

"It was suggested to me by the mayor himself that I was to consider resigning or, alternatively, he would have to let me go. But there was nothing beyond that. I was recipient of his information and that is all," Srinivas said.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

WHVoice: Penske truck terminal to occupy Bowl Drive-In

See "City to get revenue from registrations" (Nov 16, 2006). Planning and Zoning was expected to approve the subdivision of the former Bowl Drive-In site on the Boston Post Road, so that Lawrence Mall of New Haven could put an estimated $4 Million Penske truck terminal. Chick Celentano is a part owner of Lawrence Mall, and is apparently insisting (along with Mayor Borer) that the trucks be registered in West Haven, so that there will be registration income as well as tax income.

WHVoice: Mayor Picard to have 3 step deficit reduction plan

The November 23 West Haven Voice contains an article entitled "Picard points to 3-step deficit-reduction". This article focuses in on three income components to reduce the indebtedness and to offset the shortfall:
  1. The recent sale of the city tax lien list for $1.05 on the dollar. (I find this surprising - why would a company pay MORE than what the outstanding taxes are worth? I think this must mean that West Haven will not get the interest or other penalties).
  2. Selling a second older tax lien list (will get less on the dollar, and apparently this contract is in the works - but if it is hard to collect money, anything is better than nothing, I suppose).
  3. Audit the city's business personal property list, and collect monies from businesses that are re-evaluated. (This is currently only in the RFP for the auditor. I wonder if this might be of limited use - too many businesses are really small potatoes in this town).
Other items discussed:
  • Building Oversight Committee has found $4 million to date in reimbursements to be requested from the state for reimburseable school projects.
  • Project bids are coming in below budget for the first time in years.
  • Controls have been put into place for the bidding process that eliminate certain potentials for misconduct.

A more positive spin on the Bayer news

Business New Haven has a slightly more positive spin in the article "Bioscience Czar Sees Silver Lining in Bayer Closing".
Paul Pescatello, president of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE), says he's already gotten a dozen calls from rival companies looking to hire Bayer workers. And the pharma giant's facility, which has been underutilized since Bayer first hit a rough patch in the 1990s, could be subdivided into a research park to attract startups and diversify the local industry.
(read the article for more on the property, and tax incentive deals from CT and NJ).

UI asks for 38-50% increase

UI is asking for a 38% increase for residential customers, and up to a 50% increase, for business customers, according to this New Haven Register article...

Nepotism in the Board of Ed?

Today's New Haven Register has an interesting article entitled "Ed board hiring raises question of nepotism". In a nutshell:
City Councilwoman Nancy R. Rossi, A Better Future-7, said Monday despite her request to table the measure, the board voted unanimously last week to hire Rose Palmieri, the mother of board member Mark Palmieri, as a cashier at St. Lawrence School. Though Palmieri has served as a substitute cashier at Seth Haley School, Rossi said she wanted the board to table the vote until it could research whether Rose Palmieri’s hiring was inconsistent with the board’s past practice of hiring the longest-serving individual on the substitution list for a particular position.

More on Bayer...

Today's New Haven Register article entitled "Bayer profit drops 35% in 3Q, beats forecasts" reveals that the company had turned down a $60 million state incentive package that they would have received if they stayed, and that there are 1000 workers affected (some of whom may transfer to New Jersey).

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Statement from the source RE: the West Shore Fire District Blog

I received an email today from WSFDFF regarding the West Shore Fire District blog. I'm republishing it (with permission) exactly as it was sent to me.
We tried to provide what we thought was an
educational site for the West Shore taxpayers and
others as well. It turned into a pissing contest with
every explanation that we tried to provide being
turned around into a challenge of the facts. We only
wrote true facts. We never tried to mislead anyone. It
was so bad that I started to take it very personnal
and that We felt was a bad thing and defeated the
whole purpose of the site. The site wasn't intended to
provide a spot for people to type false and misleading
statements. It wasn't a site to provide space for
stiring the pot. After seeing the enormous amount of
false and misleading information that was written not
by you but by many others we wanted to try to provide
a place where people could ask us questions. It never
happened. So we decided to take the blog off for a
while and let all cool down. I promise that we will
put it back on at a later date. If there is still
anyone out there that has a question regarding the
WEST SHORE FIRE DISTRICT, please feel free to contact
us at this e mail address and we will answer.
I did get a chance to view the blog last week before it disappeared; things seemed to get rather ugly before it disappeared. I know the feeling - this blog (Lower West Haven Taxes) gets ugly comments from time to time, too. I cannot edit the comments that people make - but I can choose to not publish them, and there are many that have never seen the public eye. That's my choice - this blog isn't a democracy, and I have no political agenda. My nature isn't one that enjoys strident discourse -- I guess I would say that I prefer intellectual fact-based discussion. It's not that I think people shouldn't disagree or discuss the difficult topics; it's more that I think that they should disagree without being mean or hateful.

I would really like to concentrate on solutions and discussion on the TAX issue on this blog (Lower West Haven Taxes), not simply on the fire consolidation or the fire departments.

Having said that, in fairness, I've received emails from a person who participated on both boards who is concerned that perhaps the firefighters are publishing blogs while on duty. My impression is that the complaint wasn't about improper use of time, but that it is felt that there is too much downtime to warrant the current staffing levels. They felt this was important to disclose, so I've put this forth.

I suppose I should state that my own feeling on this matter is that there will BE a lot of downtime in this sort of profession... but when there is a need, it's far more dangerous to not have enough to answer the call of duty.

At any rate, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I don't expect to be online for the extended holiday weekend. If I haven't responded to an email or I haven't published your comment, it's likely just because I'm offline.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone... for tonight, I'm just going to close by saying that I'm thankful that I live in a country where I can state my mind, and I can disagree with others... and I'm thankful that there are those who are willing to stand up and disagree with my opinion, too.

Selective leaf vacuumming practice unfair

Today's New Haven Register has an article on the unequal leaf collection practices of West Haven. I had no idea that some people get the leaf vacuuming - and the rest of us are forced to bag ours. I'd prefer it if ALL OF US had the vacuuming - it would save countless hours of work, and save money on purchasing those lousy paper bags...