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(April 7, 2015) In an effort to further engage residents in the budget process, the City of Hartford and Hartford 2000 announced today that Balancing Act, the online budget simulator used during the People’s Budget workshop, is now available to the general public. The web-based app allows users to view the City’s expenses and revenues and gives them an opportunity to balance the City’s budget. The app will be available at no charge to the City for approximately one year.

“This is another step toward including Hartford residents in the lengthy and complex budget process,” said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra. “I’d also like to thank all those who attended in the People’s Budget and got a chance to experience some of the difficult choices City leaders have to make every year.”

“People’s Budget is a great way for Hartford residents and other stakeholders to have direct input into City budget planning.  The Balancing Act simulation tool has greatly enhanced the process.  Hartford 2000 is delighted to be working with all of the People’s Budget partners to increase civic engagement in Hartford,” said Jackie McKinney, co-chair of Hartford 2000.

Balancing Act was launched in March by Engaged Public, a public policy firm in Colorado, and was provided to Hartford 2000 at no cost for testing during the People’s Budget workshop on March 21, 2015. Some of the recommendations made by participants to balance the budget include:

  • ·Mill rate increases
  • ·Cuts to Police and Fire departments
  • ·Staff reductions
  • ·Reduction in pension fund contributions
  • ·Consolidation of City services
  • ·Lobbying the state for supplemental funds

“I was very interested in learning how the City’s budget works. I’m a Hartford resident, I own a home and I was worried about taxes going up,” said South End resident and People’s Budget participant, Carlos Bonett. “It’s been an interesting experience. I learned that half the properties in Hartford don’t pay taxes. There are a lot of properties like small churches and nonprofits that don’t pay taxes and I imagine that homeowners are the ones who pay taxes in place of them.”

“It’s been an interesting process. It’s been good to see how people come together, come to a consensus on issues that they may not have thought about before and how tough some of the decisions are to make,” said South End resident, Claudette Worth.

Hartford 2000 is a coalition of Hartford's 14 Neighborhood Revitalization Zones and the City of Hartford. Hartford 2000 first produced the People’s Budget in 2003 and is now partnering with the City of Hartford, Metro Hartford Alliance, Leadership Greater Hartford and Hartford Public Library.

Per City charter, Mayor Segarra will submit his recommended budget for FY 2016 to the City Council on April 20 and the Council will adopt a budget at the end of May.


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