The city of Danbury has been experiencing a renaissance in the past few years, which has the city moving in the opposite direction as the rest of the state. Although Connecticut has been experiencing a net loss of population, Danbury has increased its population by 8 percent since 2000; while Connecticut’s credit rating has decreased, Danbury recently earned a AAA rating; Connecticut’s state employee pension system is among the most underfunded in the nation, while Danbury’s is nearly fully funded into the foreseeable future.
The Securities and Exchange Commission censured the town of Fairfield last month for failing to file timely financial reports and disclose that information in their bond offering documents. Fairfield told investors that it had only been late on its 2009 and 2010 reports. According to the SEC, “this was materially misleading because Respondent filed its fiscal 2006, 2007, and 2008 audited financial statements by 1,384, 1,017, and 652 days late, respectively.” The SEC goes on to say that the Town of Fairfield “knew or should have known that this statement was untrue.”
New Haven and West Hartford are looking to create high-speed fiber optic internet systems for all their residents and businesses. These are just two of the 46 municipalities that are part of the CTgig Project, a state-wide effort to increase internet speed and affordability. As city councils and town boards mull the costs and benefits of creating such a system, there are important facts that every taxpayer should know before moving forward.
One out of every five dollars spent by the city of Hartford goes to teacher salaries, as negotiated under the city’s 70-page union contract with the American Federation of Teachers. The agreement outlines in detail what teachers will get from the city – but reflects far less concern about what students will get from teachers. Last year the city of Hartford spent nearly $1 billion; more than half was dedicated to education. At $220 million, salaries are the largest portion of the education budget, with additional tens of millions of dollars spent on health insurance.
The definition of affordable housing is changing in Connecticut. What used to mean housing accessible to poor families has become housing accessible to people with well-paying full time jobs. Due to provisions in Connecticut's laws an apartment for $2,100 per month would qualify as affordable. The question is, affordable for whom?
A finance board meeting Tuesday in small-town Woodstock, Conn., grew contentious as members criticized other town officials for offering employees large health insurance stipends - only to end up receiving the stipends themselves. Board of Finance Vice Chairman Michael Dougherty said the stipend battle is “causing a lot of hate and discontent that’s totally unnecessary.”