Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peter Schiff Addresses Milford and Connecticut on The Web

Peter Schiff Founder and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital was born in nearby New Haven and currently lives in Darien. His message below is a weekly address on the state of the U.S. economy and its impact on local residents their pensions and future dollar value. Peter gives us an interesting assessment and a somber warning.

This was followed by a letter from Ron Paul earlier this week calling for all CT state representatives to support his bill that calls for an audit of the Federal Reserves reckless monetary policy instituted by the private central bank. The bill HR 1207 an S. 604 has no support from our state representatives and is under the review of U.S. House Speaker Nanci Pelosi.

Please Call our CT representatives and demand they support this bill and give the public an accounting of the Trillions of taxpayer dollars that are in question. Our CT leaders are officially being put on notice by the Campaign For Liberety (AKA Tea Party Organizers) that they "either take action to rein in an out of control Fed, or face the wrath of angry patriots." through their defacto support.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Milford school unions resist concessions

MILFORD -- Board of Education members have asked the school employee unions to agree to roll back their scheduled raises by 1 percent to avoid layoffs, but the unions likely won't agree.

Pending the unions' reaction, the board put off voting Tuesday night on budget cuts that could force layoffs of two teachers and five media aides, as well as eliminate four other positions to make up for nearly $935,000 cut from the 2009-10 education budget by the finance and aldermen boards. The education budget for new fiscal year now stands at $82.9 million.

Last month, the school board asked the six unions, which represent more than 1,100 school employees, to consider a 1 percent lower raise or a one-day unpaid furlough, but the 695-member teachers' union has stood firmly against concessions.

Board members said the arbitrated three-year Milford Education Association contract, which will expire in 2011, provides an average raise of about 4.9 percent when steps of seniority and education are combined.

In a letter to union leaders delivered Wednesday, board Chairman David Hourigan asked unions to respond to the proposed concession by June 4.

Before the board's Tuesday night meeting, MEA President Joan Mancini said there will be no concessions, even with layoffs looming.

"Our position is still that €¦ we went into binding arbitration and that contract needs to be respected," Mancini said.

Jim Whitaker, head of the 74-member custodians'

union, said his membership made concessions of about $160,000 in 2004-05 and probably won't make more this year. The average school custodian is paid about $40,000 and is scheduled for a 3 percent raise under the contract next year, he said.

Whitaker said he's suggested numerous cost-saving measures in building, maintenance and grounds operations, but nobody has listened. There's plenty of money available without employee concessions, it just needs to be spent wisely, he said.

"We do see where money is wasted every single day and we try to point it out, but the problem is you've got too many people with their own personal agendas that cost money," he said. "It's always the same story: 'The kids are going to suffer.' The problem is, nobody's watching how the money's being spent."

For example, Whitaker said, the school district bought a truck and plow about eight months ago for $35,000 and it sat in a parking lot so long the brakes froze. "Why should I give you more money out of my pocket so you can buy a truck to sit in the parking lot?" he wondered.

All of the city's employee unions -- except for police officers and police dispatchers -- have agreed to forgo raises next year in exchange for no layoffs.

"If the unions don't grant us concessions, then we will have to make cuts," Hourigan said. "It could mean that the proposed layoffs stand and maybe more."

Originally Printed at the CT Post online

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Milfords New Mill Rate Decreased To 28.23

Milford's Mil Rate was once 34.36 according to a 2005 George J. Smith assessment today that number has decreased to the above mentioned 28.23 Mill Rate. This figure is listed at the town website tax assessors link proving that conditions now exist that are pressuring the number downward.

Some have clamored that this is merely an election year ploy to make the incumbent leadership look good, while others believe that the 2005 assessments are not indicative of the true value of properties today. But to set the speculation and conjecture aside what is really going on is the Mill Rate is merely leveling out. While most experts could debate the actual growth of the grand list, one thing we all agree on is that mill rates decrease with increases in property values. This is why Connecticut's wealthiest towns like Greenwich, Darien, and Westport have recognizably low Mil Rates. (In most cases these are in the single digits.)

Milford's affluence appears to have grown, but not happily because with that image or "illusion" comes the unwelcome decrease in state funding to our schools creating the sore topic of an unfair cost sharing formula, but the good news is that average homeowners will be paying a little less taxes this coming year an average of 2.5% less.

Put down the champagne, because this is a Pyrrhic victory. The 2005 re-evaluation was done at the peak of the market only to be followed by a three year bust in real-estate that caused prices to stagnate and in some cases decline. Most residents on or near the water saw staggering 50%-100% property tax increases virtually overnight at the higher mil-rate, now perhaps the give back will render some desperately needed relief.

This decrease is very welcome but only because we have been taxed so excessively hard in the last couple of years due to the false reality of an inflated "bubble" real estate market. In my opinion this decrease falls short and is still slightly out of balance with true and accurate home values. By my personal calculations the mill rate should have been at 26.5. and not 28.23. (Estimate derived from chart above.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dogs Vs. Horses at Eisenhower Park

Eisenhower Park in Milford is about the only really great place to take my dog for a hike, and on the North side of the park there even is a small "off-leash" fenced in area.

Lately the Horses and their riders have been at odds with dogs that are "off-leash." Some dog owners have been threatened with fines and some dogs have been allegedly hospitalized as a result of horses viciously kicking them.

Some stories I heard speak of a harmless punt of a dog by horse, and others more severe, including broken bones, internal injury and in some cases death. Recently I asked if anyone could share their personal opinion of this menace and offer any of their thoughts regarding the "horse vs. dog" issue. The most interesting response I heard was as follows.

"The place it's big enough for both. Talk to the major and he may be able to come with something that you can agree on...Like drawing a line for horses and another for the dogs . We all need boundaries, even horses and dogs...Thank God for people like me that are so intelligent...!"

This was a great suggestion, I love the idea of drawing a line and I also love the idea of an "off leash" area but my dog Bella likes to swim and there is no water in the fenced in area. I feel like her day is that much more fulfilling when she takes a dip in the river and shakes off on the grass.

Inevitably I think horses and Dogs will always be at odds, and for good reason Horses get spooked by them, riders also get nervous the dogs will be harmed by their horses kicking or worse themselves, as riders, thrown. Thankfully I have not learned of any real horror stories involving riders being injured because of dogs but I accept that their is a risk. For this reason I trained my dog to come when I call her and when I sense danger leash her until the horse passes.

If anyone insists on letting their dog loose I would stress to please respectfully leash your dog if you see a horse approaching, all it takes in one bad accident and strict enforcement against dog owners will commence. Dogs and horses can get along if we practice common sense and avoid potential hazards.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lieberman Votes In Favor of 41% Credit Card Rates

While Dodd Disagreed, calling the predatory practice Usury Lieberman disagreed. The big credit card companies had their most powerful guns at the Senate Banking Committee chaired by Chris Dodd. These malevolent bankers, intent of preserving their profits cited a record 8.8% delinquency rate as reason to keep interest rates high.

Other members of the Senate Banking Committee argued that a person paying 30%-41% interest (not including late fees and over limit fees) was in fact loan sharking and a self defeating counterproductive loan. I personally agree that under such circumstances these terms and conditions are predatory and a mitigating factor, if not the reason defaults spiked to 8.8%.

The bank lobbyists warned that if such a measure passed, and banks had to limit their credit card rates to 15% like the credit unions that the financial markets would retaliate with negative action at the market opening. Sadly the bill was defeated with almost all Republicans (and Lieberman) voting with the Banks.


To See The Entire Vote Click Here

If you are thinking about giving Chris Dodd a "pat on the back" don't because Dodd is a supporter of the much more predatory "Pay Day Loans" or those loans aimed at the poor. Those interest rates are virtually unlimited. Suzy Orman represented that Pay Day loans can exceed a whopping 5,000 percent interest. In my opinion, Dodd has a dying career and is playing the game to get his numbers up. Do not think for a second that he somehow cares about your financial problems because he does not.

See the LINK

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Milford Prepares to Audit 700 Businesses

Most of these businesses being audited, are estimated to have $50,000.00 or more in taxable assets. These assets are usually the ones listed on their property report documents and are located at the Town Tax Assessors office. Many small businesses are already questioning the irrational logic behind paying tax to the city on company chairs, desks, computers, plants, and art however, some in city hall are crying foul that not enough is being reported.

Richetelli is expecting the sweeping "business tax" dragnet style audit to reap $200,000.00 in revenue to his budget. The Milford Mirror has also made a rather dismissive story out of this business hostile city policy. The Mirror cited that only big companies will be subject to the audit, when in reality the auditing company will get a one time 25% commission on all the cash it can legally extort from our local community.

This commission may certainly all but guarantee that the estimated 700 targeted businesses increase to a greater number. This figure may actually balloon further as the immutable laws of corporate greed give birth to the wanton avarice of most every common collection agency. But what concerns me is not so much the corruption of good men, the "carte blanche" given to Tax Management Associates, or the squabbling pirates who will be dividing the new found loot at city hall, it is, rather the aggregate encumbrance and interference of our local governments misguided policy in the business community.

The timing of this could not be more inappropriate. The state of Connecticut just reinvigorated its tax amnesty plan and is in the early phase of implementing tax enforcement against small businesses mis-reporting sales taxes. The Federal government is raising all kinds of taxes across the board, local commercial and residential property taxes have spiked and the minimum wage increase has been recently put into effect.

This has all happened in a period where the credit markets have been frozen, making it very difficult to obtain credit for business loans, unemployment rates have significantly increased, and electric rates doubled. Recently CT Representative Cafero (R) from Norwalk said that Connecticut was ranked dead last as being the worst state in America to operate a small business, and Milford may very well be on its way to being the worst town in CT with this unusual collection attempt.

This latest Richetelli policy, albeit legal and seemingly altruistic and honorable is, poorly timed, ill conceived and nothing more than a creative attempt to circumvent the reality that our city cannot continue to ignore the nationwide malaise of Carbon Taxes, Tax Hikes, Fee Hikes, Inflation, Foreclosures, and Increased Regulation imposed on everything.

The choices are not good for anyone involved, but for city officials to just "jump at easy money" under the guise of "tax collection enforcement policy" is neither an honest assessment of the cities "good intentions" or a direct attack limited to "big business" only. Large companies in our city like Schick have options, they can close down and move their manufacturing elsewhere, much in the same way Bic left town for Shelton costing the city jobs and taxable revenue.

This policy is a wrong headed policy that will add to the hostile business climate already underway. There is little doubt that business will adapt and cut back to balance their books at the expense of their employees who always end up paying the price through reduced medical benefits, pay limitations, and most tragically unemployment. The resulting business tax enforcement will certainly convince many small businesses on the verge to come to a faster and more decisive decision, that this new enforcement action may be the deciding factor to just Go out of business.... It does'nt take much in this hostile business climate.

Milford needs to be thinking in the "other way" or in other words do a "complete 180 degree turn" on this one if our local businesses are to thrive as this administrations claims in its public rhetoric.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

UI Showdown On Church Street

The latest dispute between New Haven and United Illuminating sparked a heated face-to-face confrontation over unfinished business, as two UI execs crashed a press conference at their doorstep.

Mayor John DeStefano and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal held a press event outside UI’s downtown headquarters Friday morning to protest the company’s request to boost shareholder profits — a request that will likely lead to a rate hike for customers down the line.

At a hearing Monday, the Department of Public Utility Control will hear oral arguments on a motion to reopen UI’s rate hike case.

Blumenthal and DeStefano plan to face off with UI execs at the hearing, which is set for Monday at 11 a.m. at the DPUC headquarters at 1 Franklin Sq. in New Britain.

They didn’t plan on Friday’s fight, which laid bare a frayed relationship between the City of New Haven and an institution that has been in the city for 116 years.

“Dumb Growth”

At 11 a.m. Friday, the mayor set up a podium outside the UI headquarters at the Connecticut Financial Center at 157 Church St., right next to City Hall. He and Blumenthal protested UI’s request for a higher cap on profits, as the company slashes its management and operations budgets. The company Tuesday unveiled plans to defer about $60 million in maintenance and infrastructure work.

“We need to show this company there are limits to greed in Connecticut,” declared Blumenthal.

DeStefano seized the opportunity to link the current fight to a past one: UI’s plan to abandon its downtown New Haven corporate offices when the lease expires in 2012, and centralize its offices in a new corporate office space in Orange. The mayor has blasted the move as counterproductive to smart growth and transit-oriented development.

If UI is hurting for capital money, the mayor argued Friday, it should abandon its relocation plans.

DeStefano was backed up in this criticism by Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, New Haven State Sen. Martin Looney, Branford State Rep. Lonnie Reed, Fairfield County’s state Sen. Anthony Musto and members of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and Fight the Hike. They called the move “dumb growth.”

The press conference drew a slew of cameras, citizen activists, aldermen — and UI administrators, who sat quietly as the accusations flew. Then DeStefano, visibly red in the face with anger, called on two top executives to take the mic.

They did.

“Let’s Go Right Now!”

Jim Torgerson, CEO of UI, and Anthony Vallillo, president of UI, defended the move as being in the benefit of all ratepayers in the state. The move would eventually save customers $25 million over 20 years, said Vallillo.

The conversation quickly devolved into a yelling match.

Vallillo argued that the taxes on UI’s infrastructure, including its poles and substations, would still flow to the city — “no matter where we’re located.”

Yes, jumped in DeStefano — “with all the intended pollution.” He was referring to English Station, an old UI plant in Fair Haven that the company got rid of in 1999. The site remains a toxic brownfield, according to the mayor.

Photo“You gave it to someone with no liabilities and ability to rehab it and took your profits and left a dirty site in a neighborhood where thousands of children live,” said the mayor. “So let’s go over right now, Tony, with Jim, to English Station, and show you what you’re leaving to the City of New Haven. We’ll go right now, with all of these cameras.”

“It’s not an operating plant, hasn’t been for years,” objected Vallillo.

“You cut it loose,” charged DeStefano — “like you cut loose your customers and like you’re cutting loose the people who can’t access a car to get to work.”

Click on the video at the top of the story to watch the full exchange.

The UI duo said that in downtown New Haven, employee parking is expensive and downtown stoplights are not well-coordinated. The new digs in Orange will have plenty of parking, they said, and would be near a new train station that’s proposed for Orange. DeStefano shot back that a new train station would come only out of the pockets of state taxpayers.

At one point, the mayor went over to a crowd of a dozen supporters and got them to start chanting, “Fight the Hike!”, drowning out the UI execs’ comments. DeStefano personally tore into Vallillo, accusing him of driving a Jaguar and living in Orange. (Vallillo denied the latter charge.)

Customer “Ultimately” Pays

At the podium, Torgerson also defended his company’s motion before the DPUC — then admitted the cost of the request would inevitably fall on customers’ laps.

“We’re not asking to increase [electricity] rates at this time,” explained Torgerson.

Following months of public protest, the DPUC in February issued a final decision rejecting UI’s request for a $81.1 million, two-year rate hike. Instead, the DPUC ordered UI to pay its customers a one-time reimbursement totaling $970,000. It also lowered the ceiling on UI’s permitted rate of return on equity from 9.75 percent to 8.75 percent.

UI is asking the DPUC to revisit that decision. The company made the request in a March 13 letter, at a time when the stock of its parent company, UIL Holdings, had plummeted by 40 percent since Dec. 31. The letter argues that the cap on the return on equity is hurting the company’s ability to attract shareholders and raise capital. (Click here to read the letter.)

Torgerson said that this time, instead of asking to raise customers’ electric rates, the company is asking only for the DPUC to raise its permitted profit ceiling. At 8.75 percent, the ceiling is the lowest of its kind in the nation, he argued. He said the company has an obligation to provide sufficient returns for its shareholders, and needs to raise the ceiling in order to do that.

He didn’t mention that since he wrote the letter, the stock has largely rebounded, delivering a 45 percent increase in profits for the first quarter of this year compared to last. Torgerson also didn’t mention, at first, that raising the ceiling on profit margins would eventually be passed on to the customer.

He was later pressed by a reporter on how the company planned to raise profits without adding to customers’ monthly bills. Torgerson replied that the company wouldn’t ask for a rate hike right away, because of the economy, but would likely do so down the line.

“Ultimately, you would be paying for that, yes,” he said.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Milford Independent Party Wants You!

Last night was a truly exciting meeting of the Independent Party here in Milford. We have certainly grown very fast. In 2008, just a short year ago we had only two candidates on the ballot , today we have a dozen. We also have a truly incredible, qualified and honest candidate for Mayor Mr. Peter Spalthoff. This is a truly remarkable milestone that deserves our continued support and enthusiasm. It speaks to the current mindset and heartfelt direction our town is embracing. For decades, the the two party paradigm had their opportunity yet their controversial choices has caused them to become severely challenged. With that said, there is no better time to volunteer to make a difference. If you love Milford have been disappointed with our mainstream leadership and are a passionate individual who would like to see real change, we would like to help you put that positive energy to good use in a non-partisan and independent way.

Please consider running for a post in our community you may contact me by replying to this blog or call (203) 247-4357. Let me know what areas of interest you would like to serve. We have positions still available for Zoning and Planning, the Board of Education, Board of Alderman, and (provided you prevail) even some paid positions. If you personally would not like to run at this time, then at the very least forward this Blog to a friend who you feel may be a good candidate.

Thank you for your past and present support, we look forward to your future contributions, advice and votes. We are also eager to offer our unconditional support to all our prospective candidates. In closing, remember that the success of the Independent Party rests with your support and we are humbly counting on your dedication to our mission.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rosa Delauro Introduces Bill To Destroy The Family Farm

It is also noteworthy that Rosa Delauro's husband is a Monsanto executive. The destruction of the family farm will reap big rewards for monsanto. Please Call Rosa Delauro and tell her you object to this bill.

Representative Jim Himes disagrees on at least one point and said that to his knowledge: "Rosa's husband does not currently work for Monsanto, however he will vote against Delauro's bill believing it to infact be problematic to organic and family farmers and not getting the benefits he believes are advertised."

Please contact Rosa Delauro's Connecticut office directly at (203) 562-3718.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Milford Gets "Capped & Traded" India gets 22,000 Green Jobs

Barack Obama and his green guru, Van Jones, have a green-collar job plan that they believe will solve the two biggest crises of our time: 5 million new green-collar jobs will directly stimulate the economy and will contribute to a more sustainable future in the face of coming climate change. But the 2009 Green Outsourcing Report, an annual industry study conducted by Brown-Wilson Group, found that green technology jobs are being created faster in India than in the US since Obama took office.

The report, which was released two weeks ago, surveyed 4,000 businesses around the world, including Xerox, Accenture, IBM Global, CSC, Capgemini, Oracle, HP/ ED S, Aramark, SITEL and Perot. Doug Brown, co-author of the Green Outsourcing Report, told The New Indian Express, “We see the (green job offshoring) trend increasing. There are few suppliers who match credentials and outcomes of Indian firms.”

Soaring energy costs and regulatory pressure have put pressure on firms in the US and Europe to embrace green technologies. 84% of companies outsourcing green jobs are doing so because of skyrocketing energy costs, compared to 12% and 18% in the past few years, respectively. Most corporations seeking to outsource a service or product require impeccable green credentials in their suppliers before handing over work, the report says.

US corporations, focusing on survival strategies during the long-lasting recession, have offshored more than 22,000 new green-collar jobs to India alone. Firms seeking stabilized energy and labor costs while trying to convince consumers of their eco-friendly practices are more often turning to Indian green-collar workers than American ones, according to Brown-Wilson Group. Indian labor suppliers have become popular with American businesses over the last few years by aggressively investing in appropriate hardware, waste disposal, recycling, eco-friendly buildings and other green technologies.

Surprisingly, just a year ago, India was remarked to be among the world’s highest polluting nations and suffering from offshore aversion and reverse outsourcing.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bulk Pick Up This May 6Th

Mayor James L. Richetelli, Jr. has announced that the city will begin its 2009 Bulk Waste Pickup Program on May 6.

The Bulk Waste Program has been funded for two pickups per year: May and September. The May pickup is intact. However, the Board of Aldermen is currently debating the fiscal year 2009-10 budget that could cut the September schedule if aldermen do not fund it, the city said in a prepared statement.
All homeowners are asked to honor the schedule and not place bulk waste at the curb any sooner than 24 hours prior to their scheduled pickup.

The schedule is: if you garbage day is Monday, pick up is May 6; for Tuesday garbage days, pick up is May 13; for Thursday, May 20, for Friday, May 27.
Call the Public Works Office at 783-3265, the Monday before your pick up if you have goods such as stoves, refrigerators, dishwasher, hot water heaters and other similar appliances.