Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Milford's Grand List Plummeting Fast

Reading the local paper I am always astounded to hear the upbeat projections and the very positive rhetoric coming out of City Hall. Seems that our leaders are more concerned with their public "image" and their public "perception" rather than what is good for the public. This may be our fault, because the truth can be very unpleasant and it’s better to pretend that our town is that amazing place where miracles happen.

Perhaps this is most true when we continue to just want to believe that we can thrive and adapt in the wake of our adversaries. So many fail to believe that our perceptibly honest leaders would ever treat the public "trust" like the public "trough" that aside I am going to share with you some enlightening research for you to think about.

This blog today is going to address the issue of our "Grand List" and the value of all our homes and real estate. I have compiled two reliable sources from data I obtained through the Connecticut Economic Resource Center and Trulia. The chart below represent the 2006 CERC and 2011 CERC for Milford Ct. The line item I wish for you to focus on is highlighted in yellow. Remarkably, you should notice it shows a 2006 decline in the Net Grand list of 2.79 Billion dollars. This number is very important because it contradicts everything you were told over those years by our elected city officials. (Double click photo to enlarge)

This means that the value of all properties in Milford declined apx. 25% in one year. But in all fairness and to those "nay sayers" who could potentially argue this information is old, let’s take a look at how things are faring today or most notably the 2011 YOY. Since CERC has not published any data (I know of) for 2010 I collected data from TRULIA a trusted Real Estate website used by licensed Realtors to track market trends.

The above TRULIA graph paints a chilling picture of our Community. Someone once told me "follow the money, follow the people and then you will get the truth." What do you see?

What I see is that the graph does not lie; it shows that Milford is entering the second leg of the Great Recession. Larger Three and Four Bedroom homes are being "fire sold" for smaller more affordable One Bed Room homes. The demand for these small homes will continue to place strong upward pressure on the local Mill Rate, of which determines how much property tax a homeowner must pay the city in exchange for our individual property rights.

Moving forward, the city of Milford is going to be faced with stiff challenges. This is because we are a very old city, and for a great many years large portions of our infrastructure has been aging. Future large capital projects will require ever increasing Mill-Rates on homes that continue to lose value as a result of external and internal economic forces.

While our new leaders for Mayor are emerging and we are already hearing Wal-Mart style catch phrases like "More for Less" the stark reality is that the public is being duped yet again. This is because our city leaders are in no position to make such irresponsible promises. (Especially a promise that mathematically cannot be kept.) The city is in such disarray that future trends will require higher taxes just to keep up with public pension obligations, rising health care costs, and legal compliance. Unlike a large discount department store Milford cannot file for Bankruptcy and restructure all its collective bargaining contracts. This makes a "More for Less" promise little more than a typical catch phrase like "No New Taxes" or "Hope and Change."

What we need is the truth and the clarification and acknowledgment that essential issues are going to be dealt with as a condition to ones electability. The founders were concerned that "Catch Phrases" would catch and trap people who will later feel a deep sense of betrayal. This, along with the consent of the governed, is the greatest danger any elected official has to face.

There are currently Three big "Issues" on our books that our announced candidates for Mayor either have "No idea about" or do know about and just would rather "ignore." Whatever the reason, it is our responsibility as the electorate to "blow the whistle" on corruption and stand in solidarity in order to support any individuals who are fearful of telling the "Truth." It is therefore our responsibility as voters and citizens of Milford to demand answers to the following dismissals of the following concerns as arbitrary or unimportant.

The three big "Issues" are as follows.

A: The grand List is not healthy and is actually eroding at an Alarming Rate.

B: The City Bond Debt is grossly misrepresented and future borrowing is severely compromised.

C: Negative income properties (I.E. 501C3'S & Non taxpaying municipal properties) are seeing a revival in Milford.

To elaborate on this last point it is important to mention that the Shriner's lodge on Wheelers Farms Rd. was recently sold to a Church. This translates to a revenue loss to the city due to the fact that Churches pay ZERO property taxes. As poverty spreads, and the commercial Real Estate market begins to crash as we are now seeing in Milford, churches find it affordable to expand their ministries into distressed properties. Milford might want to consider something other than ZERO.

The largest Negative income property we have in Milford is Kingdom Life Church, and if I may give the Richetelli administration credit for one monumental achievement it was the land deal at the old Jai- Alai property. Kingdom Life sought the purchase of that property for a Mega Church and had they achieved their goal Milford would have lost substantial tax revenue with an increased demand for city services. 

However, the threat from negative income properties does not end with just churches and municipal buildings it is a complex, yet simple, two tiered attack on our community. The first being the deployment of new Municipal and Parochial zero tax entities, the other over development of cheap child friendly dwellings both consume more city dollars than they produce. The responsibility of a well governed city is to maintain a sustainable community with a resonant harmony of taxable properties.

The stellar decline of three and Four Bedroom homes is terrible news for Milford. These homes will now be on the "radar screens" of families shopping for a better place to educate their kids. When a choice has to be made on where to relocate, cheap family housing in conjunction with quality education is a recipe for disaster. If a moratorium on and Three and Four Bedroom houses is not implemented soon Milford's educational system will have years of unmanageable financial problems combined with debt service to our maxed out credit card. The final missing ingredient of cheap family friendly housing is a "Red Alert" issue that must be addressed now if we are to preserve the financial integrity of our community.

The next few years will undoubtedly be marked by the usual rhetoric of political posturing, and pacifying. As times change it is no longer enough to say you "love your community" you were "Born and raised in Milford" or "I was involved in the city," what is required is the "Truth" marked with a clear "Purpose" built on a foundation of solid social engineering to re-balance all those essential ratio's that position our community against our true enemy the Federal Government/Federal Reserve and its tandem community destroying policies of Inflation unfunded mandates and oppressive taxes.

To ignore the "telltale" warning signs of a possible Federal disaster is irresponsible for any incoming Mayor. I would beg, on behalf of and for the sake of every person in our community that we make the tough choices now. Milford needs not another Mayoral pageant but rather a brilliant leader who is not afraid to socially engineer our city through clear and concise leadership. We need a dynamic individual who will master Game Theory by virtue of the truth. If we do not win over the "hearts and minds" of the people who live here in our beloved town than I fear that our continued position of weakness will be prevail. As we move forward, only the strong will survive, the weak will perish and be absorbed into other towns as was the tragedy of Maywood California. Let us learn from that lesson and let us build unity by electing honest leaders.

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