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(May 21, 2014) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, City Council President Shawn T. Wooden and the Hartford City Council today announced a budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 that continues to fund top priorities in public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks.
The budget contains no mill rate increase, funds a new police class of 20 along with an additional 10 cadets, and contains no reduction in essential city services. The new police class is scheduled to start in January of 2015.
There is no draw down to the Rainy Day Fund Balance and no transfer of city assets to the pension fund.
“We have worked very hard to come to a realistic consensus on a budget that does not place additional burden on taxpayers, keeps our neighborhoods safe, does not strip core public services and protects the quality of life of all Hartford residents, said Mayor Segarra. “We have proven time and again that we can hold the line on our spending while still making the necessary investments to strengthen and preserve economic growth and protect our most vulnerable citizens. Like all budget seasons we were faced with some real challenges and tough decisions but in the end we did what we had to do to protect Hartford families and to keep the momentum we’ve seen in the capital city over the last few years.”
Council President Wooden said “The Council's priority has always been not to increase taxes on our residents and businesses. We were able to achieve that without compromising essential services or the safety of our neighborhoods. This was a very difficult budget and I'm proud of what we accomplished.”
The budget, which takes effect on July 1, includes a fully funded pension contribution and the creation of a Hartford Committee on the Restructuring of City Government.
Specifically, this committee will:
· Identify long-term solutions to achieve increased revenue and cost savings
· Track the implementation of legislative action resulting from the budget process
· Propose ideas to make city government more efficient and effective going forward without raising real estate taxes
The Committee, which is to be confirmed by July 1, 2014, will have joint appointments from the Mayor and City Council and includes experts in City government and labor unions representatives. They will provide quarterly recommendations, the first of which are due December 30, 2014.
“The biggest challenges we face are the rising cost of pension and medical benefits as well contractual salary increases,” said Mayor Segarra. “Our fixed costs are higher than our revenues and that model is not sustainable. As I said before, we are As we move forward, both the Mayor’s Office and City Council are committed to starting a process of strategic planning, encompassing all stakeholders, with the goal of making structural changes to our operations in order to provide long-term stability and build a sound financial future for the capital city.”
“Hartford's long-term financial stability has been an important topic of conversation between the Mayor and City Council,” said Council President Wooden. “We are committed to identifying efficiencies to ensure Hartford has a healthy financial future.”
City of Hartford’s Yearly Contribution to the MERF from FY 08-09 to Present