Friday, March 23, 2007

New Date for Budget 101

OK folks,

It is looking that the best time to do the Budget 101 class is Wednesday April 18th. It is after Passover, Monday the 16th is a full BOA meeting, Tuesday the 17th is the WEB management team meeting and Thursday the 19th is the Finance Committee hearing that is open for public testimony. So after we have our little class I hope that everyone will show up and let us know what you think about the budget. Please note that we are doing this as a joint project with Carl Goldfield of the 29th Ward.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Credit Given Where Credit is Due

Hi Everyone:

I realized that I need to credit & thank Ina Silverman for all the work and help drafting and editing “Why the Mill Rate didn’t go Down” post.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poll For Budget Meeting

Hi there is a poll on the right of this post asking when we should have our budget meeting. If you have a particular date not listed please post a comment here. I need to move on this pretty soon.


WEB Management Team Meeting

Wow it was some meeting last night. We heard from a variety of speakers.

Connecticut Against Gun Violence - They are a group that advocates targeted gun control laws. They have two issues that they are working on now. One is to pass a law in Hartford stating that a person must report their gun stolen or missing within 72 hours that it should be know missing. This is because we have kids who have no legal right to own a gun committing crimes with guns. This brings up the question where are the underage kids getting the guns from? Many times a gun is traced back to a person who when confronted by the police says “My gun was stolen”. This brings up the question if it was stolen a while ago why is it only being reported now? This law is going to close that loophole because we know that many people are buying a gun legally and then sell it on the street and then when confronted they claim that it was lost or stolen. This bill failed last year in the House by 7 votes. The language was changed so that if someone who is away will not be held liable for not reporting the gun stolen from the time of the theft but 72 hours from when the person is aware of it.

The CAGV rep then spoke about a program that is trying to “Raise a Red Flag” asking the question Where are the Guns Coming from? If we are able to trace illegal drugs back to Turkey or Columbia why can’t we trace a gun back to who was the last legal owner? They are working with Hartford and will be working with the New Haven PD as well to raise awareness of this issue.

We then heard from an East Rock State Rep Bob Menga about Planned Development Districts (PDD) and the trials and tribulations that they went through to get their voices heard in the process. Do a search on to learn more about those and what they went through.
We in the WEB area are going to have Whalley Avenue set up with an overlay zone so we better keep an eye on what is going on and make sure that we are part of the process. From what I understand of PDDs that they give the City greater controller over the Zoning in the district but that in some cases it can loosen the regulation. What do you think of PDDs?

We then heard from a group about the trash haulers ordinance and asked for us to come out and support them tonight at the Legislative Committee hearing at 6pm in the Aldermanic Chamber, City Hall, 165 Church Street. I see the need for the regulation but we should have some leeway in allowing the haulers downtown in the early AM so we don’t clog downtown during the day. If we need real enforcement lets talk to the PD and Corporation Counsel and see what we can legally enforce and how to enforce it.

Our District Manager Sergeant Shea then gave his monthly breakdown of the robberies, burglaries, break-ins, shooting, reports of gun fire. They seem to be going down – but some of it could be weather related (crime drops in the colder weather), but some of it was part of the targeted enforcement that we are putting into place in the Whalley – Winthrop – Sherman area.

Then came the star of the night – Chief of Police Cisco Ortiz. Carl & I asked the Chief to come down to the meeting and speak to us about the recent FBI sting of a few New Haven Police Officers. He spoke about what happened and what is going to happen (for more details check out The Team asked some hard questions. Why the Comanders of the Narcotic Division weren’t not rotated as the officers were? What will happen to Drug Enforcement in New Haven now? I believe that the Chief answered the questions candidly and honestly – and when he was unable to answer he said that.
I am of the opinion that the overwhelming majority of the force are good hard working people who truly try to Serve & Protect us. I understand that there will most probably be more arrests and indictments, but I hope that we learn from the mistakes made here and that we can continue down our path of community policing and truly make New Haven a safer and more livable City in partnership with Sergeant Shea and the rest of the NHPD.

After that we got a report from Nan that FoBPP have a new partner in the Environmental Futurist of SCSU.

There were some new announcements –
The follow up meeting to the WEB Vision session will be held this Thursday at Hillhouse 7pm (I have a Finance Committee meeting so I wont be attending – but let me know what happens)
I am setting up a Budget 101 Workshop to explain the budget process and how the budget affects the taxes you pay. The tentative date & time is Monday March 26th 7pm at Hillhouse High cafeteria.

Condolences to Nan

I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Mrs. Nan Bartow on the passing of her father. She wrote to me that her father was a lover of Nature and I see he passed it on to her from all the work she does for Beaver Pond Park, the Environmental Council and all the other projects she so generously gives of her time to. I hope that we can learn from her & her father just a little bit.

Some Buzz about the site!

For those of you that are not aware this site was featured on Now with all that pressure of people checking out the site I have to get some serious posts up.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

WEB Team Reminder

WEB Management Meeting tonight! 3-20-07

Please attend we will be having Chief of Police Cisco Ortiz joining us and update us on the recent arrests at 1 Union Station. In addition we will be hearing from an East Rock citizen group to talk about Planned Development Zones (PDD) in the city. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

City Plan Meetin Re I-95 & Other issues

Hi Everyone:

Below please find the link to the agenda for the upcoming City Plan Meeting for this Wednesday. I will not be making this one. But if any one goes please share your thoughts and insights with the group.


Meeting Room 1 & 2, 2nd Floor Atrium
WORKSHOP from 4:00 to 6:00 PM:
Tabled item:
1401-01 I-95 LONG WHARF IMPROVEMENT PLAN (Project #92-572), Evaluation of Alternatives proposed by Connecticut Department of Transportation through an Environmental Assessment Process.

Mill Rate!!

Why didn’t the Mayor’s proposed mill rate not drop as expected

The revaluation will be phased in over five years (to reduce the burden on residential taxpayers), so the full mil rate decrease that would normally result must also be divided by five. That is why there isn't a dramatic decrease in the mil rate with the phase-in, even if there were no budget increase.

The mayor's proposed budget is about 7% higher than last year.

Some of that increase replaces state and federal funds that Hartford and Washington cut, and some of it pays for debt service (we are in the peak years of paying off loans for the school renovation program), labor contractual increases, and the hiring of more police officers. The Board of Aldermen Finance Committee hears testimony about the mayor's proposed budget and then sets the final mil rate. The first Finance Committee budget hearing was on March 15, the next one will be March 22nd at 6:00p.m. at City Hall.

You can check out what you would pay under this proposed budget at look for the “Tax Calculator” and have your old and new assessment handy for you will have to enter them in to calculate the phase in.

Special Credit & Thanks to Ina Silverman - Ward 25 for her contributions to this post

The Elderly Tax Freeze

The Elderly Tax Freeze

The Elderly Tax Freeze had its public hearing last Thursday I would say there were a good 100 people there in support of it and a few against it. The committee needed more time to review different scenarios and is going to be dealt with again at this Thursday’s Finance Committee meeting.

The Elderly Tax Freeze is for homeowners over age 70 with income under $50,000 would have their annual tax bill frozen at the current amount (the amount that they paid in July ‘06 & January ‘07) until they no longer own the property. Homeowners over age 70 with higher incomes can defer taxes with or without accruing interest, depending on income, until the house is sold or transferred. (Senior homeowners have always had the option of requesting a tax deferral but very few people take advantage of this option.)

The expected loss of revenue to the City is estimated at $1.3 million in year 1, working up to $4.02 million in year 5. This is not taking into account the amounts that we will get back when someone in the higher bracket moves (they have to pay the city back) nor can we say for certain that all eligible seniors will take part in this. That is why the above can be looked at only as an educated guess.

The Committee has a number of way of dealing with this

Passing it as is
Denying it as is
Revising it.

I don’t feel that it will be rejected out right, nor do I feel that it will pass in the current form. That is why I believe that it will pass with a number of revisions.

Some of the revisions proposed are to soften the financial impact this will have on the City. We can charge interest to people who make over a particular Gross Adjusted Income (GAI) that would be paid off when the home is sold.

We can cap the total reduction. This can be done on a citywide basis. Meaning we have $2 million to spend on this program and the reduction will be based on how many people apply but the lost revenue will not exceed the set dollar amount. Or we can cap the homeowner to a yearly credit of not more then $10,000 or what ever number is appropriate.

We can cap the people eligible to participate by lowering the income threshold.

Budget Issues Overview

Hi Everyone:

It is that time of year again, Tax Season! And for the Board of Aldermen it is budget time. We are currently hearing a number of issues that will impact the amount of money that you pay in taxes next July. I want your input so, I, as your representative have a basis for making a decision. Below are two of the issues that are hot topics now so lets start with them.

The Elderly Tax Freeze
Why didn’t the Mayor’s proposed mill rate not drop as expected

I will post this email the blog under separate headings so you can let me know what you think of each issue individually.

You can contact me via email at, posting in the comments section of, or posting a comment at in the forum titled “Ask Moti”.

If you are not comfortable posting publicly for what ever reason please email me and indicate in the email that you want to keep you name private. Otherwise I will be sharing your replies and thoughts with my colleagues as sent in (with names).

I will do my best to incorporate your ideas and look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Notes on the Youth Committe

Hi Everyone:

Here are some of my notes & observations on the Committee of the Whole on Wednesday night.

Chair Bitsy Clark opened the session asking Alderman Perez to give an accounting of the Black & Hispanic Caucus trip to NYC a few weeks ago that was sponsored by Bank of America and was arranged Jeff Klaus who is a VP there.

They went to a number of places including the Doors in lower Manhattan & Kipps (I believe that that is the correct spelling) in the Bronx. Kipps is similar to our Amistad here in New Haven and the Doors is an amazing Youth Center that provides a full range of services - everything from tutoring help to in house job training to a medical clinic. An interesting note was that they started small (a few hundred thousand dollars per year) and now have a really large budget. Of course they serve a larger population but it still is amazing. They raise their funds in 3 parts 1) from the city of New York, 2) Grants 3) The Board of Directors (they have some "heavy hitters").

The question was then asked how we can bring something like that here. We already have an amazing school - Amistad - but what about the program? The discussion went on for a while touching on all topics from transportation to budgeting to neighborhoods served.

There was no solid resolution to this but we heard from Che Dawson & Pierette Silverman about what the City is doing. Firstly all Youth Programs will be coordinated through this new office so that someone will have an idea of all of the programs going on and will act as a central point so there will hopefully be a proper allocation of assets and if a parent or child is looking for information they can call just one place.

There will be an open school program this summer. With Hillhouse being one of them. There will be programs from children from ages 12 to 18. The details still have to be worked out with regard to times & programs. But when it is available I will let you know.

There was talk on what to do with the actual amendment – The committee can only continue if it is still tabled. But there is a feeling that it is time to vote on it and – as it reads now will probably fail. The hope is that by the crucial time of the Summer comes around we will have the programs and logistics in place to keep the kids active in a positive manner.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Committee of the Whole on Youth Protection Ordinance

Hi Everyone:

This evening at 6pm in the main Aldermaninc Chamber, there will be a Board of Aldermen meeting of the Committee of the Whole on Youth Protection Ordinance. This committee was the outcome the the proposed Youth Curfew. The motion for the Curfew was tabled.

The BOA doesn't want to lose the momentum that we started with the hearing process etc., therefore we meet on a regular basis to see what is being done to address some of issues raised at the hearings.

Tonight's agenda will cover:

Reports from City officials on:

Data base of youth-serving agencies
Summer and fall 2007 Open Schools program
2007 Youth at Work program
Youth Engagement Street Workers program
Update on meetings with foundation and corporate funders
Black and Hispanic Caucus report on field trip to NYC youth agencies
Public Safety Committee report on subcommittee activities
Discussion of next steps on the proposed curfew

I hope to see you there!

(Cross posted on

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why there are numbers in the email you got from me

I had a constituent ask me why there is a number in the subject line in the email I sent out.

There is nothing to mysterious about it. ATT only lets me send out the same email to 25 address at one time. This is to stop people from sending spam off of their servers. I have a number of lists and if there is a problem with one of the address that I am sending I know what list to look at.

I plan on contacting ATT in the next few days to see if I can get an exemption from this.

Trees & Sidewalks

Hi Everyone:

As you can see around the neighborhood many dead & dangerous trees are being taken down by the Parks & Recreation Department.

I am looking in to having them replaced with new trees. I plan to contact the city and see what we can do to replant some of our trees. Please note that we have no commitments from the city to replant the trees but I do plan on pursuing this - and I want to know what I am asking for prior to me asking.

I ask that you let me know either by posting a comment or by emailing me directly with the location of where trees need to be replanted (e.g. in front of 60 Colony Road or Moreland between Colony & Ellsworth 2 trees, etc).

Also while you are looking around let me know what sidewalks need replacing and I will see what we can do for those as well.

Just to be clear this is what I am trying to get replaced no promises have been made to me about funding for this – but if you don’t ask you don’t get!

(Cross posted at

Sunday, March 11, 2007


On a neighbor posted a question about his reassessment. I posted the following reply.

The time has passed for the appeal but I do have some ideas on how to approach the entire reevaluation.

You can start by going to . Set up a user account for free. Login and find your house by typing in the street number and street name. See what Vision Appraisal has for the hard facts about you house:

· Is the listing for you house for square footage accurate?
· Are there more features listed then in reality?
· Are all the other listed facts & figures accurate?

If you can find a material error showing that they over assessed the property they will fix it.

Then go and look at some of your neighbors’ properties. Are they assessed higher or lower. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. If you house is 4,000 sq feet & your neighbor’s house is 2,000 sq feet you will most probably have a higher assessment. If most things are equal and you are substantially assessed higher then the rest of your block you may have a leg to stand on. Note that brick and stucco houses are usually assessed higher then wood clapboard houses.

If all the houses on the block look out of whack there may have been a single house that sold for a greater sum due to having special features (double lot, central air, etc.) You can see what the houses around you sold for by going to this web site,

None of this is guaranteed to work but it may help. Please remember that the assessed value is 70% of the actual value. So if you house is valued at $100,000 the assessed value is $70,000 (that is what is listed on the Vision Appraisal site), if you can sell your house for at least 70% of what the assessed value is you will have a hard time getting a reduction.

Good Luck!

Yours in Service,

Moti Sandman
Alderman – Ward 28



Welcome to my Blog! On this site I will be posting what I am up to as your Alderman for the 28th Ward for the City of New Haven. I look forward to you hearing from you so please post comments. Sorry but no Anonymous comments are allowed. In addition when the dialog really starts to flow I ask that we all remember that we are all created in the image of G-d, and to treat one another with mutual respect and speak as you wish to be spoken to. Coarse and/or demeaning language is hurtful and those posts will be removed.

Yours in Service,

Moti Sandman
Alderman – Ward 28