WHEN IT COMES TO CDBG BUDGET PRIORITIES ERIN STEWART IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE TEA BAG REPUBLICANS IN WASHINGTON
A mayoral veto this month reducing federal funds that will go to meet basic human needs and community services shows the difference between the city’s Democrats and the Stewart-led Republicans.
The Stewart Administration wants to take away at least $62,000 from community services and hand it over to acting Municipal Development Director Ken Malinowski who intends to use the funds to pad his office budget with another administrative position.
The veto message and the list of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grants can be found HERE.
This is not a case of cutting back to save taxpayer money. The federal appropriation is already in place. The longstanding federal program which used to provide upwards of $4 million to the city has steadily dropped over 30 years. It has hovered at $1.5 million in recent years. In the budget priorities of the Stewart regime federal funds for direct services for residents are losing out to the City Hall bureaucracy.
Mayor Stewart and Malinowski, misinterpreting and exploiting a letter from a Housing and Urban Development official, cited a guideline that only 15% of the city’s $1.5 million allocation of CDBG funds go to basic human needs and community organizations. But New Britain and other distressed cities received an exemption to the 15% rule more than 25 years ago — an exemption still in effect that gives the city more leeway in how the federal funds can be used. The real threat to losing federal funds may lie in the way Malinowski has previously administered federal funds. These include an unaccounted for $100,000 developer loan for which the city had to pay back HUD and the potential loss of federal money for a poorly planned Arch Street project for veterans that was hatched during Malinowski’s time in the first Stewart administration.
The Democratic majority on the Common Council approved $371,000 for direct services in May restoring funds taken away by the Mayor’s Commission on Community and Neighborhood Development (CCND) which set a $319,000 allocation for community services. That prompted the Mayor to send her veto message that could not be overturned. Two Democratic Aldermen — Michael Trueworthy and Carlo Carlozzi — didn’t vote citing conflicts under HUD regulations. No member of the Republican caucus was moved by the many residents who sought restoration of funds at the June 11th Council meeting.
Stewart’s and Malinowski’s agenda, like the Boehner and Ryan crowd in Washington, hits anti-poverty services particularly hard, including programs at the Human Resources Agency (HRA) such as the Food Resource Center, Las Perlas Hispanas Senior Center and the Polish Outreach Office. Small grant program funds at the OIC (youth employment) and Prudence Crandall Center were also eliminated.
The upheld veto leaves the Common Council with no choice but to adjust the allocations and with fewer dollars to go around this time for neighborhood services and organizations.
The Common Council meets on Wednesday, June 25th, for its last meeting before the fiscal year begins July 1.
Bottom Line: In the new fiscal year more federal money will go inside City Hall to feed bureaucracy and patronage instead of out to neighborhoods in service to residents where it belongs.
Democratic Town Committee Meeting and Social Thursday, June 26th
The Democratic Town Committee will meet June 26th at 7:30 p.m. at the Roma Sport Bar & Restaurant, 382 Allen Street for its June meeting.
Planning for Democratic headquarters and summer campaign activities will be discussed. Refreshments will follow at the conclusion of the meeting. All Democrats are welcome.
Headquarters Opening Saturday, June 28th
New Britain Democratic headquarters will officially open on Saturday June 28th from 2 to 5 p.m. at 19 Bassett Street. Join in for refreshments, discuss the issues and sign up for the 2014 campaign.
1. Make phone calls on behalf of the Democratic slate
2. Register unregistered voters; re-register inactive voters before the October deadline
3. Canvas, distribute literature in your neighborhood
4. Sign up for lawn signs and visibility
5. Volunteer at headquarters and Election Day
Campaign headquarters contact information:
860-505-8901 | email@example.com
Failure To Communicate: Rock Cats’ Owners Didn’t Bother To Tell Big Club About Move Either from http://nbpoliticus.blogspot.com
One of the biggest complaints coming out of the pending deal by the Rock Cats and the City of Hartford is that key “stakeholders” were not let in on the talks nor intentions of the team’s ownership to vacate New Britain Stadium in 2016 for the proposed I-84 linked Parcel 12B in downtown Hartford. Neither New Britain’s Mayor Stewart nor State Senator Eric Coleman nor even the team’s big corporate sponsor, The Stanley Works, among others, were consulted or given as much as a courtesy call.
Well move over Erin and Eric. As it turns out local officials and sponsors were not the only ones left out of the loop. The ownership group led by Boston real estate mogul Josh Solomon didn’t even bother to inform the big club in Minnesota. A news blog out of Minneapolis reports that the MLB Twins of which the Rock Cats are a Double A affiliate in the Eastern League were also blindsided by the New Britain to Hartford project. And we’re not talking about the busway here.
“The Twins were not consulted about the plans of their Class AA affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats, to move into a $60 million stadium in Hartford, Conn., for the 2016 season, a deal announced in the state’s capital Wednesday. But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said the Twins understand why owner Josh Solomon is making the move, and will likely support him,” wrote Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune on June 5th
Hartford city officials are giving the Rock Cats owners a pass about their insistence on cloak and dagger negotiations. Hartford’s Development Director told Connecticut Public Radio that development proposals, if they are to come to fruition, need to be under wraps before moving into the public domain. So much for planning the use of taxpayer money with transparency. And the Twins — a long way away from New Britain anyway — are excusing the Solomons for their pursuit of a new park in secrecy.
The Rock Cats owners, however, may be in for a rude awakening now that the $60 million plan is subject to oversight and the full involvement of stakeholders in the process. They want to walk away from New Britain’s sweetheart deal of a $120,000 or so annual lease because they want even more public subsidies from their current local government. They see dollar signs and corporate sky boxes at their proposed band box of a publicly financed park in downtown Hartford. But if it can’t be built, if the project won’t survive a legitimate public vetting, they — the fans and corporate sponsors –will not come. Mr. Solomon may think he has a back up in Springfield but there are no guarantees there.
In the end the Rock Cats owners may have to come crawling back to hard hittin’ New Britain just for a place to play two years hence. If that occurs let’s negotiate the deal in the open with the involvement of all stakeholders.
New Britain Democratic Calendar At A Glance
- June 26 – June Town Committee Meeting
- June 28 – Headquarters Opening 2-5 p.m
- July 24 – July Town Committee Meeting
- August 16 – Black Democrats’ Soul Food Fest
- August 17 – Red Sox vs. Astros at Fenway Park, Boston
- August 23- Town Committee Cookout
- August 28 – August Town Committee Meeting
- September 18 – September Town Committee Meeting
- October 23 – October Town Committee Meeting
- November 2 – Pre-Election Get Out The Vote event
- November 4 – Election Day (Governor, State Offices and US Congress)
- November 20 – November Town Committee Meeting
- December 18 – December Town Committee Meeting/Holiday Party
Connect with New Britain Democrats
On the net: www.newbritaindemocrat.org
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Labor donated. Any costs associated with this message paid for by New Britain Democratic Town Committee, Post Office Box 2112, New Britain CT 06050 John Valengavich, Treasurer. Approved by John McNamara