Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Milford High School Merger Considered

Some years ago, I wrote an article here on this blog discussing the merger of the two High Schools. This discussion was at a time when few saw that our student population was in a sustainable decline. This decline has now arrived and a Long Range Planning Committee has taken it to task. Milford Patch has been the local sounding board for numerous objections, conclusions, and criticisms of ideas proposals and suggestions they have thus far put forward, none-the-less the issues of limited resources, and financial strains are are the forefront of how to get the best result for Milford's future pupils.

Thus far it has become very clear that Milford has its share of critics, including Mr. Chaucer who is yet again on record objecting to the High School merger and leading the opposition at town hall meetings where he is very clear about his opinions. This issue was on record some years ago, at the link below I have documented Mr. Chaucers concerns as I have my own.

There is no doubt that our kids deserve a world class school, and there is no doubt in my mind that big changes are on their way in the not so distant future. These changes are just as I predicted they would arrive and no I did not read into the "Tea Leaves" to arrive at my conclusions as so many of my liberal critics would allege.

The answer to the present situation, and its associated future trends is rooted in Game Theory, whereby you look to important factors like school age kids born today, the state of the local economy, the mill rate, the financial obligations of the city, the condition of the present schools, and the assumption that our city planners make decisions that save money, serve the interest of the department of Education and yes you have a pretty solid idea that our schools are in for a big change like or not.

Regardless of what is decided, the only concern I have at the moment is that more adults than kids are involved in the open meetings of this long range planning committee. With the schools impacting the daily lives of our towns teenagers more so than their parents I grow weary that their input is not complete or capable of delivering a well rounded discussion with intelligent and viable solutions. Hopefully school board members will reach out to the Kids for their thoughts and ideas on their education future in Milford. This is the type of approach I would like to see happen if we are serious about coming up with a well rounded solution that as few people as possible will object to,

For now, however it is pretty clear that we are not going to satisfy everyone, and the ongoing debate and challenges are healthy regardless of what I personally believe. It is my hope that this long Range Planning Committee will be successful in its endeavors and our school system will emerge stronger and better despite the confusion and added complication of yet another controversial Bill Gates program called Common Core at the center of its deployment objectives.

The following article below is my position on Chaucer's thoughts back then, and they still stand today now that this committee is tasked to address some long overdue education restructuring concerns.


Ben Blake "The Snake" Raising Taxes AGAIN!

Why?! Bailouts of the pension fund. Raises to city workers, outrageously higher Obama care insurance costs and least but not least a Million dollars in interest on banker borrowed money... But do not worry Blake say's the picture could be "Rosier" next year as our schools are being targeted to pay for FAILED Liberal programs. http://milford-now.com/2014/02/18/milford-residents-facing-tax-hike-next-year/

Despite the Obvious, Liberal Blake defender and Democratic Party Chair Richard Smith said the Pension fund was "Not being bailed out." Without citing a reason or perhaps being unaware,of what Brian McReady reported in his new Blog "Milford Now." McReady alleges to have personally sat down with Mayor Blake and has gone on record with the below reasons for why our taxes are going up "slightly" or in my opinion a rosy word for "slighting" the residents of Milford year over year incrementally rather than exercise the will and courage to stand up to the "long train of fiscal abuses" that are ongoing and never ending regardless of what party holds office. Here are the reasons for being "slighted" yet again by Blake:

1. The city has to make a $2 million payment to fund its pension fund for municipal employees next year. Blake said the city’s pension fund is still strong and ranked one of the top five in the state, but the city is still feeling the effects of the stock market decline from 2008-09.

2. The city has to pay an additional $1 million for debt service next year. The city’s debt service has grown with the recent completion of past capital projects including $95 million in major sewage treatment plant upgrades.

3. Health insurance costs continue to skyrocket costing taxpayers an additional $1 million next year. The national trend is a 9.2 percent to 9.7 percent average increase.

4. Contractual obligations, including salary increases for municipal employees, which averages 2-2.25 percent

My response, to Mr. Smith was as follows...

The best way to reduce your taxes, is to subsidize them with Liberal programs. There is the Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP), EBT Benefits and EBT Cash Cards for Food and pocket Money, Energy Assistance through TEAM, Husky D Free healthcare (For Low income family members), Life line can eliminate your Cell Phone Bill, there are also Property Tax rebates at city hall for Veterans and Seniors, if all else fails sell your jewelry, get rid of a spare car or eat out and vacation less... or you could ask yourself do I really need to live in this Liberal Mecca called CT and Milford. Anyone who investigates life outside of CT quickly learns that life here is by far the hardest of most any state in America. Its going up a "little bit" every year no matter who you elect..... Keep voting Liberal Imbecile and this is what you get!



Despite the FACTs Rich is of this opinion..

"Of course Rocco. Brilliant as always. Hate to respond to one of your posts but I see you still say whacky things. No one is bailing out a pension fund and the small raises our hard working city employees are getting are not paid during a depression. And, wow, why didn't I think we should just tell contractors to do more work and ask for less pay. I'll write that down." 


Monday, December 30, 2013

Milfords CAFR Figures Continue to Disappoint

FACTS DO NOT LIE! Milford Liberals rack up city debt, and erode the balance sheet the same as their predecessor Liberal Republicans. The Graph below demonstrates that when it comes to eroding the city balance Sheet, Mayor Ben Blake keeps topping all previous records held by Jim Richetelli. The city is not yet bankrupt because we still have a few more assets than liabilities, but we are now 75% of the way there with Blake "the tax and spend snake." I predicted some years ago that under the present trends the city would be in big trouble around the end of 2014 at the latest, because that is when (under the present trends) Milford would have depleted its entire asset base. Every good accountant will tell you that when you have more Liabilities than assets you have a negative net worth or in other words you are bankrupt. This makes borrowing more difficult and creditors grow concerned about a responsible plan whereby the city can balance not only its budget but its books. This often results in a massive spike in property taxes, credit downgrades and a decline in services. The future of Milford looks puzzling with this administration at the city helm. We may want to think about fixing this problem before it fixes us. The source of these reports are the annual CAFR's located on the city website and the town public library. 

To enlarge the graph click the Photo Click HERE for direct link to the 2013 CAFR Also a larger Image is available here http://milford.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/milfords-march-toward-bankruptcy-unabated-in-2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Milford Independents & Republicans Re-Run Spalthoff

Peter Spalthoff, Republican Candidate for Milford’s Mayoral election this fall, was unanimously endorsed by Milford’s Independent Party at their caucus on August 24th 2013. This endorsement places the Spalthoff name on both the Republican and Independent Party lines on the ballot this November 5th.

After securing the support of the Independents, Spalthoff said, “I take the endorsement of the Independent Party seriously because, as most of you can remember, I ran as an independent four years ago and ran on a platform of "people before politics". I believe that now more than ever before.”

Almost every member of the Spalthoff team that includes Linda Stock for City Clerk, as well as all of the Republican endorsed Aldermen, Board of Ed and Planning and zoning members were endorsed by the Independents and will also be on both the Republican and Independent ballot.

Spalthoff went on to say “Thanks again to the party for the confidence they have placed in my team and me. I will certainly not let you down when it comes time to manage this wonderful City of ours.”

Peter Spalthoff has held multiple leadership roles for many years in numerous Milford community organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Milford Rotary, Woodruff YMCA, Milford Fine arts, Bridges, the Downtown Business Association and as Chairman of the United Way of Milford. His community participation reflects his passion for Milford and his desire to get involved and get things done. His vision is to make Milford stronger, more diverse, and prosperous. Visit his web site at http://www.spaltformayor.com or contact him at (203) 701-VOTE.

Trouble at the "Everything is not O.K." Democrat Corrall

This is in Reference to the Richard Smith article "Blake Supporter Comments on Campaign Signs" read that at the below link before you proceed.

 Normally I do not Comment on Richard Smith's articles, but since he saw fit to make this article his personal criticism of myself, and the Milford Independent Party I see fit to inform the readers here of the Truth, rather than the art of politics that Rich has mastered as the Chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.

 First and foremost I am one person, not the Independent Party, there are several hundred registered Independents and nearly half the town considers themselves Independent. Secondly, I find it to be in poor taste to smear Peter Spalthoff over an issue that has nothing to do with him personally.

 But to get the facts straight here, and having had a long history of this type of malice the MITC agreed it would be best to document everything so the public in Milford is not continually misguided by the actions of people with poor character.
 Fact Number One, Smiths Claims are baseless see the historical links below that state my original position. They are also accompanied with official statements from the CT and the MPD where they without being asked looked into their grievance with me personally.

 Fact Number 2 If you want to discuss what a poor choice of a Party the Milford Democrats are read about some of their past candidates, however do not let these bad apples tarnish the batch because there are at least Two Candidates we cross endorsed this year including Mark Ahrens who are terrific choices. It just so happens these people are rare in their ranks and as long as this kind posting continues on Patch I expect that good people will continue to not Run. The individuals named below have all been mainstream news so I believe this is the only exception to what ought to be a good rule.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Time to Get Real, Milfords Problems Have Just Begun.

When I ran for Mayor, a few years back I had Milford Patch put on the record that Milford was headed for some hard times, and was blissfully unprepared for the road ahead. One of the things I mentioned was the city CAFR's (Comprehensive Audited Financial Results) along with data I compiled from Meredith Whitney's forecast for the Municipal Bond Market. Now, it did not take a Genius to see that Milford was about to have 300M in bond debt according to what the CAFR trends were forecasting.

Today, I am writing this blog post to announce that there are events coming that will change the face of our city in ways that are hard to comprehend. There will be sacrifices that will have to be made not by choice or fiscal prudence but rather by “force majeure.” Some will be taken by complete surprise; others will be in denial as the ‘Normalcy Bias’ will be in full effect. However, over time, and like the challenges presented by the Great Depression of 1929, reality will manifest, and blame, confusion and anger will be the new norm for daily life in our Great city of Milford if we do not embrace our last opportunity to act.

Let’s keep in mind what I am talking about here; it’s the combined Global effect of all of our money as it currently exists in banks, it’s our 401K’s, its pension plans, it’s property values, its taxes, interest rates, it’s employment, and it’s the cost of those cherished things we can’t live without such as food and energy.

So let’s get down to it and answer the WHY?

There are Four factors and each are referenced below as they are in the early stages of fruition.

FACTOR ONE: The municipal bond market is currently Imploding just as Meredith Whitney said it would. What this means for Milford is that our days of selling Municipal Bonds to pay for city projects is rapidly coming to an end. The pleasant side effect of a collapsed Bond Market is that interest rates rise making any variable rate interest obligations that much more expensive as is the cost of borrowing new money rises. Milford has 300M in debt and borrows more every year.

FACTOR TWO: The city of Milford is OVER LEVERAGED according to the most recent CAFR. Now most of my pundits will say:  “the city is not over levered. Where does it say that?”  Well it does not say that expressly, however, it does EXPRESSLY say it in the city balance sheet. By my estimates the city of Milford today is burning through its asset base to the tune of Millions a year. Case in point, the ratio between all Assets, and all liabilities is about 75% in favor of liabilities a number that was 50% just Seven years back. With this factor along with the first now in play, our fiscal problems begin to accelerate. When the CAFR’s balance sheet crosses the point of no return, the City of Milford will have its credit rating Downgraded making its financial problems that much more complicated.

FACTOR THREE: Obamacare kicks in come January 1st. 2014, and with it come all of the increases in the cost of healthcare premiums. Obamacare spares no one, not even Municipalities who are very heavily levered in the healthcare game. The city will be responsible for health coverage of any individual who works a minute over 29Hrs. a week. This is going to create a spike in taxpayer covered healthcare.  A very large portion of taxpaying citizens are going to be also shedding their income to meet these new criteria, and thus far, there are no affordable options under the IRS offering. This, according to the economic principles of Game Theory, will result in a costly compliance mess at a time when the city will be looking to the taxpayers for additional tax increases from a public who themselves will be in a crisis of their own.

FACTOR FOUR (The Perfect Storm): As the Bond Market continues to deleverage and seek equilibrium, interest rates are going to spike, especially so without the FED intervening. Gresham’s law factually States that the “Good Money will eventually chase out the bad money”, therefore it’s safe to say that the FED intervention has exhausted itself and their influence is waning, When interest rates inevitably spike, the Stock Market will begin to stagnate and decline, as will the Real Estate Market of which depends on cheap money and interest rates to keep monthly payments affordable for new buyers. This, in Municipal terms, translates to lower property values, degradation of the Asset base as referenced on the city balance sheet, and a more dramatic shift in the Mill rate, as opposed to real property values. This also impacts the Conveyance Tax. When fewer houses sell, or when real estate in general sells at lower prices, this always results in fewer taxes to the city. 

These issues are hopefully nothing that should come as a surprise to our city leaders; I would think they would have prepared for this, given all of the uncertainty in the markets, the world, and the surreal nature of eventualities like the 2008 banking crisis becoming a bitter reality.

There is still time, and there are still solutions, and courses of action that can be taken to abate these future challenges. Furthermore, these solutions can be attained without threatening the rights of individual property owners, with excessive taxation burdens, or dramatic austerity measures that go far beyond the ones we have already endured. 

The time to think about Milford’s future is now. We should really think about what it is that we wish to give up more than we have done already. As many may know or remember we have given up two bulk Pickups, there is talk about rethinking the city Dog Pound, there is also talk about selling or leasing properties. All of this is certainly a start; however, it pales in comparison to the austerity that will be required. Milford may need to consider shuttering some lower level schools, combining high schools, selling off or leasing real estate, enter into discussions of early retirements, ending or reducing pension benefits or firing non-essential personnel like the “Open Space Manager” or “Energy Czar.”

Moving forward, and as a citizen of Milford, I expect that these issues be debated now, not when it’s happening, but right now in order to have some reasonable solutions carefully thought out ahead of time. Let’s be clear, NO ONE is going to like the Austerity coming right at us, and I promise many countries around the world have ongoing daily demonstrations whereby millions of people take to the streets to express their discord. To dismiss this responsibility as cavalier, or a ‘nonevent’ because there is no problem you can foresee at the moment is not only irresponsible but its terrible leadership. I hope and pray someone is listening.

Rocco J. Frank Jr.
Milford Independent Party

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Connecticut State Rep Dave Rutigliano 123rd, Fights for Independent Party

Just heard from Representative Dave Rutigliano our cross endorsed Independent Republican from Trumbull on the Independent Party name issue. For those of you who do not know Dave, he is the owner of SBC restaurants and this is his first term as a state Representative in Trumbull CT. He is regularly in Contact with the Milford Independent party and has been fighting for us since I brought the Independent name challenge to his attention about a month ago. This evening at about 4:00 P.M. 5/31/3013 he called to let me know that he was able to take part in, and work toward a compromise on the use of the Independent Party name. Dave said that he is not entirely happy with the compromise that was reached, but is happy that we can still use our name and still appear on the ballot as the “Independent Party.”

The part of the compromise that has him disappointed is what he refers to as a “dilution” effect of the current compromised bill. This “dilution” in his view gives a misleading advantage to petitioning candidates who will appear on the ballot as “Independent” in opposition to “Independent Party.” It is my personal opinion that this violates the equal protection clause of our state and federal constitution. Since we cannot form a squatting party of “Independent Republicans,” or “Independent Democrats,” the sponsors of this bill have created a separate set of rules that protect their respective parties interests, while ours does not garner the same, or equal protection from dilution or encroachment. Dave has asked, that we contact the office of Dan Malloy, Mr. Lawlor, and even our local and state senators and express our objection to the name encroachment being given to non-members of any squatting party, or non-party, let alone ours.

State Central Committee Leadership, and the embattled chair of the State Independent Party gave his first inclination that the use of the word "Independent" across all non party lines could potentially be "Positive for the Independent Party." Mike said that "Lowel Weiker and Joe Lieberman were both repeatedly called Independent by the state media despite the fact that neither one  were members of any party bearing the name Independent." Mike believes that the added use of the name on statewide ballots will reinforce our legitimacy as a party.

State Senator John McKinney also came to the table and called the bill Unconstitutional, a “disgusting, arrogant power grab,” by the Democratic majority. To read more on this issue click the link below to be redirected to CT Newsjunkie.