About a dozen residents attended the public hearing the City Council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee held Monday on Mayor Bill Finch’s 2013-14 education budget.
As to be expected, some of the speakers were from the Black Rock section of town – the charming waterside neighborhood known for nice homes and high taxes. Residents of that area have been pleading with the council – all Democrats, like Finch – to oppose the mayor’s proposed tax hike.
The most interesting thing to happen at Monday’s hearing occurred afterward, when Councilwoman M. Evette Brantley, D-132, approached one of the Black Rock speakers to commiserate. Black Rock is in the 130th District.
“Our taxes are just as high as yours. I’m ready to sell and get out of here,” said Brantley, a homeowner.
Although council members have expressed concern over another tax increase, Brantley’s been fuming about it since Finch broke the news earlier this month.
A few minutes later on Monday Brantley repeated her lament to some of her council colleagues.
“I wish I could sell my house (and) go in a hole somewhere like the birds,” she said.
Brantley was born and raised in Bridgeport. Was she really serious? Would she leave the city? How about downsize to a condo?
“I would like wherever I could afford it,” she said.
Taxes are always a touchy topic. While recognizing taxes are too high, the administration has been particularly sensitive about the issue in recent weeks after H&R Block labeled Bridgeport the highest taxed city. The designation causes the mayor to get visibly agitated and Finch’s office has been working hard to dispute the claim.
Brantley’s candor will be refreshing for some and cause headaches for others, including, perhaps, herself.