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Mayor Segarra Responds to City Council’s Proposed Budget Cuts

(May 23, 2013) – Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra filed a response to City Council’s recommended budget cuts and made the following statement: 

”What I submitted to Council today represents the compromise necessary to keep City services and public safety in tact in the way our constituents need and deserve. Council proposed $8.6 million in additional cuts but did not factor in attrition therefore the total reduction is approximately $7 million. I am proposing a net decrease of approximately $3.9 million for a total spending reduction of over $50 million dollars for FY13/14. Accordingly, the anticipated drawdown balance of the Fund Balance will be approximately $9.7 million dollars (a reduction of $3.87 million dollars and will leave a fund balance of approximately $16 million dollars).  As promised, there will be no mill rate increase. The proposed modifications were done in consultation with my finance team and reviewed by Special Assistant Al Ilg.

“I have heard over and over from residents that public safety is critically important. And I have been very clear that in balancing the budget, I will not jeopardize the security of our city. Economic growth, a thriving entertainment district, developing our population is entirely contingent upon Hartford being safe. This year, we had no gun violence until mid-March - something that had not occurred in 30 years- and through the funding of new police efforts we attained a 35% reduction in homicides.  While we cannot eliminate all violence, we can’t go backwards. There is simply no compromise to be made when it comes to the safety of our residents.

“While it is entirely appropriate for Council to make additional cuts there are some areas that would jeopardize the overall health and development of our City.  Details exist in the formal response, but the main changes I propose are:

  • A $1MM reduction to the Police Department instead of $2MM. Two million along with additional cuts to special events overtime would mean less police presence in all neighborhoods and minimum to no presence for special events. It prevents the hiring of a new police class, forces the elimination of the mounted patrol and results in job loss for many Hartford residents. It will risk us having to return millions in federal grants, effects future funding and will ultimately result in increased overtime.  For many of the same reasons, I have reduced the proposed cuts to the fire department.

  • No additional Departmental cuts or staff reductions. The furlough days proposed is unprecedented. We are already eliminating a substantial number of vacant positions, including non-bargaining unit employees referred to in Resolution #6, and asking all employees for $3MM in concessions.

  • A $150,000 cut to Human Resources instead of $500,000. The Human Resources Department is mandatory and essential and this cut, in addition to the elimination of unfilled positions, would leave the City of Hartford without a functional department.

I share Council’s concern about the importance Fund Balance; one of the reasons I worked hard to increase it by over $8MM during my tenure. These modifications are responsible and will not harm the delivery of services or the quality of life of residents and visitors. Hartford, like all cities, has been doing more with less and yet given that reality we’ve accomplished new growth in the last three years that  includes a financial surplus, new business development and an increase in the Fund Balance. We should be proud that we’ve been able to do what others haven’t in difficult financial times.  I look forward to working with Council to strengthen the City’s finances and meeting the challenges that lie ahead.”

Mayor Segarra’s full response as filed with the Town Clerk (PDF).

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For Immediate Release: May 23, 2013
Contact: Maribel La Luz
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
p. 860 757-9731

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