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MAYOR BRONIN STATEMENT ON CONTRACT ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT WITH STATE OF CONNECTICUT

MAYOR BRONIN STATEMENT ON CONTRACT ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT WITH STATE OF CONNECTICUT

HARTFORD, CONN (March 26, 2018) – Mayor Luke Bronin issued the statement below after the City Council passed a resolution authorizing the city to enter into a contract assistance agreement with the State.  Under the contract assistance agreement, the State will assume the responsibility for paying the City’s annual debt service payments.  The City expects to refinance that debt at the direction of the State to ensure that the annual debt payments do not exceed $40 million.  Last fall, the State legislature adopted a bipartisan budget that allows fiscally strained municipalities to apply for assistance in exchange for accepting certain reporting and oversight obligations under the Municipal Accountability Review Board.

“Our primary mission over the last two years has been to put Hartford on a sustainable fiscal path, without faking it or doing things that might buy time but make the problem worse down the road,” said Mayor Bronin.  “We cut tens of millions of dollars in spending, negotiated dramatic savings with our labor unions, and secured a commitment from our biggest employers to be part of a comprehensive solution.  We also made clear from the beginning that even the most draconian cuts and the most dramatic labor concessions would not be enough to provide fiscal stability to a city built on the tax base of a suburb, with half its property tax-exempt, and with rising fixed costs locked in years ago.”

Mayor Bronin continued, saying, “Last fall, we made the case to legislators from both parties that there were only two true paths to solvency: bankruptcy, or a new partnership with the State of Connecticut.  Legislators of both parties chose to build a new partnership, and we welcome that new partnership.

“When you combine this agreement with the deep cuts we made, the significant labor savings we achieved, and the commitment from our corporate community, we can see a path to balanced budgets for the next five years.  Those budgets will be very tough and very tight, but for the first time in decades, we will be able to look people in the eyes and tell them that their Capital City is looking at balanced budgets instead of a sea of red ink.”

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