Good gravy, I’m having too much fun. Superior Court Judge David Tobin told the city on Tuesday that the Liberate Libraries Committee was right and the city was wrong.
This means that come Nov. 3 voters will decide whether a one mil tax levy should fund library services. (See CT Post scribe Dan Tepfer’s story.) The city clerk’s office on Wednesday certified the 50 valid petition signatures required to place the question on the ballot.
Essentially, despite the city’s objections, Judge Tobin made a factual finding: the City of Bridgeport assumed obligations of the Town of Bridgeport when Bridgeport was incorporated as a city in 1836. Bridgeport was formed as a town in 1821.
Library supporters, led by lawyers Jim O’Donnell and Sly Salcedo, cited a little-known state statute that allows libraries to bring a budget referendum to voters upon 50 validated voter signatures. The city said hold on a minute there’s another state statute that gives the City Council power to decide this thing. The judge sided with library supporters.
If passed by voters that means $2 million above the current appropriated budget approved by the City Council and Mayor Bill Finch.
Library supporters say the city has short-changed them for years. City bean counters say they have enough. I’ve spoken to a number of City Hall insiders who say they’ll unleash the political establishment to fight this on election day. They don’t like to be told what to spend. Mayor Bill Finch is on record with the Connecticut Post allowing voters to decide the issue even though he authorized his city attorney to fight this in court. That’s the way of politics, say one thing and do another.
If I’m Jim O’Donnell, president of the library board, I’d ask the mayor if he’s going to campaign actively to pass this since he told the Post he’s such a glorious library supporter after calling library employees non-essential just over a year ago.
That would be some conversation between Jim and Bill:
“Hey, mayor, Jim O’Donnell here, taking you up on your offer to support our cause.”
“Yeah, remember when you told the Post you take your kids to the library and it’s a wonderful asset?”
“Do you remember, mayor, I have the article right here.”
“Oh, I was talking about the Fairfield library.”
(Check out my daily blog at www.onlyinbridgeport.com)