Harp: Tax Hike May Be Coming

Melissa Bailey PhotoNew Haven Mayor Toni Harp issued an advance warning to city taxpayers Friday: the mill rate may soon go up.

Harp (pictured) issued the warning at a City Hall press conference.

At the time, she was answering questions about the subject of the press conference, the release of a final 105-page report from her mayoral transition team chock-full of recommendations for her first term in office. (Click here to read the report.)

She was asked about one of the team’s recommendations: “[D]etermine the benefits of” selling city tax liens to generate new money for the cash-strapped city. The city currently has a $4.7 million deficit in its rainy day fund, a precarious position as it seeks to stave off further downgrades in its bond rating. The city is owed $11.2 million in past-due real estate taxes dating back to 1998.

Harp responded she is disinclined to sell tax liens to plug budget holes.

“Before selling tax liens, I would look at raising taxes,” she said. “I know that is something people don’t want to do. I don’t want to do it.”

But the city’s in a fiscal hole, she said. Plus, as the transition report details, government’s information technology systems are woefully outdated. Harp also spoke about how recent storms revealed the costs of having such outdated public-works equipment: “We’ve got equipment that has a life span of eight years that is 12 years old” and is out on the streets, expected to function.

Does that mean she plans to recommend a tax hike in the proposed new city budget due March 1?

“I’m not going to say now,” Harp responded. “But you might be hearing soon” about a tax hike. She then spoke of how mill rates are higher in comparable cities.

New Haven’s mill rate is 40.80. (That’s $40.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value.) New Haven’s rate is lower than Bridgeport’s (41.86), Hartford’s (74.29), and Waterbury’s (56.98), but higher than in surrounding suburbs, such as West Haven (31.25), East Haven (30.95), Woodbridge (34.14) and North Haven (28.1).

Tax Liens Redux?

New Haven sold tax liens to the Breen corporation in the 1990s. Cities do that to generate quick cash; at a discount, the city sells the right to collect unpaid taxes to a private company that can then seek to recover a larger amount, often by piling up legal fees on debtors and driving them out of their homes.

Indeed, New Haven’s Breen sale generated controversy. Supporters said it enabled New Haven to afford its share of the cost of a citywide school rebuilding program. Critics pointed to the secrecy of the deal, which shielded the details of individual transactions carried out by a newly created trust (it was unclear how much money people were making, at whose expense). Critics also pointed to the unpayable legal fees incurred by seniors struggling to keep their homes while falling fast into debt to Breen’s counsel, the Marcus Law Firm. And critics objected to tying up of properties needed for neighborhood renewal projects.

Harp, a former alder and state senator, alluded to that checkered experience in her remarks Friday. She also said the question of selling tax liens might be moot, anyway: She pointed out that unlike in the 1990s, New Haven now collects most of its taxes. The city’s tax collection rate for the fiscal year ending July 1, 2012 was 97.84, according to the city. So there’s a lot less money for a private company, even the most aggressive, to make off New Haven tax debt that there was two decades ago.

“It really is not something I would consider,” Harp finally said in reference to the lien recommendation.

Harp Offers Schools Budget Relief

Harp also offered a hint as to how she might treat the school board when she compiles her budget. The mayor and alders set a baseline budget for the schools. The school board has proposed an $8.8 million, or 4.9 percent increase in its operating budget, including $5.3 million in extra city tax dollars.

“They will not get everything they asked for,” Harp said Friday. “But we’ll try to give them something to work with.”

She said that since the Board of Ed faces unavoidable increases in fixed costs, she won’t make them go through another year without a budget increase of some kind.

The First 5

Asked to identify five actions she will take resulting from the transition report, Harp mentioned the following:

• Create a new Community Outreach Center at the Bethel AME Church at 255 Goffe St., offering activities for kids.

• Identify four neighborhood arteries to work with the Connecticut Main Street Center to “build capacity” on those streets.

• Create a new “Minority and Small Business Initiative.”

• Create a central grant-making office in City Hall. (Harp has asked for alders’ permission to create these new positions; they have held up the request pending more information.)

• Through new traffic czar Doug Hausladen, create more low-cost and no-cost traffic calming on city streets.

Tags: , , ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry


posted by: Wooster Squared on February 21, 2014  2:07pm

Toni Harp is proposing a tax hike less than 60 days into her term. Is this a new record?

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on February 21, 2014  2:26pm

Smh. Just..smh to the whole thing.
Why is building a new COC that serves a small segment of the city an immediate priority?  Especially as the Mayor and Alders seem so committed to restoring the Q House that’s literally 2 blocks away?

None of these 5 initiatives speak to the most pressing needs facing the city. No response to job creation,  public safety, or sustainability.  Smh

Paul, can you also upload the appendix that’s a separate document?  I’d like to see who served on the subcommittees

posted by: Charl on February 21, 2014  2:30pm

I have my popcorn and I can’t wait to see the fallout from this.

The mill rate is already way too high.

If the mill rate is increased, you WILL see New Haven die.

WHY would people choose to remain in this city?  You could move to any of the bordering towns or cities, and only have an extra 10-15 minutes each way added to your commute….But save thousands of dollars each year in taxes alone.

Also, much safer neighborhoods, better snowplowing, less vagrants (the city does a shameful job of just looking the other way and not dealing with the teeming masses of homeless in The Elm City), among other issues.

Could anyone possibly give Toni Harp a grade above D- for her performance thus far? 
1. Wants to limit public access to public record.
2. Wants to hire on 8 new city employees
3. Doesnt live in the city she is Mayor of, has armed guards (2) chauffeur
her from home to work and all points in between.
4. Brings up possibility of raising taxes.

At this point, it is plausible to believe she might be purposely trying to ruin the city.  Why?  Use your imagination.

Oh, last point:  She wants to raise the mill rate, and one of her reasons is we have equipment that is 12 years old, that only has a suggested lifespan of 8 years.  You know what?  I’d like a new washer and dryer too!  And it would be nice to have a new car.  My computer is not state-of-the-art, that should be updated too.

What world is Toni Harp living in? 
Answer:  Not the one you and I live in, that is for sure.

posted by: PH on February 21, 2014  2:56pm

Mill rate comparisons to even more decrepit cities are a red herring.  The mill rate in Hartford is obscenely high because the assessed value of the property is practically nothing.  The question is what is the actual tax bill for comparable improved property?  Given the recent upward reassessments of property value—a tax increase unto itself—adjusting the mill rate just increases it again.  I’m not passing judgment on the necessity of a tax increase (though I am initially skeptical given the recent one), but you can’t compare us to Hartford unless you take into account how little value the property in Hartford is assessed at.

posted by: tootss on February 21, 2014  3:07pm

Didn’t take her long!

posted by: WestvilleAdvocate on February 21, 2014  3:10pm

This is absurd.  In 8 years our property taxes have increased 45%!

We have been actively looking to get out of this city and know for a fact we are not alone (neighbors are doing the same).  We would rather be paying more money to live in a nice suburb and put the money into a mortgage than into a city that can’t seem to manage itself or its expenses.

I cannot fathom how Harp can compare New Haven to other CT cities as a way of trying to justify tax increases.  The other cities are ridiculous too!  How does Harp expect to attract business to this city?  The is totally anti-job creation.  A quick look at Connecticut will show the cities with low taxes have huge influx of business (Milford, Shelton, Monroe, Newtown, etc…).

Absolute nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on February 21, 2014  3:15pm

“Create a new Community Outreach Center at the Bethel AME Church at 255 Goffe St., offering activities for kids.”

What’s wrong with libraries, after school programs, playgrounds, and parks that a community outreach center is needed?

“Identify four neighborhood arteries to work with the Connecticut Main Street Center to “build capacity” on those streets.”

If “building capacity” means increasing demand for dense, small scale mixed-use development by improving infrastructure like tree planters, sidewalks, cycling infrastructure and bus stops, then that sounds great. If it means encouraging more drive-thru’s and suburban-style strip malls then no thanks.

“Create a new ‘Minority and Small Business Initiative.’”

I’d prefer if this was just called the Small Business Initiative.

“Create a central grant-making office in City Hall. (Harp has asked for alders’ permission to create these new positions; they have held up the request pending more information.)”

What are department heads for?

“Through new traffic czar Doug Hausladen, create more low-cost and no-cost traffic calming on city streets.”

Sounds good.

posted by: Dwightstreeter on February 21, 2014  3:30pm

I think I"ve seen this movie before.

So are you ready to tax Yale and other wealthy non-profits yet?


well just dig deeper into your pocket.

posted by: mlpavela on February 21, 2014  4:00pm

Where are the efficiencies that the new team discovered after the first regime change in 20 or so years?

Am I naive to think that that would be a reasonable expectation for the new Mayor and her team?

posted by: NewHavenPublic on February 21, 2014  4:24pm

@Jonathan Hopkins
““Create a new Community Outreach Center at the Bethel AME Church at 255 Goffe St., offering activities for kids.”
What’s wrong with libraries, after school programs, playgrounds, and parks that a community outreach center is needed?”

I completely agree.  Perhaps it is the first attempt to blur the line between church and state?  A certain reverend is hoping New Haven will challenge the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.


posted by: mstratton on February 21, 2014  4:44pm

Tax hike? Are you kidding me? This is unacceptable.  First, there is no process here. There was no conversation about this with alders before announcing it at a press conference. This is the same thing the mayor did with her legislative requests from the state. No democratic process or consensus building. Second, there is a double standard applied. One for the mayors friends and one for taxpayers.  I pled with the mayor to ask for full PILOT funds from her friend the governor. Instead, she asked for 10% of what is owed and we received 5% of what we are owed—thats a 45m loss. So the mayor goes easy on the state with money clearly owed, and then slams already reeling taxpayers. To top it off, the mayor supports a plan to sell a $15m parcel of land on RTE 34 west to a friend of Tony Avallone for $2.5m. Once again taxpayers are subsidizing back room deals.  I want our first female mayor to succeed, but at a minimum she needs to first be an advocate for residents. Even mentioning a tax hike is irresponsible before all other alternatives are exhausted. Would you move to New Haven or start a business here based o that press conference?

posted by: NewHavenPublic on February 21, 2014  4:49pm

There are so many parts of the education recommendations that seem unbiased by our corporate reformers, such as this passage:

“Most educators and social scientists close to the problem believe that dramatic changes in our socio-economic structure are restraining forces in the achievement and development of our children. The misuse of standardized testing as the prime metric that drives evaluation of teachers and schools, a narrowing of the curriculum due to this disproportionate weight, and education policy that is not informed by what has been accumulated over time about teaching, learning, and development are other factors noted by frontline practitioners and experienced educators. This is especially problematic for poor and/or minority children and the schools that serve them. The great challenge of the New Haven Public Schools is to craft a systemic reform initiative based on the holistic needs of our students starting with robust and universal early childhood education, rather than to continue to follow a flawed set of prescriptions that practitioners in all sectors of the education enterprise know is fundamentally wrong.”

It makes me believe we just might have some hope of escaping the brand of “reform” we are choking on.  Can we expect genuine support for child-centered schools? 

One last point of free advice for the committee.  We do not have a problem recruiting high quality teachers.  We have a problem retaining them.  There are many reasons, including a challenging work environment and a top-down district management structure.  This antiquated management structure is replicated in many schools. 

If authentic teacher voice were regularly welcomed in significant policy decisions, we would transform the working climate* in New Haven Public Schools.  Think about it - wouldn’t you want the experts constantly weighing in? 

It would be free.

*sorry, the annual “climate survey” feedback is insignificant.

posted by: FacChec on February 21, 2014  4:54pm

Of Mayor’s transition team which has 18 talented members, only Mark Pietrosimone, Darryl Jones and Steven Fontana have a history and record of financial management. Mark Pietrosimone the last city controller helped run the city into the ditch we find ourselves in.
The mayor’s report relies heavily on a analysis by the finance department, who Harp has retained to guide us out of the debt they along with DeStefano and the BOA created. 
The BOA, first under Carl Goldfield, now Perez, failed mightily to ensure a basic check and balance. They did not even check.

The Mayor’s report, which is a good outline of our financial problems, falls far short by failing to recommend spending cuts matched with attrition and efficiencies.

The report recommends an additional(8) new and(5)positions from LCI to the general fund which only increases the depleted payroll, health benefits and pension fund deficits. The Mayor wants to hold the BOE accountable, but does not recommend the same attritions in city hall.

In The Mayor’s first legislative initiative she proposed;

To create (6) new unverifiable positions within the Mayor’s office building another level of bureaucracy over the current departments charged with the task. 
The administration presented no evidence that the current system is faulty thereby necessitating a change.
Bombero, who stands to benefit and Harris, both testified to the need for the positions, but they
Lacked a response providing justification, merit, value and a valid funding source.
This failing is compounded by the lack job descriptions, division of labor, when and how the city will save money this or later fiscal years.
The idea that the city can use (10) year old expired grant funds for a purpose not originally intended, isn’t allowed. The proposal was so poorly written and that it would certainly be rejected by the funding sources it seeks approval from.

posted by: Greg-Morehead on February 21, 2014  5:17pm

Please explain to me this..
Why is everyone so amazed?? You guys are the ones that voted for Toni and put her in office. With people that I have spoken to that voted for her are in amazement of everything that is going on. Come on, for real? Right now, I am SMH with you guys that voted her in and now are in amazement..
We have 22 more months of things like this to deal with.
What else could happen?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 21, 2014  6:22pm

Wow.Tax Hike.Time to call these guys in.


posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 21, 2014  6:38pm

For all of you who keep voting them in.

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
― Carl Sagan,

posted by: David S Baker on February 21, 2014  8:50pm

I’m cool with this as long as it goes to pay for that magical one hour train to New York she promised us.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on February 21, 2014  8:57pm

The New Haven Register had a totally different take on this.


Their headline reads: “New Haven’s Mayor Harp disinclined to raise taxes, but would if needed”...


[Editor’s note: The Register was not present for the part of the press conference in which Harp addressed the tax liens. The Reg is quoting her subsequent remarks.]

posted by: citoyen on February 21, 2014  11:02pm

I am so naive.

I am really, really surprised.  I thought it was so obvious that Mayor Harp would do anything and everything to avoid a tax hike in her first year of office (and probably in her second, looking toward reelection), because of how she campaigned, and because of how so many ordinary hard-working people, distributed across the entire city (as her campaign kept reminding us), were so fervently supporting her.

Could perhaps an intrepid reporter ask her if she considers the possibility of higher taxes to be a betrayal of her campaign promises, and of the people who elected her?

Ha!  It just occurred to me—maybe this is just a ploy: so that when she does announce NO tax hike, she’ll look like a hero.  Maybe the intention is yes, absolutely, no tax hike.

Or maybe I just continue to be naive.

posted by: jim1 on February 21, 2014  11:50pm

I did not vote for her but my tax bill will still go up.!!  We can’t even get the roads plowed.  St. John St. is still backed up.  And if it was not for a nice man that paid out of his own pocket all of the other streets in Wooster Sq. would still have snow and ice.  If you owe taxes you can’t register your car!!!!!!!!! Lets put some red stickers on cars and get this tax paid up. If I could move I would but who would by a house in New Haven with the tax going up almost each year. TH should move to town.

posted by: robn on February 22, 2014  8:04am

A tax increase was foreseeable. Why do you think the municipal unions dumped so much money into the Harp campaign? Cuts have always been out of the question for Harp. Now poor performance during the snowstorm becomes her trigger for more spending. Foreseeable.

posted by: jim1 on February 22, 2014  10:34am

For some reason Mr. Bass you don’t like what I say.  So I will try again.  We pay taxes and our roads still have snow. {St. John, Lyon, etc.}  I can’t sell my house and move out of town as no one wants to move into town!!!!!!!!!!! Lets see if you print this??

posted by: FacChec on February 22, 2014  10:35am

Of the 296 mill rated cities and towns in CT. Only 7 cities have mill rates higher than New Haven.
Note: Mill rate is not the sole determining factor resulting in tax rate.
70% of assessment X mill rate = Tax.

Town Code   Service District Code   Municipality   Millrate   Grand List Year
64   0   Hartford   74.29   2012
151   0   Waterbury   56.98   2012
88   0   Naugatuck   44.80   2012
89   0   New Britain   44.12   2012
43   0   East Hartford   43.9   2012
77   1   Manchester + Special   43.13   2012
15   0   Bridgeport   41.855   2012
93   0   New Haven   40.80   2012

Harp’s justification to raise taxes based on higher mill rates of the towns listed above,  is a false value since her assessment does not take into account the average rate of the 286 other towns who are below 40.80. Nor the fact that mill rates change every year.


2   0   Ansonia   39.34   2012
163   1   Windham - Special Service Dist. #2   39.29   2012
62   0   Hamden   38.9405   2012
128   1   Simsbury + Fire District   38.51   2012
77   0   Manchester (Town)  37.44   2012
128   0   Simsbury   37.29   2012
80   1   Meriden + Meriden Second   37.09   2013
155   0   West Hartford   36.3   2012
111   0   Plymouth   35.45   2012
146   0   Vernon   35.40   2012
37   0   Derby   35.34   2012
54   0   Glastonbury   35.10   2012
80   0   Meriden   34.99   2012
132   0   South Windsor   34.90   2012
11   0   Bloomfield   34.85   2012
56   0   Granby   34.83   2012
67   0   Hebron   34.70   2012
138   0   Stratford   34.64   2012
143   0   Torrington   34.46   2012
167   0   Woodbridge   34.14   2012
83   1   Middletown + Middletown - City Fire   33.80   2012
94   0   Newington   33.63   2012
17   0   Bristol   33.5   2012
159   0   Wethersfield   33.46   2012
97   0   Newtown   33.32   2012
82   0   Middlefield   33.24   2012
124   0   Seymour   33.23   2012
136   1   Sterling + Fire District   33.21   2012
140   0   Thomaston   33.13   2012
134   0   Stafford   33.06   2012

posted by: wendy1 on February 22, 2014  1:27pm

Many of us cannot afford to move anywhere…but the local breadline and homeless shelter.  Come on.

We must organize behind our alderpeople and demand the city find funds elsewhere. 

TAX YALE or TAX YOU.  I hope that NHI announces any open meetings at cityhall about future tax hikes.

posted by: Ozzie on February 22, 2014  1:44pm

One term Toni

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on February 22, 2014  3:22pm

“’I would look at raising taxes,’ she said.” Listen, we need to cut Harp some slack here: she’s part of the local Machine. Therefore she’s incapable of coming up with any alternative to raising taxes. “She then spoke of how mill rates are higher in comparable cities.” This is what “equality” REALLY means: tax the crap out of EVERYONE. Now let’s do some reality-checking:  comparing the mill rate of other cities is utterly irrelevant unless you ALSO compare the assessed value of the other city’s comparable properties, as well as its total grand list and its typical annual budget. However, careerist politicians like Harp don’t get where they are by actually providing full disclosure of facts. Oh, wait a minute: you say you voted for Harp because, with all her experience and connections as state senator, she was going to get “lots of money” from Hartford. So now it’s time for Harp to do some reality-checking: once she left the state legislature her crony pals no long had any use for her. They dropped her—and New Haven—like a rock. But go ahead, New Haveners: keep voting for these life-time politicians; because in the end it’s really just about celebrity-politician talking points—it’s not about reality, it’s not about a govt that actually provides quality basic services. Like snow plowing. Meanwhile, as you get your pants taxed off and New Haven continues to go down the toilet, crony careerist politicians like “Harp and friends” are laughing all the way to the bank.

posted by: mechanic on February 22, 2014  3:39pm

Hmmmm. Can’t get my street plowed. Cheaper to send my child to private pre-school than NHPS (couldn’t get into free magnet program).  Taxes going up.

I can still take advantage of everything I love about New Haven, and move out to another town. And I’d probably have a better chance at getting my child into a magnet school.

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on February 22, 2014  8:11pm

Does anyone know if owner occupied property is taxed at the same rate as purely rental property?  Are there any laws prohibiting different mill rates?

Since the state continuously fails to meet its PILOT obligations perhaps we can work to have the law changed so that instead of those properties being completely exempt, whatever portion of PILOT the state decides to pay, reduces their tax rates accordingly.

Or maybe we can get some of that $506M surplus to pay for all of the PILOT funds we missed.

It seems like CT’s cities are neglected by the state despite housing more than a quarter of its population.  Maybe the Mayors of our state’s cities need to band together to fight for for the resources we require instead of turning in on our residents.

How many of those liens are against properties owned by the many absentee landlords who collect rent checks from Florida or New York?  Let’s see the books.  If that is mostly money owed by landlords I think they should pay before residents.

I’m with Jim.  I’d leave if I could but I can’t.

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on February 22, 2014  9:26pm

Wikus van de Merwe says “maybe we can get some of that $506M surplus to pay for all of the PILOT funds we missed.” Surprise! There is NO surplus: http://www.thehealystrategy.com/blog/lembo-maynard-show-courage-under-fire/?utm
Better yet—there will BE no surplus in the future: http://www.ctpolicyinstitute.org/blog/page/four-reasons-cts-projected-budget-surplus-doesnt-warrant-celebration 
That is, unless New Haven’s—and Connecticut’s—somnolent voters are aroused from their stuporous fog and finally throw ALL incumbents—city, state, federal—out of office, so we finally can reclaim OUR government.

posted by: Brian L. Jenkins on February 22, 2014  11:52pm

Let me start by saying that I agree with Alderman Stratton to the letter.

Interestingly, the vast majority of alderman on the board, represent the poorest people in the city and yet, their silence on this issue is deafening.

Thank you Mayor Stratton.  Oops! I mean Alderman Stratton. (Laugh)

@Greg Morehead, when DeStefano raised taxes while you were an alderman, you said absolutely nothing.  You’re in no position my friend to criticize any mayor for raising taxes.

“Before selling tax liens, I would look at raising taxes,” she said. “I know that is something people don’t want to do. I don’t want to do it.”  If this mayor raises taxes, she doesn’t deserve another term in office. 

Should she decide to raise taxes, her introduction as mayor will present itself to be no different from her predecessor.

“Create a new Community Outreach Center at the Bethel AME Church at 255 Goffe St., offering activities for kids.” 

Mayor Harp wishes to set a precedent by creating such a program for this church.  Other churches can frame an argument as to why they should receive a “Community Outreach Center” on their premises also.  Then what do you do Mayor?  In case you haven’t noticed Mrs. Mayor, we already have “Community Outreach Centers” all across the city and some are even brand new.  They’re called neighborhood schools.  Open them in your most challenged areas and you’ll be able to save tax payers money and reduce crime by presenting positive alternatives to truancy,
the school dropout rate, gang activity etc.

After having crunched the numbers, ironically, the very people who voted for Toni can ill afford to have their taxes increased by a penny.  Conversely, the people who didn’t vote for her can.  However, I’m opposed to raising taxes on anyone.  As I have often said, the city isn’t experiencing a revenue problem, the city is experiencing a spending problem.  Control the spending and you can lower taxes Mayor Harp.

posted by: NoClovers on February 23, 2014  10:19am

Why doesnt the city cut funding the housing authority? Thats a losing battle; its supposed to be transitional housing, not a permanent solution you live in for life. Where is the internet meme “unpopular opinion puffin” when you need it? Apparently I’m the bad person who wants people to work for what they receive.

Stop being surprised that taxes are being raised; I felt like she made that fairly clear even during her campaign that she wasnt going to do any different than the previous administration. Is it too late to get Elicker in???

posted by: Dwightstreeter on February 23, 2014  10:38am

Throwing out the incumbents may be emotionally satisfying, but it won’t change the tax system in place.
The truth is we’ve maxed out on taxing real property and even personal property.
We have to scrap the current system and start looking at a menu of alternatives: substitute a progressive personal income tax and eliminate the property tax, tax wealthy non-profits over a certain base line of assets and/ or income.
The Board of Alderman (are listening Mike Stratton) should do an update of the 1985 Tax Commission Report because PILOT is NOT a solution. It doesn’t work and it will never work. History speaks for itself.
No one wants to examine the system in place and all the suggestions are the proverbial bandaids.
Come people, dare to envision something new.
The local tax system is broken
and the inevitable increase in taxes for a portion of the residents dooms the economic health of the whole city.

posted by: yayaya on February 23, 2014  11:03am

I’m sorry Mechanic, but you lost me at “Cheaper to send my child to private pre-school than NHPS (couldn’t get into free magnet program).” Since when do people pay to send their children to NHPS? How could private pre-school be cheaper than free? Perhaps you could not get into a magnet program, but that is a different issue.

posted by: mechanic on February 23, 2014  1:15pm

yayaya, it’s counter-intuitive but true.

Magnet pre-school aside, there is “school readiness” preschool available in some of the NHPS schools.  These programs are under-utilized; I would suspect this is because they are not working family-friendly. 

School readiness programs are funded by federal school readiness funds.  They are free for half-day programs.  There are sliding scale if one wants to take advantage of them “full day.”

Here are my options:

1.  Put my child in half day.  Pay for said child to be transported to day care.  Pay for day care.

2.  Put child in “full day.”  This is a program that lasts until 2:30.  Pay for sliding scale of NHPS program.  Pay to have child transported to day care for remaining 2 hours of day.  Pay for day care.

3.  Pay for child to go to any of the excellent private pre-schools in our town, still paid on a sliding scale via the same school readiness dollars.

For me and my family, #3 is cheaper, and I don’t have to worry about my little one being transported across town daily.

posted by: cupojoe on February 23, 2014  2:03pm

Wait! Don’t we already have 8-10 schools via (Parks and Rec) open after school and on Saturdays for families to use?


Right by AME there is Wexler Grant and isn’t that open M-Thur 5-8pm and Sat 9:30-2?

Where are the Harp handlers that are supposed to be explaining to her how our city has been running when she was away in Hartford.

For such a seasoned politician she’s got some blunders that even rookie POLs wouldn’t make.

posted by: yayaya on February 23, 2014  4:19pm

Hi Mechanic,
I did not realize that there were fee-based school readiness programs in any NHPS. It must be the sliding scale you pay at the private preschool that makes this equation work for you, since most private pre-schools in New Haven are nearly double per month what the NHPS lists as the top cost on their site.

posted by: Serf of New Haven on February 23, 2014  5:59pm

We are reaching a point where the rubber meets the road. Either the Democratic party is a party compromising a small minority of municipal/government workers whose annual salary increases and bloated benefits packages continue to require higher and higher taxes on low to middle income property owners OR it is a party that represents the vast majority of resident/property owners largely composed of lower to middle income workers who haven’t seen an increase in wages since probably 1999.

What’s it going to be? You can’t continue to rob Peter to pay Paul. This goes for the entire state. Residents of New Haven are bearing the brunt of Democrats abandoning the lower to middle class worker while enriching its’ union backers and corporate cronies. I’m all for taxing the top 10% who’ve enriched themselves with 90% of the gains since 2008 collapse, but that is not what CT Democrats are doing. Instead Malloy raises income taxes on everyone, with the top budging barely .2%. What a guy! Connecticut democrats don’t represent the lower middle, instead they consider us the most easy to roll over when they need to pick a pocket. In this town they represent the municipal and Yale unions and the elites.

If everyones wages were going up it would be a different story but that hasn’t been the case for many many years. I know Yale has awarded professors by doubling their salaries in the last ten years. This is where the money is! Why are they going after us?

X and Y have met in the middle years ago and those lines are now diverging, We’re past affordability. City government needs a hiring freeze, benefit freeze, and raise freeze. Music needs to stop.

You can forget about PILOT, never going to happen. We need to take charge of our own destiny. Someone needs to start running for Mayor tomorrow and build a grass roots base with name recognition so in two years we can try again.

I’m shocked at the incompetence and unfairness of it all.

posted by: WSQres on February 23, 2014  7:04pm

Raising taxes under the current situation would be bad enough. But it would be even harder to take considering the poor response regarding snow removal. They imposed a “parking ban” for nearly a week and in many cases failed to enforce it. We were told pay-loaders would remove snow from narrow streets and in many cases that did not happen. I know it has been a difficult winter and resources are strained but communication and service has been lacking since these storms began.

posted by: Pat Wallace on February 24, 2014  1:08am

The Transition Team recommendations concerning Elderly Services contain inaccuracies.  The most important are these. Staff of Elderly Services work very closely with other City Departments to serve seniors in New Haven. That support is extensive and vital and is given willingly. Capacity issues can be challenging, as with IT, but there is a strong culture of teamwork and willingness to help. I am certain that will continue to be the case.  The hunger study was already done in 2012, thanks to SCSU, requested and directed by Elderly Services with support from the Health Department.  Many actions have been taken since then to address what is a large problem.  There has been lots of collaboration with many agencies and organizations.  There is a monthly newsletter, done largely by volunteers, published in English since 2009, widely distributed, now also published in Spanish.
Pat Wallace

posted by: wendy1 on February 24, 2014  8:39am

Years ago Rick Wolff formerly of Yale U. said Yale would like to see New Haven become more like Princeton, NJ or Northampton, MA—-cleaner, whiter college towns with less turmoil and mess.  Yale Corp. and our mayor are friends allegedly working for this end.

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014  9:52am


Love ya darling but Rick Wolff still believes in Marxism despite it’s miserable failure. For all the failings of capitalism the world is still in better shape than the brightest shiniest days of the Soviet Union.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 24, 2014  10:45am

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014 8:52am


Love ya darling but Rick Wolff still believes in Marxism despite it’s miserable failure. For all the failings of capitalism the world is still in better shape than the brightest shiniest days of the Soviet Union.

They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?
Fidel Castro.

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014  12:09pm


Where is the success of marxism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

Fidel Castro’s great experiment was subsidized by the Soviet Union in the past and is now subsidized by essentially free oil from Venezuela. Before you crow about China’s growth, note that its unique and bizzare marriage of rabid capitalism and authoritarian command economy.

posted by: TheMadcap on February 24, 2014  1:28pm

You guys live in a dichotomy where there’s only a choice between Soviet style authoritarian state socialism and American style “eff you, got mine” casino capitalism don’t you?

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014  3:12pm


You’re supposed dichotomy doesn’t exist. Free market capitalism has never really existed and marxism isn’t a choice anymore because its an abject failure.

posted by: A Contrarian on February 24, 2014  3:29pm

Less turmoil and mess sounds good to me.  Of course the big loser would be the poverty-entitlement-resentment complex which likes things just as they are in NH.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 24, 2014  4:02pm

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014 11:09am

Where is the successs of marxism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

Fidel Castro’s great experiment was subsidized by the Soviet Union in the past and is now subsidized by essentially free oil from Venezuela. Before you crow about China’s growth, note that its unique and bizzare marriage of rabid capitalism and authoritarian command economy.

And were is the successs of capitalism in the usa.May I say one percenters?

posted by: robn on February 24, 2014  4:27pm

In the last century alone, electoral democracy has spread worldwide and life expectancy has doubled for everyone.

posted by: NewHavenCorruption on February 24, 2014  4:53pm

I propose pay cuts for the mayors office every time taxes go up….

posted by: absolutmakes on February 25, 2014  10:22am

Am I bothered by the suggested tax increase? Yes, absolutely.

Am I surprised by it? No, not at all.

Do I think Mayor Harp’s 5 identified actions are extremely dubious? Yes.

My hope is that the Board of Aldermen fight the tax increase and don’t allow it to happen. And that Mayor Harp is only in City Hall for (at most) 22 more months. Now is no time to add departments, staff, and programming.

Amidst all the talk of the PILOT program, I came across the possibility of a Reverse PILOT program being proposed as a bill later this year by Brendan Sharkey, Speaker of the CT House.

Per Sharkey, “he wants to scrap the PILOT law altogether and impose property taxes on nonprofit institutions. Colleges and hospitals will then have to apply to the state for reimbursement, but cities and towns will be guaranteed the revenue.”

This is the first I’m hearing of it, but this sounds very appealing to me. Personally, I don’t believe nonprofits should be exempt from property taxes, though this seems like a better solution than the current state of affairs.

I hope we further the discussion of taxing nonprofits. While a couple years old, here’s one article about such an idea… http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2011/05/11/taxing-non-profits-is-it-the-modern-day-solution-to-balancing-budgets/

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on February 25, 2014  11:29am

While coming up with new revenue by taxing non-profits initially sounds appealing to some, the reality is that expanding our tax base means our spendaholic govt simply will spend more. So when they’ve cashed in this particular golden goose, then what? And if the motivation is “fairness”, why just single out non-profits for MORE revenue? How about a conversation about EXEMPTING residents who don’t benefit from a particular govt service? For example, many of us no longer have children in the public school system. So why do we still have to pay taxes to support a mediocre institution that does not provide us any service whatsoever? In some neighborhoods towing is strictly enforced during summer street sweeping, resulting in a more thorough job. In other neighborhoods the towing is rare or inconsistent, resulting in a less thorough sweeping. So why do residents in the less-swept neighborhoods have to pay the same mill rate as the better-swept neighborhoods? Using govt to level the playing field has been tried: it’s called socialism and communism. The few remaining communist govts are among the world’s most despotic; the European socialists have spent entire political careers promising and spending their way towards utopia—and bankrupting their govts in the process.  The average person has to learn to live within their means if they don’t want to suffer financial difficulties. That new smart phone or HD TV are mighty appealing—but a wise person will wait until they actually can afford it before they max out their credit card just so they can have it right now. Standard personal budgeting advice is to use credit solely for a few high-end purchases: a car and a house. Govt should be no different. Borrowing for necessary capital improvements is acceptable. Otherwise, the city needs to do what all the rest of us are supposed to do: live within your means.