(April 20, 2012) --- Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today issued the statement below to the community regarding the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year Budget:
On Monday, April 16, 2012, I submitted my budget recommendations to the Town & City Clerk. The recommendations were the result of conversations and input from a variety of stakeholders, and reflects what we as a community consider most important – the health, cleanliness and safety of our City.
The proposed budget, which totals $546.6 million, includes an increase to our mill rate of 3.51, to 75.30 mills. What this means for property owners will vary based on the type of property they own. On average, single-family homeowners will see their property taxes increase 5.5%; two-family and three-family properties will decrease .4% and 10.97%, respectively. These two property classifications make up roughly 30% of all taxable property in Hartford.
The City lost a great deal of revenue as a result of revaluation. Revaluation is the process of determining the fair market value of property as required by State Statute, and properties are assessed at a percentage of that fair market value. The real estate crisis and the economic downturn resulted in a significant drop in property values, and as a result the revenue generated from those properties also fell. In order to prevent a 10.72 mill increase and further burden taxpayers, we have cut spending and eliminated 23 vacant positions. Additionally, it is important to note that funding to the Hartford Public Schools makes up more than half of the City budget, and a significant amount of what remains is allocated to police and fire. Therefore, identifying ways to reduce spending without negatively impacting public safety and quality of life posed quite a challenge.
The budget reduces spending for the first time since 2001 without drawing money from the Rainy Day Fund. This is critically important to maintaining our bond rating, which was recently given a stable outlook from both Moody's and Standard & Poors. Bond ratings play an important role in determining how much the city would have to pay in interest on debt, so maintaining a strong rating is a priority in terms of protecting taxpayers.
Finally, the budget includes a Capital Improvement Plan, which invests in several projects, including street repaving, City libraries, parks and playgrounds, the Northend Senior Center, the former Lyric Theater, the John E. Rogers Cultural Center, the Keney Clock Tower, Coltsville and iQuilt. Resources are also designated to increasing library services and adding new Police and Fire classes.
A public hearing on this budget will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at Bulkeley High School, 300 Wethersfield Avenue. Residents can also watch the hearings on Government Cable Access Channel 96.
The budget can be viewed in its entirety via the following link: http://managementandbudget.hartford.gov/webfiles/rec12_13.aspx. I look forward to working with the City Council on finalizing a budget that best serves the needs and interests of Hartford residents.